Category Archives: Cameras

My 2 Favorite GoPro Accessories

My 2 Favorite GoPro Accessories

GoPro Accessories - Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

Video Below – Scroll down for old fashioned text and photos. 

I’ve been a GoPro user for years – starting with the second version (I have a buddy that has the original tradeshow version (the digital one) that runs on AAA batteries – that thing belongs in a museum). I upgraded along the way – again and again and again, all the while buying all the silly GoPro accessories as I went. All the GoPro mounts, the GoPro handles, the GoPro head mount, I even bought the GoPro Chesty on a whim.

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

While I was mostly content with the GoPro accessories, The GoPro camera upgrades always left me wanting more and more. I hated the first version. I hated the second version. I thought the Hero 3 Black was pretty good – for about 20 minutes. Let’s face it, the batteries sucked, the connection to the phone was laggy and wonky, the app was garbage and the audio when it was in the housing was… well, nonexistent. 

Most of that changed with the Hero 5. I know people complain about it too, and it’s far from perfect. There’s the Xiamoi Yi 4K and a host of other sub $100.00 action camera knockoffs available on Amazon. You know what though? I’ve owned a few of them and they’re not really 4K. It’s a crappy interpolation that gets them to 4K. The colors are awful, and the menus are stupid. The Hero5 is miles ahead of them, and, more recently, the GoPro Hero6 is even better. GoPro opted to design and manufacture their own chip for the the Hero6, and the difference is pretty significant. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

Connecting to a phone and to the GoPro app (and in turn the GoPro camera) is almost painless – I still have to reboot my phone every time I want to connect to the Session5, but after that it works pretty well. The app itself is a little better than it used to be, and overall I find the battery life improved enough that I really don’t worry about it anymore. I used to carry 7-9 GoPro batteries with me almost everywhere. Now I carry the cable and a small powerbank. I’ve never had a problem. 

Recently I checked in on the GoPro subreddit and found people asking about the GoPro accessories and different stuff to carry or mount the GoPro with. I’ve had some successes (RAM Mounts) and some failures (the chesty – I hate that thing) with mounting the cameras in different configurations, but in the last year or so I’ve managed to settle into a comfortable routine and I’ve found a couple GoPro accessories or mounts I really like. 

The Ultrapod. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

The Ultrapod mini tripod is my favorite. It’s small, it’s light, it’s made in the U.S.A and it costs $12.00. The Utrapod was invented in 1982 and it’s changed very little since then. That says just about everything you need to know right there. You can’t go wrong with affordable and versatile piece of equipment. I use this thing all the time. I leave my GoPro on the tiny tripod and slip a DIY fleece bag over it and throw it in my camera bag. It’s protected and it’s ready to go. I use this trail running, driving, shooting reviews in hotel rooms – everywhere I go I have this little guy with me. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

The ballhead component is pretty small, but it tightens enough to keep a GoPro upright and it offers enough flexibility and motion to balance out your camera on some pretty uneven terrain.

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

I use the hook and loop strap (heaven forbid we call it Velcr*, right?) to attach the camera to signposts, trees, and often my hiking poles to in order to kind of fake that drone style shot. It’s awesome. did I mention it’s made in the USA? Did I mention that as of writing this it’s around 12 bucks?! Get one. Of all the GoPro accessories I own, this one gets the most love.

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review


The Ultrapod II. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

I used the Ultrapod II for a long time. I mean that. I think I ordered this from the Campmor catalog in the early 90’s. Later I used it for my GoPro for a while, and then picked the older, but smaller version above and largely retired this Ultrapod II. I still use it for point and shoot cameras occasionally, but I generally find the smaller, original Ultrapod to be better suited to the GoPro. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review


The Three Way

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

I have a love/hate relationship with this Three Way action camera handle. I find it finicky to use, difficult to angle just right, and a little too bulky to carry with me very often. I also feel like it’s large enough to pass for a full-on selfie stick, and I just can’t abide being that jackass with a selfie stick. Having made fun of it and complained about it, it’s great for getting low shots along the ground, and sometimes the reach is just what you need to get the shot. If you’re only buying one GoPro accessory handle thing, you could do worse than this. Just get ready to look like every other “Hero” out there. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review


The Shorty

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

The Go Pro Shorty is a rip-off. It’s way too expensive for what it is. As expensive as it is, I’ll admit it’s comfortable to hold. It’s compact and it will slip in and out of your pocket with nothing to catch on it. It’s well-designed. I like the extending feature, even if it’s not all that long.

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a reviewGoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

Sometimes if you’re filming in “superview” moving the camera just an inch or two away from your face makes a huge difference. This is the GoPro branded one, and as soon as the East catches up, there will be knockoffs of this little guy for $8.00. One thing to note, this is hardmounted for the GoPro adapter. It only takes the GoPro style connectors and only pivots forward and back – not side to side. If you want to be able to use this for anything other than a GoPro style mount, look elsewhere. Unless you really need the extender bits, get the Ultrapod. It’s more versatile. 


The RAM Mount Suction Cup

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

I love the suction cup. I love RAM Mounts. I have three of the RAM suction cups, one of the drink-holder auto mounts, I have the phone cradle… I can’t get enough. My dream is to tour the factory and leave with a cart of mounts.

GoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

I use this one for filming anything inside an auto. Usually forward facing time-lapse video to illustrate a roadtrip or travel scenario. My little GoPro Hero Session 5 lives in this thing. It’s pretty bomber. They make a model with three suction cups, and maybe if you were mounting it outside on the hood of the car that may come in handy. I’ve had this thing fail and come crashing down in my lap a couple times, but it’s rare. It seems to work far better in a car or truck than it does in the lightweight, plexiglass, vibration-prone cockpit of a 40 year old Cessna. 

GoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a review

Check out the comparison pros/cons below. Thanks. 

GoPro Accessories Action Camera Mounting Options - a reviewGoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a reviewGoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a reviewGoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a reviewGoPro Action Camera Mounting Options - a review


Disclosures? Some of my Amazon links are affiliate links – if you buy an item from one of those links I get some pennies. I also (against the advice of everyone) own some stock in GoPro. It’s done me no good, having plummeted faster than Bill Cosby’s career. I thought I bought it when it was low. I guess they showed me, right? It went way lower. I still like the cameras.

While I’m no expert – GoPro tried to do too many things. They wanted their name on stuff more than they wanted to make cameras. If they’d have stuck to simply trying to make the best action camera possible for a competitive price, they’d still be on top. Whatever – Nick Woodman probably isn’t taking advice from idiots like me on the internet. 


Mesa Arch at Sunrise – Nikon KeyMission 360


Mesa Arch at Sunrise – Nikon Key Mission 360

I had the chance to get one of the new Nikon KeyMission 360 (spherical, panoramic, VR, whatever) cameras a few weeks ago. I didn’t have much of a chance to play with it until now. 

The Key Mission 360 is well built and easy to use if you don’t rely on the Nikon Snap Bridge app. I found some Key Mission 360 recommended settings online and optimized them using the app connected to the camera the first time I turned it on, and since then I’ve not opened the app once. The camera seems (for me) to stand fine on its own. It’s basically a compact, heavy little point and shoot that does some video. On the bright side, battery life and the microphone are both better than I’d hoped.

I find editing the video to be quirky – Premiere seems to freeze up now and then and I have to sopt and restart the program. I’ve never lost any footage, but It’s an annoying quirk. 

The video of the Nikon Key Mission 360 isn’t that great either – the stitching on the sides where the images meet is totally visible in Virtual Reality. If objects are further away, then they appear a little better, but the KeyMission 360 seems to struggle to stitch together items that are closer to the VR camera. I imagine Nikon can fix this with a firmware update – I just hope they don’t take too long, because it’s an annoying flaw that needs to be addressed. 

I went and shot some footage at the always incredible Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. If you’ve never shot Mesa Arch at sunrise, it’s worth a visit. If not for the photos, then for the classic Mesa Arch photographer spectacle. The morning I went was pretty mellow – most mornings after Vetran’s Day are – but this was a Saturday and the parking lot was almost full of cars. 

While there were a lot of photographers there, none were hostile or arrogant. You’d be surprised how often that happens out there. I’ve seen photographers screaming at each other and fighting for a spot right on the front row. I think it’s more entertaining to shoot the photographers themselves than the actual arch, but of course I’ve been there a bunch, so the newness has worn off. It’s still a beautiful palce though, one that even in cloudy or cold weather is still worth the short drive from town. 

I’ve made a video with my thoughts and feelings (more in depth) about the Nikon Key Mission 360. In short, I find it difficuilt to understand the relevance or place of this camera in my workflow. Check it out below. 

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Ricoh GRII – Off For Cleaning – Deja Vu

Ricoh GRII – Off For Cleaning – Deja Vu


A couple years ago I sent my Ricoh GR off to have a speck of dust removed from the sensor… It was in every photo and it was driving me nuts. Luckily the camera was under warranty and Ricoh (via CRIS Camera) cleaned it up and sent it back no questions asked… This time my Ricoh GRII has a dust spot on the sensor and Ricoh recommends I send it to Precision Camera in Connecticut.


I hate to send it off anywhere. I hate the dust spot too though. I swore when this happened to he first Ricoh GR that I’d only have interchangeable lens cameras from there on out. The Ricoh though… it’s such a cool camera. I’m pretty smitten with it. I’m loyal enough to that little guy that I kept the first one until the GRII came out. Then I immediately ordered it. I sold the first one on Ebay and now I wonder if they fixed it to the point that it won’t get dust in it ever again? Should I have kept it just because it had the warranty repair performed?


You can see the speck of dust on my photos below. Can I clone it out in post? Of course. It’s not even hard. It’s just annoying. With any interchangeable lens camera a user could spot the dust in a series and just pop off the lens and clean the sensor. Not so here. Users are stuck with it. I hate the feeling that I’ll be dealing with this in post for as long as I own the camera – which in the Ricoh’s case would be another year at least. That’s a lot of fixing photos in post. Not impossible, but annoying. I want better dust sealing. I also want better focus during video, and 4K video, and a 24 megapixel sensor (preferably full frame), but that’s a rant for another day.


I boxed up the little guy added some stickers to the mix – maybe the guys at precision camera will be nice to me and get my camera back quickly. I hate to have to jump ship after such a great relationship.   RicohGRII_Cleaning74RicohGRII_Cleaning75

We’ll see in a few weeks…

EVO GP Handheld Gimbal

EVO GP 3 Axis GoPro Gimbal Unboxing and Test

EVO GP 3 Axis GoPro Gimbal Unboxing and Test

EVO GP Gimbal 1

I recently shot and published a short video of a trail run I did on a cloudy Saturday morning. I’ll admit it – it was bouncy and lame. It was overcast and I only have a headmount for my GoPro action camera. I can’t fix the cloudy, but I can fix the shaky. Kind of.

EVO GP Gimbal 2

Enter the EVO GP 3 Axis handheld motorized brushless gimbal. That’s a mouthful. In short and plain English it means an expensive but relatively steady way to hold a GoPro camera. Steady, at least if you’re not running a backcountry trail, because the thing is probably too delicate to survive an hour in a daypack bouncing against trailmix and beating against a water bottle. That, and you can’t really use the EVO GP with the housing on the GoPro, so that’s another minus in the durability department.

EVO GP Gimbal 4

Still, if you want steady video in a controlled or fair-weather environment, the EVO GP might be just the ticket.

EVO GP Gimbal 6

A motorized gimbal is a little battery powered unit that uses three little motors along the axis of motion to control and dampen unwanted movement. It’s like the old compass mounts in ships – anyway the ship pitched in the waves, the compass stayed upright and level. The EVO GP does that to the GoPro, but it uses cute little brushless gimbal motors to do all the steadying. This essentially means that even handheld, your GoPro action footage comes out looking like you’re working with a  J.J. Abrams style budget. Maybe not quite that good. It is much steadier than handholding. A stabilized video is a good video.

EVO GP Gimbal 7

The EVO GP gimbal seems well-built and it comes well-packaged. It’s easy to start and use, and it really does hold the camera steady. Handholding it easy and it’s not too heavy. You can feel the weight of the batteries, but it’s more like a reassuring heft than a heavy weight. I like it. I’ll post some video from the gimbal held GoPro as soon as I get around to it. Check out the video above for the unboxing and inital start up.

And here’s some video I shot with the Gimbal at the recent Moab Easter Jeep Safari event.



Photography Is Not A Crime Sticker

Photography Is Not A Crime Sticker


With all the anti-photography sentiment floating around, including this bill presented in Texas, I thought I’d make some stickers and pass them around and paste them everywhere. Reminiscent of the old “Skateboarding is not a crime” from the 80’s, it’s important to remind people that sometimes not everything is a criminal act – sometimes things are just fun. They’re available in my Strayfoto RedBubble store, and there’s price breaks for multiples – the more you buy the cheaper they are. Enjoy.

Digital Rhianna Camera Unboxing

Digital Rhianna Camera Unboxing


I got the digital Rhianna Camera from an Indiegogo project. I ordered it in June and it arrived, as promised, just in time for Christmas. It’s a fun little camera. I’ve posted a video review and a brief look at the menus and some sample images on Youtube.

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My Poor Ricoh – Off For Repairs

I love my Ricoh. It’s by far my most-used camera. Unfortunately it’s off for repairs…

It’s got a dust spot on the sensor I can’t deal with any longer.

While I wouldn’t call myself a Ricoh Fanboy, I’ve had three now, and I’ve fallen in love with the complete control Ricoh endows their users with. It’s almost as if Ricoh is the only company that actually trusts their users to read the manual and understand the controls. Even if you don’t do that, the Ricoh is easy to put in Manual Mode and figure out. My most-used camera before this was my Ricoh GRD-IV that I loved too. While there’s some argument on the internet that the GRD IV is better at some things than the GR, I disagree. For my uses the GR is almost the perfect camera. (Almost because it should be full-frame, 35mm equivalent instead of 28mm, have a 2.0 max aperture instead of 2.8, it should stay roughly the same size and still cost under a grand… yeah, I know, keep dreaming… or else go back to film.)

The dust speck is large enough to be visible on the rear viewscreen, and although it’s at the edge, it’s visible in every photograph. Sure – I could crop it out… But the camera is only 8 months old, and not one where the end user can easily clean the sensor.


It’s visible on the viewscreen.


And of course on photos it’s very visible.


It’s much worse at smaller apertures (of course) and against a blue sky it’s hard to ignore it any longer. I emailed Ricoh Customer Service and they asked that I send it in… frustrating because I’m using this camera almost exclusively for an ongoing project, but hopefully they can sort it out and get it back to me quickly…


I’ve labeled the camera with a couple notes, I hope the issue is obvious. I’m afraid they’ll say “we didn’t notice anything… all clear!” That seems to be my experience with customer service more often than not. I’ve also noticed the front control wheel is getting harder and harder to turn… Might as well have them address that too, right?




I also labeled the bottom of my camera so Ricoh can check out my blog and know that one of their fans is anxiously awaiting the return (or replacement) of his favorite camera so he can get back to making photos… Ahhh photos… that’s what the Ricoh is best at. It’s a great little camera, unnoticed by anyone, lightweight and easy to pack. Just seal the little guy up a bit better Ricoh.


A New Year In Arches National Park

Some of us went to Arches last weekend – it wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t cold either. It was a great January day.
R0014640_strayfoto_2014_R0014637_strayfoto_2014_R0014664_strayfoto_2014_R0014674_strayfoto_2014_R0014673_strayfoto_2014_I met Jordan from Provo, Utah at North Window – he was shooting with a Fujifilm X100. Always nice to see unique cameras in the park. I’ve added his portrait to the Cameras of Canyonlands Page. Thanks, Jordan!