As we flew over the Virginia mountains, I fiddled with my new GoPro Hero camera. I wanted to make sure it was prepped and ready to document my return to the Old Dominion State - where I attended college. The passing scenery reminded me how much affection I still have for the beauty of the state: the mountains, rolling grassy hills, beach, and an abundance of rivers – the Hero, I was confident, would be superb at capturing that appreciation.
The plane touched down and I walked out of the airport into a markedly less humid situation than my usual in Florida. Though I have appreciation for everywhere, contentment expressed itself in long sigh, and a weekend Virginia adventure began.
I started with a test run of the camera at the airport while waiting for my ride. Carrying my bags, I walked back in towards the airport with a view of the central statue affront. The picture was marginally bouncy; but I didn't mind, as this was a trial – and I had my heavy bags weighing on me still – I was glad to get the first opportunity to work it behind me. I quickly felt comfortable using the simple settings.
The next leg of my stay in this Commonwealth State led me to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Locals and nationals alike know this stretch of road that cuts through the Appalachian Mountains as one of the most beautiful drives in the Continental U.S. After a couple more trials on dry land (perspective shots that turned out fairly well): I eagerly placed the Hero in its waterproof case, slip my shoes off, and begin walking down a stream. The far and away best shot came from a still photograph that I took by putting the shutter on a timer and placing the camera on a rock under the transparent waters. The photo quality was high and I really enjoyed the perspective it had of me standing over the water with trees and sunlight behind.
A video I took in the same location saw a small fish swim perfectly in front of the camera prior to my reaching down and grabbing it – very sweet! (And very not planned).
A later jaunt had my friends and I jumping off various things into water: most notably, the rocks at Panther Falls (just South of Buena Vista, Virginia) and a bridge over the iconic James River. With the Hero mounted on my head, it was quite simple to capture these adrenaline-filled moments. As there is no screen – we did not have the option of automatic playback. However, that made the subsequent downloading and watching all the more enjoyable. As a side note, while it was fun to jump off a bridge immediately following my friends –I was dropping at an alarming rate. I quickly realized that I had better put my hand on the camera band so that it did not come off my head on impact. It is good that I did, because it immediately came off into my hand when I hit the water. The quality and the audio were superb, nonetheless.
The final trip I took was with my friend as we loaded a couple inflatable paddleboards onto the James River at dusk and floated into the City of Lynchburg – which sits nestled above the water. It was a beautiful time as it quickly became very dark. Our only light was the stars and the glow of the city lights around the bend of the river. The camera did not work to take visible video at this time – however, it clearly picked up the conversation my friend and I were having about life. This is a great feature, as audio is still picked up quite acutely even with the waterproof casing firmly closed.
All in all, the trip was a resounding success, and so was the usage of the GoPro Hero. I am thoroughly glad for both the trip, and the memories captured by that little gem.