Outside or Bust

Man, I just realized I haven't posted anything on the blog since February!  I'm a really bad blogger... :)  I guess my drive for long-form writing has waned a bit as of late.  So, let's go to video instead.  I'm here today to announce my new YouTube channel, "Outside or Bust".   With it I hope to share my love for the outdoors, inspire others to get out, etc.  Forgive the quality of my early episodes, as I've never done much video work, so I'm slowly learning the ropes, both on the filming and editing sides.  That's actually partially why I'm doing this: to get myself trained up on video work, to expand my photography repertoire a bit.  I'm also trying to get more comfortable in front of the camera, hoping it will help me get over some of my anxiety over public speaking, etc.

My initial intent was to not launch this effort until I had a related website created, some more video work under my belt first so it'd look more polished, etc., but then last weekend I was out on a hike up in Cascade River State Park and I realized, "this is the kind of shit I want to share, so I should just start right here, right now." So I whipped out my point-n-shoot camera I had on me at the time and started clumsily recording video right there.  Right now I'm pretty much just filming in P mode, trying to focus more on getting my vlogging composition down, getting more comfortable in front of the camera, etc.  Also, without shooting in more advanced LOG profiles and such, I don't have to worry about color grading and such in post-processing, but can just focus more on getting my cuts right, etc. 

As of this evening, I now have two episodes down.  Here's the first, the one mentioned above in Cascade River State Park:

Not real impressive, I know (and the camera seemed to have some focusing issues in a couple spots), but they'll hopefully get better as I go along. :)  Here's the second episode, one I shot earlier today, just exploring a little bit of nature a few blocks away from my house in Minneapolis:

This one was obviously a bit longer, and I learned a key thing from this one: microphone direction (when using a mic on-camera) really matters when you have a bunch of background noise like traffic, airplanes, flowing water, etc.  All the bits with the camera pointed at me sound fine, but my narration on all the other parts sounds pretty muffled.  Like I said, I have a lot to learn...

Anyway, stay tuned.  Go ahead and subscribe on my YouTube channel if you wanna keep up, though I'll try to post here when I get new episodes up, too.  I also have a couple social media accounts tied to this: click here for Facebook and here for Twitter.  I have an Instagram account in waiting, too, but nothing on it yet; will share when it becomes active.

Picture Dump: Autumn on the North Shore

Lake Superior, seen from one of Oberg Mountain's many scenic overlooks.

Back in October I took a quick up the North Shore to get some Fall color photos, the same trip I recently wrote about in this post.  That first night, when I shot those nightscapes, I was hiking up on Leveaux Mountain.  The following morning I packed up my camp over by Leveaux, hiked back down to my car in the parking lot and dropped off my pack, then walked across the road to hit the trail that goes up and around Oberg Mountain.

Looking out into Minnesota's "mountains" from one of Oberg's overlooks...

The Oberg Mountain loop is a trail that spurs off the Superior Hiking Trail, ascends quickly to near the summit, and then loops around the broad summit area (mountain "peaks" here tend to be broad, rounded tops as opposed to the steep, jagged mountain peaks you see out west).  I think there are eight scenic overlook points, if I recall correctly.  From the first overlook point I stopped at, I got the view above, looking away from the big lake into the mountains, and also this view below, looking across at Leveaux Mountain, where I had climbed the previous evening:

Leveaux Mountain, seen from overlook on Oberg Mountain.

And of course, there were great lake views, too; including Lake Superior, which you can see in the photo at the top of this post and a bit in the photo above of Levaux; and also lovely views of Oberg Lake, which lies below on the other side of Oberg Mountain, and which can be seen here:

Oberg Lake, seen from Oberg Mountain.

As you can see, the views were great all around, no matter which direction you looked.  This is probably one of the most popular Autumn hikes along the North Shore, so you won't exactly be alone if you choose to hike this trail during peak colors, but at the same time, I never felt crowded either.  Some people would come and go while I was stopped at the scenic overlooks, but then when I got hiking again, I was usually alone as I set my own pace and just carried on.  This is a trail I'd highly recommend if you want to see some of the best views and colors northern MN has to offer in the Fall.  I'll probably go again next year, this time with the family in tow.


p.s. photos can also be viewed in my Minnesota Landscapes gallery.

Picture Dump: River Bluffs

Time to start throwing some pics back into the blog, being a photographer and all... :)  If you've been checking my galleries, you've probably noticed I've added some images over the past couples months.  But in case not, I'm going to introduce them here over a series of posts.

The images above and below are both from a family trip I took down along the Mississippi River back over Labor Day weekend.  We camped at Frontenac State Park, and I still have lots of pictures to process from our time hiking in the woods along the bluffs there, but we also hopped in the car to go do some exploring around Lake City, Reed's Landing, etc.  These images were taken at a scenic overlook just off Highway 61 between Read's Landing and Maple Spring, closer to Maple Springs.  It was just a quick stop off the road as we headed back toward camp, but rewarded us with some beautiful views.

To check out more of my Minnesota landscape imagery, click over to my Minnesota Landscapes gallery here.