Lunch In Kingston

As we’ve done a few times before, we hopped on the ferry in Edmonds and floated across Puget Sound to have lunch in Kingston. When we’ve done it previously, I’ve thought that it would be kind of neat to have a timelapse of the trip so this time I packed my Go Pro. I had a flexible tripod that I kind of wrapped around the railing and then held it in place with alternating freezing hands. I didn’t do anything too fancy to stabilize or straighten the video, but there’s a lot of fun stuff to see!

Cape Disappointment Drive Timelapse

I enjoy making timelapses when we go on road trips. I rarely watch the whole thing straight through, but sometimes there are interesting spots that are fun to revisit. Plus, it’s a fun little project to have going along the trip.

I made a timelapse of our trip from Woodinville to Cape Disappointment State Park in the southwest corner of the state for our most recent camping trip. The video has the trip down immediately followed by the trip back (6:36 is when we are at the campground.) On the trip down there, notice the incredibly bad traffic. It added 2 hours to the 3.5 hour drive. On the way back we only hit one bad spot but it was really bad and even the backroads were jammed. It added 30 minutes.

We are planning a drive out to Montana soon to visit some of Tyla’s family. I’m working on some modifications to my setup to make it easier to do those super long timelapses.

Lime Kiln Trail

After the success of our Little Mt Si hike, Logan, Elijah and I headed out again. We picked out a very kid-friendly trail so that Elijah could spend a lot of time on his feet instead of in my pack. That worked for about half a mile and then he rode the rest of it. I didn’t push it because he seemed legitimately tired (he was falling asleep in my pack) but it worked out fine. The trail doesn’t have a lot of elevation gain but it is 8 miles round trip.

There isn’t a huge payoff but the walk is pretty. You go past an old lime kiln and then in another mile you hit the end of the trail at the edge of the river. We had lunch there and made our way back.

The trail itself is indeed kid friendly. It’s generally fairly wide and relatively smooth. There were, however, a lot of bushes and trees growing in from the side of the trail so you have to be careful not to smack people in the face behind you. It was especially tricky with a kid riding in a backpack.

I really enjoy these hikes but I’m struggling with how to keep Elijah engaged at this transition point. I don’t love hiking without a destination, but a lot of the destinations that are fun are also more than he can handle at this point. If you have suggestions of waterfalls, lakes, fire lookouts, etc that are only a mile or two round trip without a ton of elevation gain, please send them my way.

In addition to the pictures below, you can also see the hyperlapse that I posted on Instagram. (A hyperlapse is basically a video that is sped up and smoothed out so it kind of looks like you’re flying along without the normal video bumps caused by walking.)

Long Timelapse Tips

GoPro-HD-Hero-2During our Indiana trip, I made a six-day timelapse. That was by far the longest one I’ve ever attempted. How did it work? Here are some tips:

  • The GoPro is a great device for this. You can set it to snap a photo every 2, 5 or 10 seconds. Generally I do 2 seconds but since this one was so long I did 5 seconds since I knew I would speed it up a lot anyway.
  • Set the GoPro to the lowest resolution possible. On my camera that is 5 megapixels. Even that is a waste since you’re going to end up resizing down to 1080p anyway. The lower resolution will help you save room on the memory card and also saves battery life.
  • Don’t skimp on the memory card. 32 and 64GB cards are super cheap. Just get a big one and remove this potential problem from your setup.
  • Get a portable USB battery pack. I use this one, but there are lots of options. Get one that takes AA batteries. When you run out of battery, you just slap new batteries in there and you’re instantly ready to go instead of waiting for a recharge. I use and recommend Eneloop AA’s and the Lacrosse BC-700 charger. By using the battery pack to keep the internal GoPro battery charged up, I’m able to confidently let the camera run for 4 hours and it will probably go a lot longer. I changed out the batteries at lunch and at night. That way I didn’t have to worry about them dying on me.

When I was done I had over 30,000 photos. How do you process all of those into a movie? There are LOTS of options, but here’s how I do it (for free):

  • Install IrfanView. It has a lot of features, but I use it to batch resize and crop all of the photos down to 1920×1080. I also rename the photos to something like image#####.jpg so that there is a sequential number for every image.
  • Install ffmpeg. Decipher the command line parameters to build up the video that you want. Here’s the line that I use:”c:\program files\ffmpeg\bin\ffmpeg” -i image%05d.JPG -r 30 -s hd1080 -vcodec libx264 -y out.mp4
  • Techincally you could be done at this point, but I usually take that MP4 into Adobe Premiere Elements and crop it up, speed it up, slow it down, etc.

Indiana Vacation

I use that word “vacation” lightly. It’s true that I wasn’t at my normal day job, but I spent the trip doing more physical labor each day than I normally do in a week (or a month!)

Dad and Mom already have a two car garage, but they are adding on to the end of it to have a nice shop work space and another garage bay to hold their tractors. It will be a huge win for them to keep their Allis Chalmers WD45 in the garage instead of under a tarp near the woods. Other than having the foundation poured, Dad is doing almost all of the work by himself. It’s a huge undertaking and this was a fun opportunity to make some memories with him.

Luke, Rachel and David were there for the first couple days. It was fun to see Elijah and David interacting together. They’re the only cousins they have and they rarely get to see each other. David is 7 years older than Elijah so Elijah was pretty excited to hang out with David. The reverse probably wasn’t always true!

Elijah was in tractor heaven. Mom and Dad have three tractors: the big orange Allis Chalmers, a John Deere lawn and garden tractor that they got in 1981 and a newer John Deere mower that they got recently from GrandpaH. On top of that, a neighbor stopped by with his big John Deere 3320 tractor with a bucket on the front. That one came in really handy for getting material up to the roof. Elijah had a ball riding ALL of them multiple times. It was part of his daily routine and now that we’re home, he still talks about it and he uses a blanket to cover his tractors just like my Dad puts a tarp over some of his tractors.

Dad, Luke and I made great progress on the project. When I arrived, there was no roof. When I left, we had started the shingles. Dad and I both thought we’d have been farther along than that, but being novices meant that we did a lot of things twice. We kept joking that when we build the next garage, things will go a lot faster.

It was a great week. The weather mostly cooperated and nobody got hurt. Mom and Dad have continued the shingling work and are probably going to be done by the time you read this. That will be a huge step in the project. Next up will be finishing off the front wall and getting the windows and doors in. If Dad can get the building wrapped and the siding up before winter, that would be a huge win, but he’s just taking it as it comes. There’s a lot to learn along the way!

I set up the GoPro every single day and ran it all day long. I’ll do another post about how to handle these super long timelapses, but for now you can just enjoy the results.

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