Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reimers Ranch

Over Thanksgiving, Heidi took me upto Reimers Ranch, a fun small park with lots of single track.

The Trails are nicely layed out and in great shape.

If there is some feature there, the trail will probably go through it.

Limestone ledges abound.

The Park sits on a plateau, next to the Pedernales river. Limestone and oak trees.

And cactus, a good motivator to stay on the trail.

Like a few of the Texas Parks I've ridden in, the trails wind all around making you think you've gone really far, and then you'll see your car ? Its fun though, easy to get into race mode. There are a few jumps scattered around, especially on the north end of the straight away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Biking around Texas

I've been enjoying the lower budget sports recently, well, except I had to buy a new bike! The limestone rocks in Texas hill country have been rattling my brains out. I ended up with a KHS 204 - fairly generic full suspension bike with hydraulic disc brakes. It rides pretty well, though in hindsight I may have opted for tubed tyres and cable disc setup. It does handle the terrain spectacularly better, to the point where I'm still too chicken to explore it's full potential. Mind you if you've seen the Red Bull Rampage in Utah, then you'll understand ;) but at least I can now keep up with Heidi.
Localish around here there is some good riding. Closest is the Madrone trail so named for its one Madrone tree, which doesn't appear to be alive. The trail has got some good drop off's and rock gardens.
The trail is on a lake Peninsula, so there are nice views and its peaceful.

It also joins up with the Hancock Trail, which Tracy and Chris came and joined us on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time Lapse

A month ago or so I saw this effect on the water early morning, it started my brain gears turning on how to capture a time lapse of it. Something I've been meaning to figure out for a while. Any way long story short I figured out a way of doing it for free with the gear I already have.

Canyon Lake Sunrise Time Lapse

Interesting to note the surface wind was east and the wind at cloudbase was west. Quite typical here.
I'm sure it is now way easier than it used to be... But in case you are interested (and I'll probably forget and look back here to remember) here's how I did it.

First obviously you need a whole bunch of pictures that are framed the exact seem way, or move at a steady rate. Then you'll likely need to re-size those pictures to the resolution of the movie format. I used my GoPro Hero 2 in the medium mode (narrower field of view @ 8MP) at an interval of 2 seconds for about an hour. You'll need some kind of tripod.

I used MIR (Multiple Image Resizer 4.0) - (open source)
 to crop and resize to 720p.

720p is 1280pixels×720pixels progressive (non-interlaced)
 - 921,600 pixels (~ 0.9 megapixels) per frame
 - Aspect Ratio of 1.77  or  16:9

Note most pictures are taken with an Aspect ratio of 1.33  or  4:3
Then use PhotoLapse 3.0 - (open source)
  to put all the reformatted pictures into a movie format.

You'll want to use a decent codec - I'm currently experimenting with DIVX
I saved  @ 30fps but 15  (frames per second is probably fine).
That will spit out a avi file which you can edit, or not.
I used AVS which is not free, but windows has MovieMaker and Apple has Imovie.

Now I am wondering what would make good subjects. Cloud life, flowers opening, plants growing.
My Old Camera has a great lens but will only automatically take a picture every minute which for a sunrise is not quick enough. Knowing the interval is key. With the practice though you'll end up with a lucky shot in the mix.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nice lake day

Last week, we had an exceedingly sunny warm pleasant day, so I grabbed the camera and went for a run.
It was my birthday so I somehow justified taking some time scrambling around these rocks and stumbled upon this cave.
The morning light and calm air really made the rocks come alive.
Later on, the wind remained calm and air warm, it was too tempting to throw the kayak in the water.
Heidi and I headed out passed the harbor
and noticed a collection of trees poking out the water. There was an Osprey perched right there.
What a fantastic way to enjoy a spectacular sunset.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Found Maples

This weekend, Heidi and I went down to Lost Maples state park to check out the fall colors.
We were probably a week early, along with a few thousand other visitors.
We did get a nice hike in though, once we got out of the waddling zone.
Being in the hill country, the terrain is limestone river bottom or chaparral like and plateau.
We crashed Tracy and Chris's party in Leakey which was there that evening by coincidence :) Great to see them. On the way home we took a route along the "backbone", a higher limestone plateau. There's not a whole lot there but big ranches and a few rivers. Along one fence we saw a Giant Kudu, quite a surreal sight in Texas, but it is hunting season...
Heidi got these shots out the car window. The Guadalupe river basin is every bit as pretty as the state park. This was just outside Ingram, a cute little town.