Motorcycle Photos & Video
The joy of motorcycle touring, is simply the experience of going, being in the, “now” and feeling every mile. However, most of us are going to want to relive our journeys. Long lasting memories can be captured with motorcycle photos and videos. That can be as simple and snapping a few memorable photos with your phone, and not even carrying a camera.
Of course there are those whose eye will not let them take less than professional level photos and will carry a camera and lens, etc. The trade-off is in space, you can only carry so much and the more gear you need, well that means giving up somewhere else. Once again, there is no right answer, only the right answer for you.
We started with what we had, Karla‘s point & shoot. That was OK and we took a couple hundred photos, but no videos. It lacked any significant zoom power and sometimes we’re pretty far away from our subject.
What we found was the Nikon S9700. It’s small, takes 16 MP photos and videos. We only used it for photos. We now take thousands of photos every summer. The compromises are many, and you have to figure out what fits you best. We added a GoPro for videos.
The 30X optical zoom is more than you should expect from a point & shoot, it’s amazing. Hand-holding at that level of zoom is pretty much impossible, so it was time for a tripod. Gear designed for backpacking fits in nicely on the bike. If you can carry it in a backpack, surely it will fit on a motorcycle.
There are some trade offs with a point & shoot. With a DSLR or mirrorless camera you have wide flexibility, but it takes a lot of space.
The 30X ZOOM is just incredible. I have to show an example that blew my mind. We were on the side of the road in Zion National Park, having stopped to take a few landscape photos. After we had finished, for no particular reason, I got out the binoculars and started scanning the hillside…….I spotted a family of Big Horn Sheep, not visible to the naked eye. I set the tripod up again, zoomed in and started taking photos all over the place.
We began with this selfie. Now look closely at the top of the hill behind us. At the very top, on the right side you see two knobs, follow that down to the first notch. You may barely be able to see a tree. Now look at the second photo.
Here you’re looking at that tree under 30X zoom. Mr. sheep is starting to emerge around the mountain. The reddish bands on the rocks are the darker areas in the first photo. Upon seeing the photos that evening on a computer screen, we found we had captured a whole family. Hiding in plain sight.
Marketed as, “Action” cameras the GoPro is really a pretty versatile mini video camera. We get great videos both from the fairing mount on the bike and from the, “selfie stick.”
Here is a little secret about getting the GoPro addiction……the camera is expensive enough at around $400……but wait for it……you will spend $800 before you have all the accessories you need (want) including housings and batteries, you need a lot of batteries.
We started with a GoPro 4 until it died. After that we had a GoPro 5. Eventually, the GoPro 7 (we skipped 6) came along and it has amazing stabilization. It eliminates the vibration and looks so smooth. We now use 2 GoPro 7’s.
Putting a GoPro camera on your bike or helmet and recording video is just the beginning. One challenge is to be able to sort and keep track of your videos.
I number the micro SD cards. One card holds about 2 hours of 4K video. Every evening I download all my days video segments onto a laptop. I sort and rename them. The native file names are not going to tell you anything other than what day they were shot, and if you do a lot, it gets really confusing. I make folders for each segment or day of a trip. After we get home, I already have some sorting. If you don’t sort and name them, it will become so frustrating and time consuming, you may want to give up.
And then there is editing…..unedited video is not much fun to watch even for you, who shot it all. Editing takes a tremendous amount of time and there is a steep learning curve depending of what software you choose. The free package that comes with the GoPro is minimally adequate, but if you get into making videos for YouTube and want people to watch you will need to get more advanced.