Some months back I bought a GoPro Hero9 Black. I had a 1st generation way back but didn’t use it much because of the PITA complexities. Here’s a video where I settled down and just used it hang gliding. It has come a long way. Now pretty simple to operate and performs wonders, one of which is staunchly demonstrated and proven in the video.
The gotta-hand-it-to-you element about this product and company is that it’s a 1st person sports/action camera. That is its intended function. That means, you’re holding it or have it mounted from the perspective of the origin of all the acton. It’s a bit live-vicariously in that sense. That, and perhaps a bit of make-it-look-easy or make-it-look-hard, as the case may be.
Problem was, I bought it right about the time rainy season began and opportunities were rare. For one, the monsoon-like southwest flow creates big surf, rips, etc. And even if a snorkeling excursion presents when calmer, the water is cloudy.
An American friend of mine—Doug, an expat for many years—borrowed it a couple of weeks back for snorkeling and indeed, the water is getting progressively clearer and October is the transition month from rainy to paradise. He returned it fit as a fiddle and as thanks, offered to pop for pizza at Sabai Corner (673 Tripadvisor reviews, 4.5 average).
I met Doug last December (2020) on my first visit to Phuket since 1989 when Patong Beach’s Bangla Road was a dead-end dirt road with a dozen beer bars or so, a few restaurants, couple of hotels, and one massage parlor that did not have happy endings on offer.
Here’s Bangla Road pre-Covid.
Now it’s pretty much a ghost town. Not even a faint shadow of what it was 32 years ago when I found it to be a total island kick—twice. Yea, I visited twice in 1989.
…I met Doug at The Expat Hotel last December and shortly thereafter, he invited me to ride along for a snorkeling and SCUBA trip to Koh Lipe. That was a gas. Doug is a master diver with over 300 dives. We did 6 snorkelling dives and 2 SCUBA dives at 15 and then 17 meters. Each one was a completely different undersea garden from the last owing to water clarity, sun exposure, and currents.
So now to the video of the motorcycle ride, which I edited down from 16 minutes to 8. There are three general ways to mount a GoPro for a ride like this: helmet, body, or chassis. I bought a bar-mount recently so decided to try that. Yes, it points a little low which will be rectified next time around.
However, it demonstrated the amazing image stabilization of this GoPro. Watch just the first couple of minutes and observe the tachometer bouncing up and down within the frame—as though it’s a camera filming a bouncing tach from a relatively stable perspective. No, the camera is mounted on the handlebars. It’s bouncing up and down exactly the same, yet digitally manages to create the illusion it’s not. And in 1080HD.
Be sure to make sure you’re watching in HD and not SD.