I’m a camera!
Exploring the GoPro life.
Everybody can make a short video, something simple or more sophisticated but all of us have a tool to film today.
I was reading the great post of Aaron Chase in The New Yorker, where the journalist describes that Chase, who is sponsored by GoPro and is exceptionally adept at using GoPro cameras to make videos.
When the agony of missing the shot trumps the joy of the experience worth shooting, the adventure athlete (climber, surfer, extreme skier) reveals himself to be something else: a filmmaker, a brand, a vessel for the creation of content. He used to just do the thing—plan the killer trip or trick and then complete it, with panache. Maybe a photographer or film crew tagged along, and afterward there’d be a slide show at community centers and high-school gyms, or an article in a magazine. Now the purpose of the trip or trick is the record of it. Life is footage.
Woodman had the good fortune to invent a product that was well suited to a world he had not yet imagined. The ripening of the technology in his camera, after a half decade of tinkering, coincided with the fruition of broadband and the emergence of YouTube, Facebook, and other social-media platforms for the wide distribution of video. GoPro rode the wave!
I am a big GoPro user, with it, I am always up for a new adventure wishing that my movies would be awesome! The result is not as much a selfie as a worldie. It’s more like the story you’d tell about an adventure than the photo that would accompany it. You want to make people dream! That’s certainly pretty egocentric. I am agreed. But this not the social media’s life?
Though GoPro is known primarily for its connection to adventure sports, the camera is increasingly used in feature likefilm or most recently at the World Rugby Cup. You could see the referees with a GoPro attached on their chest.
Position itself not just as a camera-maker but as a media company—a producer and distributor of branded content. In this conception, it is hawking not only cameras and accessories (the source, up to now, of pretty much all of GoPro’s revenue) but videos, too (a source, up to now, of pretty much no revenue). In the past five years, videos posted by GoPro have attracted half a billion views. On the GoPro channel on YouTube, videos average about half a million viewers each.It’s hard to « Be A Hero ».
Most of them are not the ones that come from their sponsored athletes (or “brand ambassadors”), like Aaron Chase, who are expected to submit footage. They are crowdsourced—amateur-hour finds that turn pro. For the latter, GoPro pays very little—maybe some accessories or a camera, plus, say, a thousand dollars for the first million views.
In a sociology way, psychologists and neurologists have discovered that photos or videos of an event are more effective than notes or conversation at helping people remember an experience.
GoPro, like Google Glass, has the insidious effect of making the pervasiveness of cameras seem playful and benign when it may one day be anything but. The Economist called the film-everything culture “the people’s panopticon”.
Let’s be all a storyteller.
Everybody has something to say and it’s certainly the beauty of GoPro.
The beautiful job of the travel writer by Don George.
I recently led an all-day in-the-field writing workshop in one of my favorite places on the planet, the hamlet of Point Reyes Station, population about 900, located an hour west of San Francisco, on the edge of the continent.
The purpose of the workshop was to replicate a day in the life of a travel writer—or more specifically to illustrate how I go about trying to “get” a place and a story when I’m out in the world.
The first part of the day involved walking around the town as a group, and our focus was, well, the fine art of focus.
Every truth blossoms from the seed of specific details. And a fundamental part of the job of the travel writer is to notice the details that underlie the truths.
In Point Reyes, for example, we gathered for an initial conversation in the tiny town commons at the corner of Shoreline Highway and 4th Street. In one corner I noticed a new addition to the commons since my last visit, two years before.
We investigated more closely and saw a beautiful wooden farm stand that went by the “honor system.” The exterior of the stand had been lovingly hand-carved with exquisite renderings of strawberries, raspberries, arugula, artichokes, snow peas, onions, and other locally grown produce. There was a blackboard with a scrawled message welcoming buyers, a clipboard with payment instructions and a locked box for inserting money.
For me, this stand spoke volumes about the character of Point Reyes. It showed both the locals’ concern for fresh food and their aesthetic appreciation of artful presentation. It also showed the atmosphere of trust that interwove the town and the sense of community that must prevail there.
As we continued to explore, we passed a town bulletin board where many of the notices advertised meetings focused on sustainability concerns. Then we passed a bookstore, part of which was devoted to shelves featuring local writers. The dry goods store, which sold both high-end bee balm and bales of hay, featured a back room that had been converted into a gallery showcasing stunning wildlife photographs by a local photographer.
As we wandered, these details composed a picture-puzzle of the town. Our job was to figure out what that puzzle looked like, and what the pieces revealed.
This is essentially what I do every time I write a travel story. I arrive in a place, and I begin to try to figure out what that place’s essence is, what I’m going to write about. Essentially, I’m looking for clues, telling details, and that quest entails an intense and precise focus.
I’m writing these words in a hotel room in Japan, at the start of a National Geographic Expeditions tour that was inspired by an article I wrote for Traveler magazine about the island of Shikoku.
In writing about Shikoku, I enacted a big-picture version of the same exercise that my workshop practiced in Point Reyes.
In a week of traveling around the island, I looked for the details that seemed to define it, and came up with three that I noticed repeatedly: the pristine beauty of the landscape, the kindness of the people, and the way old traditions still vibrantly endure.
To evoke these characteristics in my article for a reader who wasn’t familiar with Shikoku, I asked myself how I had experienced them myself, and then I tried to recreate those specific instances: my first view of verdant rice fields flowing to a green mountain against a deep blue sky, a group of women treating me to dinner just because I was a visitor to their island, the image of white-clothed pilgrims walking steadfastly from temple to temple along a venerable island-circling path.
On Shikoku as in Point Reyes, this focus was a two-layered process: First I had to apprehend the revealing details—the carvings of vegetables, the pristine rice paddies—as completely as possible, and then I had to re-create them as vividly as possible.
And that’s ultimately the challenge and the potential of the fine art of focus in travel writing: You have to live something deeply before you can write it deeply.
But if you can do both of these well, your life will be infinitely richer—as will the lives of all the readers you touch with your words.
Don George is an editor at large at Traveler and the author of The Way of Wanderlust and Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. He has also edited award-winning travel writing anthologies, including An Innocent Abroad. Follow Don on Twitter @don_george. (via National Geographic)
Tell me your favorite Travel Bloggers…
Picture from Hand Luggage Only
There are so many travel blogs in the industry that it’s very difficult to follow the best one or just to get through all of these. You can be overwhelmed quite easily. To make your life a bit easier, find below my 5 favorites travel blogs that I’m following and find pretty well-made:
I like Liz Carlson in her twenties from Virginia, currently living in New Zealand, but travels around the world and documenting her adventures in very great way!
Brooke Saward is from Tasmania and travel the worl full-time. All while wearing Prada bags and only staying in 5-Stars Hotels.
Jess and Stephen This are from Australia and currently traveling in North America after living for more than 3 months in Vancouver. Their videos are differents and fun to watch!
According to me, Nadine is a real travel blogger, you can fell it that she is not doing it for the money or to be famous. She has a real heart and you can feel it in her writing and vlog. I love following her through her adventures and I wish to be part of her experience for a while.
This blog design is absolutely amazing, I love the posts, the ideas and the concept. Everything works well with Yaya and Lloyd. Their Bristish humor and videos are fun to watch. You want to travel with them.
Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocate of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.