Monday, December 27, 2010

New toys and an early Winter ride to Loveland Pass

It was the day after Christmas and Santa brought new toys for this moto-blogger.

The first was a replacement camera for the 12 year old one I managed to lose recently.

source: Digital Review

After conferring with Bobskoot, this was the camera I asked from Santa.  It's specs are here.  The major selling points were 12x Optical zoom, slim form factor and really, I needed a camera for future rides.

The second toy, which my wife surprised me with with the collusion of Gary France, was a GoPro Hero HD Motosports videocamera.


I believe it's the same camera used in his epic four month+ journey across these united states by Gary France and a fellow uralista in Minnesota by the name of Chris Luhman.

Armed with all these electronics, I naturally headed out into the mountains the day after Christmas to see if I could find some snow.  We in the front range have not seen much of the white stuff since October though reports of hit accumulating in feet up in the mountains have made it on to the nightly news.  Not to mention the east coast getting slammed by it recently.

Got a pretty late start but managed to cruise through Morrison by 10:30AM or so, motoring past the usual towns of Idledale, Kittredge and finally through Evergreen where I picked up Upper Bear Creek Road west.
Soon I was turning northwards onto Witter Gulch Road heading towards Squaw Pass on CO103, the road which takes one to Echo Lake and the Mount Evans Road (closed for the winter).

Witter Gulch Road is a mostly dirt road with some heavily washboarded sections which threaten to shake my fillings loose in my head.  This road though was a good test of the suction cup mount pictured above for mounting the GoPro camera to the sidecar rig.  It stayed mounted securely the whole day, but I still felt good about having also attached a safety strap.

Once on CO103, I continued up the 9+ miles ride to Echo Lake Lodge which sits at the entrace to the Mount Evans Road.  Road conditions weren't exactly "great" for two-wheeled vehicles but of course, since I was on Natasha, that didn't matter as much.

These folks decided to have an extended chat near Natasha as I waited for them to move.
So, they ended up in the shot instead.

 Snow-covered Echo Lake 

After Echo Lake, I continued on CO103 to the town of Idaho Springs.  From there it was frontage road riding till I got to Dumont, CO where I checked in with my loving wife.  She confirmed for me that the road to Loveland Pass was open but with icy spots.  

To make time, I got on the westbound slab of I-70 and soon enough was exiting at the US6/Loveland Pass junction.  The road was clear and mostly dry all the way to the top and points beyond.  Lots of cars and folks at the top of the pass since the weather was pretty warm for early Winter.  Here's a video of Natasha and I riding up to the pass and a couple of miles beyond.  There is no audio for this clip.

I stopped near the Arapahoe Basin Ski resort to turn Natasha around and get these shots.

 This is the furthest point west on US6 that I rode to on Sunday

 A nice background of far off snow-covered mountain peaks

 A closer view of the far off peaks, thanks to the optically-stabilized zoom on the new camera

A-Basin down below from where I parked.

Yes, I know about embedding a music file, just trying to work out copyright issues and such.  Perhaps a fellow blogger can point me to public domain stuff that's freely available for future videos.

I am pleased to report both cameras worked great.  Now to figure out how to edit the results and produce usable footage faster.  My laptop is sure not cutting it, will have to borrow Martha's which is more powerful.

I made it home by 4:00PM by using the I-70 slab all the way to the E-470 beltway, traffic was lighter than usual for a Sunday afternoon so I took advantage of this.  

Hope you got a ride in!


bobskoot said...


very nice video. I have also been caught with copywrite issues. Some of my YouTube videos now don't have sound as it was deleted by Sony Records or EMI. I got stern Emails from them and it scared me. I now have a new way to put music on videos, perhaps I will email you what I do. It has not been a problem since. I have two scenarios.

That Camera sure is sharp. The one of the parking lot you can see all the cars very clearly. I have the prev model ZS3 and I took it to Hawai'i last year. SonjaM also has the ZS7. In high contrast areas or lower light levels, put it on iA rather than red camera mode. You will see the difference. Also use iA when doing videos.

I don't know if you are using Movie Maker but it freezes a lot so I ended up purchasing PREL, Adobe Premier Elements. This is the same software that all of us use, Gary France, and Chris. It was on sale recently on the Adobe web site. AVCHD has to be converted to AVI first. If you are having problems, let me know. I use a lot of free/shareware

Glad you are enjoying your new Toys.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

RichardM said...

No suggestions for royalty free music but then again, I wouldn't mind hearing the bike engine. For those of us who are snow bound and hack-less, the videos are appreciated. Wonderful pictures, as always.


Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot, seriously considering that software you mentioned. I just added a second video, used Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows 7 and it was a much better experience.

thanks again for your info re the ZS7.

Charlie6 said...

Richard, sorry, I published the second video without sound one I'll leave the sound in. I'm hearing, besides the engine noise, a cracking noise that is quite bothersome....must figure out what's causing it.

Glad you liked the video....

Chris Luhman said...

Congrats on the cameras Dom! Live Movie Maker 2011 is light years ahead of the old version that crashed every other minute. PREL is nice, but slow. I own it, but almost never use it. It's useful for picture in picture. You can find it for about $40 on I'd save your money for mounts, extra battery, and extra memory card.

See the credits on any of my PBC videos. I have a variety of creative commons music sources listed. I try to switch it up and use different artists.

I'm guessing the cracking is either your safety strap flapping in the wind or the gopro moving on the mount. use the orange doo-hickey for the later.

Great shots of the mountains. I'm looking forward to your future vids!

Shoot me an e-mail if you have questions or need more help.

-Chris @

Micah said...

You'll really enjoy that camera. If it's the model with GPS built-in, the automatic geotagging is fantastic.

As far as royalty free music, try That's what I use in my videos.

SonjaM said...

Well, I guess the blogger community did a good job convincing Santa that you need that video camera, so that we get to see more of your awesome rides. Thanks to Mrs Santa for this. Great first release, I am totally looking forward to seeing much more.
Cheers from frozen Germany, SonjaM

Gary France said...

I am glad that Santa, aka Mrs Redleg, managed to get you just what you wanted for Christmas and I have to say your first video is excellent. I enjoyed watching your ride on Loveland Pass and I really liked the transitions with the circle zooming out from the middle of the screen. For royalty free music I use this website.... you need to give him a credit in your video, but that is ok. I also had to smile at the Panasonic camera you got because I bought the very same one a couple of months ago! You got good results with yours in the mountains. Now all you need is a new laptop for your birthday....

Charlie6 said...


thanks, I'll check out your music sources. I tried Windows Live Movie Maker on Win7 and it works great on a suitably powerful laptop like my wife's.

No orange doohickey, but a white one...where does it go, between the base and the suction cup?

Charlie6 said...


yes, it's the one with the GPS built-in, it'll come in handy when recording where I shot a pic from so I can triangulate the mountains in the pic for naming.

thanks for reading this stuff.

Charlie6 said...


thanks for the kind words, I hope to provide better videos in the future.

Charlie6 said...


thanks for the link to the copyright free stuff, I'll be sure to credit the author accordingly.

As to a new laptop, I'll just use Martha's for now until work issues a new one next month. Then we'll see.

Chris Luhman said...


Here are three pics on the doohickey

Yes, for HD video editing you need a decently powerful machine. My netbook has an HD accelerator for watching vids, but it can't even edit a 480p movie (SD). I use my desktop which is a quad core 64bit with a lot of RAM.

-Chris @

Micah said...

"thanks for reading this stuff.

I really enjoy it! Makes me wish I lived in a place that has actual topography!


irondad said...

I see Bobskoot has has made another conquest in his video evangelism. I must resist, I must resist.....

The good news is that you have such awesome scenery to share!

682202 said...


Very nice videos and photos. The Bobskoot also influenced me into purchasing a Panasonic ZS camera, mine is the ZS3, not quite up to the specs of your ZS7, but still a very good camera.

When you invest in a new computer the fastest processor, the most ram and the fattest hard drive will make your editing more enjoyable. A dedicated video card and memory won't hurt either.

I also appreciate the link Gary left for the royalty free music. My one video with music has a Google placed ad on it, I assume to pay royalties and I was told it could not be played in Germany. A local acquaintance use's Vimeo and has had no backlash on the music he uses in the videos. There doesn't appear to be any ad generated revenue on Vimeo, could be the reason. YMMV.


Charlie6 said...

Irondad, yep, Colorado's scenery makes photography so much easier....

thanks for the kind words, hopefully I'll live up to the expectations.