Safe Harbor Dam

Safe Harbor Dam

Last week we had a bit of a warm snap and we very excited to get out of the house and explore a little. Once of the places we visited was the safe harbor dam. I had a very particular photo I was after that day. Too soon for details, but we'll just say it had to do with the Conestoga River Inlet to the Susquehanna River. Fun stuff coming up this summer!!

That's where you'll find the Safe Harbor Dam, sitting just above the inlet in Conestoga, PA. The massive gravity dam and hydroelectric power station is one of three concrete gravity dams along the Lower Susquehanna River from the Great Depression-era. It's 75ft tall, and 4,869 feet long, and at the time of our visit the river flow was 66,000 cubic feet per second!

Brookfield Renewables purchased the dam a few years ago, but continue to allow public access for fishing out on the bridge. A sign on the property directs inquiries to pa@brookfieldrenewable.com. Here's a snapshot of their rules:

Safe Harbor Visitor Rules posted on the staircase to the point at the Conestoga River Inlet.


360 Video:

Come take a walk with me on the stoplog bridge! I had my Kodak SP3604ks with me to capture the Public Fishing area in 360! Have a look around:

Flat Video:


Photos:

Safe Harbor Dam viewed from the point where the waters of the Conestoga River join the Susquehanna River.

That massive trestle stretching over the Conestoga River will one day in the next few years connect the Manor Township section of the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail with the southern portion of the trail that stretches all the way to Atglen. As you can see, the point where the Conestoga River meets the Susquehanna is popular for fishing. The shore of the point can be access via a staircase below the visitor parking area.

Skyline Drive 360 - Reading, PA

Skyline Drive 360 - Reading, PA

The first blog post of the year and it isn't even going to be about Lancaster. We rang in the new year with some sick days here at home, so we haven't been getting out much yet. Anxious to get out, but also needing to avoid the cold, we took a little drive up to Reading, Pa so I could capture a 360 video of the infamous Skyline Drive.

Since getting my SP360 setup back in December I've been looking for unique spots for 360 experiments. 360 Video definitely has a bit of a learning  curve, BUT I like to share what I capture as I continue to learn. I've been converting a lot of the videos to tiny planets and such for Instagram. Be sure to follow along over there to see what I'm up to!

 

I find Skyline Drive to be very interesting. We make it up to the area quite a bit throughout the year. In this video I drive down from North to South passing the William Penn Memorial Firetower, a few Overlook pull-offs, and of course the Reading Pagoda. While some of the stonework and other features are in need of repair there is lots to explore and discover, and tons of photo opportunities. Just check out the slideshow below from my Skyline Drive Gallery on http://dochterdigitalmedia.com.

Photo Gallery


Videos

The first video is the 360 driving footage from the north side of Mount Penn. After turning onto Skyline Drive from McKnights Gap Rd I pulled over quickly to turn on the camera. So I began recording at the Northernmost edge of the Park property and filmed until just after passing the Reading Pagoda.


The second video is shorter than the first and flattened. While trimming for Instagram I selected some of the highlight portions of the drive and controlled the perspective using Insta360 Studio.  While I enjoy 360 and using VR headsets three is still much to learn on my end and many advances to come in the technology. I think flattening the 360 footage using Insta360 Studio is a great way to utilize the advantages of 360 video in a format most people use to consume their content (i.e. not looking around frantically with a giant thing strapped to your face). I hope you've been enjoying these short 360 clips. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think.


For more details on what is available to do on Skyline Drive, as well as information about the Reading Pagoda, The William Penn Memorial Firetower, events, and more simply visit http://www.pagodaskyline.org/

Best of 2016

Best of 2016

For the past couple of days I've been working on a "Best of 2016" Collection of my photos. That was a hard dig through the trove, but I've come up with a collection I'm pretty happy with.

Since I had so many video clips from my GoPro and the new Pixpro SP360, I thought I would make a little compilation video. No words, just music, video clips, and photos. You know how I like them. It was kind of hard to fit all the ones I wanted in there (guess what? I had to cut a few I DIDN'T want to). Be sure to check it out! I hope you have as much fun watching it as I had making it.

BEST OF 2016 VIDEO

BEST OF 2016 PHOTOS

360 Roundtop Mountain Resort

360 Roundtop Mountain Resort

Half way through December and the weather hasn't quite been ready to give us snow yet. There was a light dusting on the western edge of Lancaster County last weekend, but nothing more than a few sporadic flurries over my way. It just so happens I know where you snow lovers like myself can find some.  To find it we'll have to hit the road and venture west a little to Roundtop Mountain Resort.

I knew that SkiRoundtop was going to be opening some of the slopes this week for Skiing and Snowboarding, and then Tubing over the weekend. I had seen a few photos of them making snow earlier this week and wanted to take a peek. I really dislike cold weather, but snow is entirely different. Love snow!

To make things a little interesting I got the kids excited by telling them we were going to go find some snow. Zoe, ever vigilant, instantly KNEW that there was no snow "because it didn't snow last night, duh". However, I convinced her that maybe it had snowed somewhere else. Then she tagged a wagger onto it. The deal was that if I couldn't find snow I would have to take her and her brother directly to Chuck E Cheese's for dinner. I had already spoken to the folks at Roundtop Mountain Resort about stopping by, so game-on little lady. 

360 Video


Photos

Here are a few photos I captured while we were there. The snow crews were out in force building up the Terrain park for opening day. Outside of that it was a pretty quiet. The last quiet evening the resort will see for a while. 

If you make your way up to Roundtop Mountain Resort be sure to share your pics and videos on our Facebook Page and tag #GrandLancaster on Instagram!

The west of Roundtop Mountain Resort just after Sunset.

Snow crews working on the Terrain Park the night before opening day. 

Fife and Drum trail just behind the Roundtop map. 

The western edge of Roundtop Mountain Resort reflecting in the pond at the base of the Mountain. 

The eastern edge of Rountop Mountain Resort behind the Snow Tubing parking lot. 

Save it onto your Google Maps:


Explore more of Grand Lancaster ...

360 Drives 001  Welsh Mountains to Valleys

360 Drives 001 Welsh Mountains to Valleys

As many of you reading the blog already know, I am a huge fan of 360 imagery. I have been contributing Street Views to Google Maps for the last few years and even carried a Google Trekker around Lancaster County (check that story out here). Well after much planning and about a year and a half of waiting I recently crossed the threshold from 360 stills to 360 video. Super PUMPED about that!

Now that I got my hands on my Kodak SP360 Dual Pro Pack I have wasted no time in getting started. There are so many cool ideas swimming in my head already and I'm not going to make you wait to share them. I've always said over the last few years "we're in a constant state of evolution". Ironically, so is the 360 and Virtual Reality world. It has been an amazing industry to watch over the last few years and I'm so glad to be able to get into this format and see what we can do.

I figured I would start things off with some driving tests. So the other day after picking my daughter up from school we took a little drive from Overlys Grove up over the eastern most edge of the Welsh Mountains. Then we headed through the valleys on the other side as we headed towards Upper Leacock. 

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think!! Check out the links below if you're interested in trying a cardboard or slightly better VR viewer. I think it's a really cool experience!

The Route