Ocean Paddler App

There's now an Ocean Paddler Magazine App available in the iTunes store for use on iPads and iPhones.

This gives the full print issue, cover to cover, plus additional 'digital only' content apparently.

Individual back issues and subscrptions are available to buy from within the App itself.

Current subscribers, digital and paper, will still be sent links to their digital versions direct from Paddle Press Media.

However, and orders placed through the App are completely separate from orders placed through the Paddle Press Media website. So there you go...


In the USA's National Paddling Film Festival we've won Best Professional Safety / Instruction Film 2012 with a cut-down version of Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown - Volume-2.

Thanks very much for choosing our film over the other safety and instructional films which were entered. Now just waiting to hear about the Waterwalker Film Festival.

I Want Your Job

They're short interviews with people who (try!) to earn a living from work related to the outdoors.

The 'try' is important. I certainly aimed to give a realistic assessment of my career choice.

With more to come, so far the series has included:

And me. Giving away probably a little more information than I intended...

All New ocean Paddler Magazine

Ocean Paddler Magazine has undergone a thorough redesign, from masthead to layout.

I'm still a 'dead-tree' version user so I'll wait until I receive my hard copy before rushing to judgement.

The online version certainly looks clean and uncluttered. I gather there'll soon be a version for Apple Newstand users.

Where Eagles Stare

They fixed us with a gaze that makes smaller mammals quake. It gave me the shivers too.

While I watched them with some high-power, image stabilised binoculars. They used what nature had given them.

They still probably had a better view of us.

Two sea eagles were hunting as we approached the loch on the north of the Isle of Mull that leads to Dervaig. The Poll Athach area if you're checking the OS map.

We left Kilchoan last Sunday at 9am and, 33km later, returned by 4pm. A lot of time had been spent eagle-watching. Although we've had a house in the area for ages, we still managed to find a route which was new to us. There are probably many more, it's that kind of place. Why we moved here!

At this point, I'd love to be able to offer photographic evidence.

How I wish I could publish a stunning shot of the pair taking to the sky in unison, the sea water draining from their golden-yellow talons, their dark shapes all but camouflaged against the rock, were it not for the flash of brilliant white that is their tails.

But I can't.

I only had my compact camera, and while I took some snaps, they're distinctly of the "honestly-that-blob's-an-eagle" variety.

I can offer only two things.

The first is the view the sea eagles probably had of one of these daft paddling humans as they blundered into their loch.

The second is to share this wonderful memory.

Media Stuff I Learnt Over the Last Few Days

Kayak stuff next week - including me selling two Cetus sea kayaks for a great price.

This is for video / film-makers and is stuff I didn't know on Monday befor emy trip to Broadcast Video Expo.

Look at that photo. The woman newsreader, in a virtal set, is controlling everything; play-in, live sources, captions, from the desk in front of her.

What appears onscreen is above her, partially hidden by the suspended 'wide shot' camera.

When I first started it was a big deal to read the regional breakfast news and cut between my camera and slides (yes, 35mm slides) by myself.

We glued a lego brick onto the camera button to find it without looking. The photo is below.

OK - my bullet points from BVE.

* The GoPro Hero gets a wifi-back in the UK in March - transmitting 'live' pictures to your iPhone and offering some level of control.

* UK radio mic frequencies have been sold off to TV so don't buy a cheap old one on e-bay and expect it to work after December. If it can get up to Ch70 (863-865) you can still use that but interference is likely. Digtal radio mics are way better but start at £2,500 (!)

* Editing. Final Cut Pro-X is not as bad as I had feared, but I'm not yet tempted to switch.

* Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium looks outstanding. The way all applications work together and especially, handle different file types. Video doesn't have to be 'converted' to a timeline. The timeline is dynamic, and runs any format or frame rate. Conversion happens on export. A new version is coming soon but it might not be an upgrade - it might be a stand-alone, so not worth buying a 'cheap' 5.5 and upgrading.

* Queue early for seminars, but even then you might not get in. My God it was crowded. Next year BVE switches location so hopefully they give more space to the seminars. The photo shows a little of the overflow.

* Camcorders. The Panasonic HPX 250 E3 is BBC approved and a rival to the Canon XF 300/305.

It achieves BBC approval running at 100Mbps (so uses double the hard drive space on edit) and records onto expensive (32GB=£400) P2 cards. What I liked least was the sloooowww auto focus.

The Canon XF300/305 is the go-to camera for my type of broadast work recording onto CF cards (32GB=£96) . I was going to buy the 300, which has fewer connectors than the 305 and is £600 cheaper. But those connectors allow recording to external drive (Atomos Ninja £700) and that could be very useful in the future.

Warning - There are grey imports for sale online at prices as low as £4200. Despite what those sellers say, Canon will not cover these supposedly 'worldwide' guarantees. Buy a far-east camera in the far-east, then it's covered for UK repair. Buy a far-east camera in the UK and it's not.

* Despite gentle pushing, Sony gave no hint of a 50Mbps 4:2:2 camera that would meet BBC HD approval.

* Small second cameras. For kayaking I still like the water-resistant Sony HXr NX70E. Rivals are the Canon XF100/105 or the very tiny Canon XA10.

* Trainers. For cameras, including very good advice about which camera suits which type of work, I was impressed with presentations given by UrbanFox.tv and they have a good website - worth browsing. You can find all the slides from their presentations here. For editing Maxim Jago seems damn good on Avid or Adobe.

* New Apple MacBook Pro? I am considering buying a new MacBook Pro, but a couple of resellers steered me away from the purchase right now. Rumours of a new shape (form factor) are circulating, and the new one might be closer to the MacBook Air.

Things change. As this photo of me as a newsreader, operating my own buttons, shows only too well.

At The Golden Gate Symposium

While I'm finally home after a week in London, two of the people closely connected to Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown are coaching at the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium.

One is Gordon himself, the other is our US distributor Rob Avery of Active Paddles. You'll find their biographies on the coaches' page.

As well as supplying kayak stores around the USA (Chris Lockyer supplies Canadian stores) Rob is the man who fulfils all NTSC orders placed through our website.

The Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium runs from today until Sunday and looks like a really good event.

Next time perhaps...

My New Box Brownie?

I've not yet made a final decision but it looks like Volume 3 - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown will be shot on the tapeless Canon XF300.

Prices online vary between £4,200 and £5,300 but a UK guarantee and prompt service is essential in a piece of kit like this. So I'll go fishing for some quotes.

Three other cameras I considered were the Panasonic AF101, the Sony FS100, and a camera I've used a lot on BBC jobs, the excellent Sony EX1.

Naturally, I've picked the most expensive of the bunch! But it's the best suited to my way of working, and the only one which conforms to the BBC's minimum requirements for HD production.

I'd also like the tiny, water-resistant Sony NX70 but that hikes the bill too much for now. So if I can sell a few more DVDs I'll be able to buy it before 5th April. If anyone thinks shooting kayaking DVDs makes money, they should see what good ones cost to make.
So why the media stuff this week? I'm in London at Broadcast Video Expo, learning lots of things about media production and checking out new TV cameras to replace my Sony Z1. (I'll be on the ScotRail Caledonia Sleeper train home tonight).

I wouldn't normally write about an advert but this one is exceptional. VW cars could have struggled to follow-up their offering last year, 'Darth Vader Kid' to be screened during the Superbowl. Instead they came up with a brilliant two-part advert which even references last year. Watch it all. Seriously, it's good.

Then if you're impressed, watch the 'making of' video below it.

Video - Original Mountain Marathon on TV Tonight

I didn't have a lot to do with tonight's edition of The Adventure Show. I shot and edited Cameron McNeish's walk - look out for the lovely red squirrel shots.

The OMM, or KIMM as it used to be, was my favourite October race until I took up sea kayaking and discovered the event clashed with the SCA's Perth show. Tonight you can see what the fuss is all about.

It's on BBC-2 Scotland at 7-8pm which you can find at the top end of the Sky and Freesat Channels, some Freeview boxes and of course, the iPlayer for seven days.

Video - This Is The Roll

I know how long and how hard Justine Curgenven has worked to get her new rolling DVD just right. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished item.

It will help Gordon and I decide exactly what we'll include in Volume 3 - Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown. Do we include rolling or not? Certainly Justine's trailer looks good!

To learn more about Turner Wilson and Cheri Perry of Kayakways, download their Podcasts from this page on SeaKayakPodcasts.com. More media stuff tomorrow, with a superb video.

Hosting Winners' World Tour Is Not Free

A line in my last posting suggested it might be free to host the Reel Paddling Film Festival Winners' World Tour. It's not. Standard cost seems to be $685 in the US where there are already over 100 dates booked.

Host A Superb Film Night At Your Kayak Club or Shop

I have several 'media' type blog posts coming this week, the reason for which will become clear in a few days.

Starting with this - Here's a GREAT way to raise money for your kayak club or bring people into your store.

It's very, very easy to 'host' the Reel Paddling Film Festival winners world tour. These are 'The best paddling films of the year', and we were lucky enough to win 'Best Sea Kayaking Film 2012' with Rescues-Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown.

It's free (I think). They ship the material to you. They provide the tickets and online booking. They provide promo material. It couldn't be easier.

As an aside - I received a nice e-mail from festival Director Scott MacGregor (with that name he must have Scottish roots!) saying: "I screened it last night at the premiere, to many cheers and laughter."

Here's the thing. It's called a 'world tour' yet most of the 100 dates already booked are in the USA and Canada, because it's a Canadian award. So imagine how popular (and lucrative?) it could be to organise a hall, projector, DVD player and seats to bring this collection of films to your place?

Don't contact me though! This page tells you all you need to know. More media-type stuff tomorrow and during this week.

WE WON! Best Sea Kayaking Film 2012

I'd like to thank the director... the producer... the editor... No wait, they were all me.
Seriously - these are (some of) the people I really have to thank.

This is the St Kilda kayaking 'team' with whom Liz and I spent a highly memorable few days filming last June.

(We're looking forward to the reunion in March folks!)

Thanks also to all the other people who took part in Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown - Volume 2.

Thanks to your help, we won Best Sea Kayaking Film 2012 at the Reel Paddling Film Festival 2012. Here's their press release.

I entered a twenty-minute cut-down version of full the DVD, which runs at over two hours.

The short version will now go on an extensive tour around Canada, the USA and parts of Europe.

Our first DVD won Best Instructional Film 2010 in the same festival.

And once again, thank you to everyone who took part and helped.

Eric Soares - What A Paddler - Podcast 1 Yr Ago

I didn't know Eric Soares personally, but a year ago I put live a Podcast with him about the inspiring antics of the Tsunami Rangers.

We chatted on Skype for what seemed like ages, before and after the section we actually recorded. His passion for paddling shone through.

His death from an aneurysm, which may or may not have been linked to a ski-ing fall, is just awful and I can only add my condolences to those from people who were closer to Eric and his family.

The comments section of his last Blog Post is becoming a tribute wall to Eric.

If you'd like to experience that infectious enthusiasm for sea kayaking that "the commander" was so keen to share, download his podcast from SeaKayakPodcasts.com - it's right there at the top of the page. There's also a streaming version to listen online.

I'd also direct you towards the Tsunami Rangers' videos on YouTube. They were doing great kayak videos long before I picked up a paddle!