Pro Tips | The Perfect GoPro Shot

Photo: Chuck Patterson
Photo: Chuck Patterson

Pro Tips | The Perfect Go Pro Shot

With Chuck Patterson

Chuck Patterson is famous for many things: being the first Battle of the Paddle winner, surfing massive waves, skiing off cliffs and winning the SUP magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. But the one thing the GoPro-sponsored athlete might be known best for is his constant and impressive use of the most ubiquitous action camera out there. Here, he gives us the pointers he uses for getting the best selfies in the sport.

Don't leave home without it. I travel almost everyday and I never leave without my GoPro. I always keep one in my pocket when I'm out paddling because you might see a whale or want to capture your friend on the wave of the day. And make sure your GoPros are fully charged and your SD cards (32 gig is good) are empty and ready. It's also important to have a floaty mount on your camera to make sure it stays on top of the water if your mount fails.

Know before you go. Knowing what you're going to shoot is key: when you get to the water and the waves are going off, you don't want to sit there for 30 minutes figuring out what mount you're going to use. I like to have two different options. The two simplest are the nose mount—where it slides into the sticky mount on the front of the board—then there's the handlebar mount you put on your paddle, which in my mind is the more creative way to go.

Lick the lens. It's the worst when you know you got some great shots on the water but then look at them later and find water spots so bad you can't even see yourself. The key? Always lick your lens. The rule of thumb is to lick the outside of the lens five minutes before you go in the water—you want to really lick it and leave saliva on there. Then when you get in the water, dunk it in the water and give it a quick wipe. That will help keep the water beads from sitting in the middle of the lens. Then, before you go for a wave, give it a quick lick, dip it in the water and take off.

Lapse it. If I'm shooting action, I usually set my camera to time lapse, where it shoots every half-second. It's really simple. And while you may have 2,000 photos and only five incredible shots, once you load them on your computer it's really easy to delete the bad ones. It gives a lot of opportunity to get that perfect shot without having to think about it. Video is the easiest if you don't want to miss anything. A frame grab will be good enough for Facebook or Instagram.

Get creative. A lot of the best shots happen right before you turn the camera off because you are holding the camera differently. It's nice to take the camera with you anytime you do a cool adventure and shoot funky stuff or let it run. Every time you go out you'll learn something new. The more you use it, the more accustomed you get to the different settings. Then you can make a backpack mount or add a couple mounts to create a longer one; that's when you get the most interesting shots.

Originally published in SUP magazine’s 2016 Skills Guide.

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