Archives for July 2016

Transform Your Vacation Videos from Average to Breathtaking

This is a guest post by Todd Hayward of Flip Flops & Palms whose excellent island videos and photos have certainly captured our attention. Want to put together better vacation videos? Check out these great tips & hints that will help you transform your vacation videos from average to breathtaking!

Sandy-Cay---Todd-Hayward-(600)-OPhoto of Sandy Cay, BVI by Todd Hayward

If you’ve always been into photography and want to try your hand at producing high-quality vacation videos, here’s a guide to getting you on the right track. If you’re going on vacation, you probably already have a camera, and more than likely, it’s able to shoot video. The addition of a few key accessories and a little bit of planning might be all you need to transform your vacation videos from average to breathtaking!

Choose the gear that fits your needs

Believe it or not, camera gear isn’t as important to producing quality photos and videos as the manufacturers would like you to believe. You definitely get what you pay for, but you don’t need to break the bank to get high quality,  feature-packed gear. If you don’t already own a camera, any moderately priced DSLR, mirrorless, point-and-shoot, action camera, or camcorder these days is loaded with great features to help you take great videos. I rely on three options. Traveling with kids, I can’t be weighed down by too much stuff, so depending on my needs, I use the following:

1. DSLR: Nikon D5500 with a zoom lens and a wide-angle lens. Used for still shots and video.

2. Action camera: GoPro Hero4 for motion shots or underwater shots. Paired with a gimbal (see the next section) and waterproof housing, it’s a powerful filmmaking machine.

3. Drone: DJI Phantom 3 Advanced. By no means is a drone necessary, but aerial footage provides some serious visual impact.

Key takeaway: I admit, this is probably more gear than most of you will need (or want), but the point is, camera gear doesn’t make or break your video. You don’t need $10,000 in gear to produce good videos (the gear listed above totals just under $3000, the cost of many mid- to high-end DSLR camera bodies). You just need the appropriate tools utilized the right way to maximize your creative potential.

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Include these two must-have accessories

I truly believe these two accessories are absolutely critical to top-notch vacation videos.

1. Filters: Everybody needs a circular polarizer filter (CPL filter). If you’ve ever seen rich, vibrant colors in a photo or video, odds are the photographer/filmmaker utilized a CPL filter. It filters out the polarized light in the atmosphere, allowing nature’s true colors to shine through. I put a CPL filter on everything… even the drone.

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2. Stabilization: Shaky video really only works for chase scenes, so I rely heavily on a stabilization device. I have a tripod and Gorillapod that I use for quick stationary shots and time-lapses, but more importantly, I attach my GoPro to a handheld gimbal—a motorized device that provides stabilization on all three axes. I use a Feiyu-Tech G4 and love it. Gimbals give you the ability to produce silky-smooth video by isolating the camera from all the bumps and movement you produce while filming on the go. If you want to go a step farther, pick up a glide-cam for your DSLR. They’re a pain to travel with, but the results can be epic.

Key takeaway: CPL filters will provide the visual punch you need to make your videos shine. Stabilization will help keep your videos watchable and professional-looking. Even if you simply place the camera on a table or brace yourself against a tree for a quick shot, stable footage is key to a great video.

Check out this short clip highlighting the use of a gimbal for video stabilization  vs. unstabilized footage


Plan your shots

A little bit of planning goes a long way. The amount of effort you put into planning and filming your shots will determine the impact your video will have on your audience. There are several factors you should consider when planning your video.

1. Lighting: The best lighting occurs from just after sunrise to 10:00 a.m., and then from 3:00 p.m. to sunset. The sun is low, the light is softer, and the shadows create texture. Try to avoid filming in midday sun, if possible. Be careful shooting directly into the sun.

2. Background: Be aware of your background. I always choose to shoot from a location that will provide me the most attractive lighting and a background free from distractions, such as large crowds, unwanted signs, garbage cans… really anything that detracts from your perfect shot.

3. Motion: If you happen to have a gimbal or other stabilization device (or steady hands), experiment with some of the same types of motion shots used in Hollywood movies, such as pans (slowly moving from side to side), cranes (start low and slowly raise the camera above the subject), and reveals (follow your subject through a unique setting).

Key Takeaway: Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait for the right shot—plan for it. Wake up early and head out for some sunrise footage before everyone wakes up. If you’re on the beach with your family, set up a time-lapse. Observe your kids or loved ones and their surroundings and think about a unique way to capture the moment. Utilize different filming techniques to keep your videos visually interesting.

The following short video takes into account all three of the above elements: low-angle lighting, clean backgrounds, and smooth movie-like motion (as well as unique elements, such as underwater and aerial footage):


Editing

For most people, editing is the least enjoyable part of the filmmaking process. However, once you gain confidence and become familiar with your editing tools, anything is possible—color correction, transitions, music, slow-motion, time-lapse, if you can imagine it, it can be done. There are several entry-level options for editing software, the most notable being GoPro Studio (free) and iMovie ($15). At the other end of the spectrum are the more sophisticated, harder-to-use Apple Final Cut Pro ($300) and Adobe Premiere Pro ($20/month). Do your research and find a suitable option that fits your needs and budget, then get busy turning all of your footage into a breathtaking vacation video!

Things to think about…

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 A special thanks to Todd Hayward for this detailed and useful information. Be sure to follow Todd on his Facebook page – Flip Flops & Palms and on Instagram for  a lot more island inspiration!

Mudjin Bar & Grill, Middle Caicos


Many years ago while staying on North Caicos, we drove over the causeway connecting North to Middle Caicos to explore. Our first Middle Caicos stop? The stunning Mudjin Harbour.

Mudjin Harbour - copyright Rum Therapy
A few months ago we returned to Turks & Caicos and this time we stayed on Providenciales. Hearing that several beach bars that had been built on North Caicos (Barracuda Beach Bar) and Middle Caicos (Mudjin Bar & Grill) since our last visit, we decided to take the ferry over again to explore.

Although Middle Caicos takes a bit of planning and time to get to, Mudjin Harbour was just as beautiful as the time before and we enjoyed the addition of Mudjin Bar & Grill.

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It’s situated in the Blue Horizon Resort with a fabulous view of Mudjin Harbour beach and Dragon Cay, a rock formation just offshore that resembles a dragon.

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We enjoyed a rum punch on the deck while enjoying the warm breeze and the view before heading down for some time on the beach.

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FYI – we were told by the bartender that the Blue Horizon Resort is for sale and includes the Mudjin Bar & Grill. Hmmm. More details here.

Watch the view from the deck at Mudjin Bar & Grill here:

 Find Mudjin Bar & Grill on our Turks & Caicos Map

To see more posts on Turks & Caicos and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

7 Things to Do on Providenciales


Providenciales, the most developed and populated island in chain of islands called the Turks & Caicos, is home to some luxurious hotels and resorts and is fringed by some of the prettiest beaches in the world. Are you planning a trip to Provo? This list of  7 Things To Do on Providenciales might give you some ideas of what to do during your time there!

Taylor-Bay - copyright Rum Therapy

Beach
Boasting some of the prettiest beaches in the  world, including the highly ranked Grace Bay Beach, spending some time on one of Provo’s gorgeous beaches is the top thing to do on our list. See photos of a few of our favorites and read more in our post “The Stunning Beaches of Providenciales“.

Leeward Beach - copyright Rum TherapyPelican Beach at (part of Leeward Beach)

Eat
Whether looking for fine or casual dining on Provo, you’ll find a variety of restaurants and bars to suit your taste. Conch and seafood, in all manner of preparation, is served at many different establishments. One of our favorites? A restaurant called Mr. Grouper’s. The Coconut Crusted Grouper and Blackened Grouper were recommended by a friend and after ordering both, we decided to go back again later in the week for another go-round. Delicious!

Mr Grouper's Restaurant - copyright Rum TherapyCoconut Crusted Grouper at Mr. Grouper’s

Drink

With a plethora of gorgeous beaches, you’d certainly guess there are great beach bars to be found on Provo and you’d be right. Da Conch Shack & RumBar, Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl, Kalooki’s Beach Restaurant and Bar and Somewhere Café & Lounge are great selections – each on a beautiful beach, but there are others bars to check out as well, such as the 90 ft long Infiniti Bar at Grace Bay Club – touted as the longest bar in the Caribbean and Jimmy’s Dive Bar in Ports of Call. Be sure to sample the local made Turks Head Beer and Bambarra Rum.

Drinks at Bugaloo's - copyright Rum TherapyRum Drinks at Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl

Golf
Hit the links at the Provo Golf Club and enjoy a round of golf on an 18 hole championship golf course that is voted consistently within the top ten Caribbean golf courses.

Provo-Golf Club - copyright Rum TherapyProvo Golf Club

Shop

There are some very nice shops in and around Ports of Call and Grace Bay offering a variety of gift, art, locally  made and luxury items. Our favorite place to pick up souvenirs for friends & family at home? Mama’s Gift Shop in Ports of Call. Run by two sisters from North Caicos, you are sure to get good service and a friendly chat from Mama #1 or Mama #2 while shopping!

Mamas Gift Shop - copyright Rum TheapyMama #2 at Mama’s Gift Shop

Explore
Other things to explore on Provo?
1. The Caicos Conch Farm where you can take a 30 minute tour that will teach you about the life cycle of the conch and where you can se many thousands of Caribbean Queen Conch growing the facilities ponds.
2. Chalk Sound – take a scenic drive around the amazing turquoise water of Chalk Sound National Park.
3. Snorkel at the Bight Reef or Smith’s Reef, or snorkel on a boat excursion – the underwater life is beautiful!
4. Take an excursion to neighboring cays such as Little Water Cay and Half Moon Bay

Conch-Farm - copyright Rum TherapyCaicos Conch Farm

Experience
There are so many more things to experience during your vacation in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, but we’ll leave you with two more. The Thursday Fish Fry, held at the Bight Park from 5:30-9:30 is an excellent place to enjoy  food and drink from several local restaurants, local arts & crafts and live music & entertainment.
One last thing to experience on Providenciales? A sunset. Sunsets from many areas on the north part of the island are simply spectacular and the perfect way to cap a perfect day on the island.

Pelican Point Sunset - ccopyright Rum TherapySunset at Pelican Reef

Have you been to Providenciales? Tell us about it!

Find many of these attractions on our Turks & Caicos Map

 To see more posts on Turks & Caicos and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Health Benefits of Walking On The Beach

As a follow up to our article,Health Benefits of Spending Time In Or Near the Ocean“, we thought we’d also highlight some of the health benefits of walking on the beach.

To us, walking on a gorgeous beach while on vacation is not work – it’s something we really look forward to and “gasp”, it may actually be beneficial to our health! How?

The Health Benefits of Walking On the Beach - copyright Rum Therapy
1. Sand is a natural exfoliant
Sand is rather coarse (yes, even sugar-soft sand!) and when walking on the beach, especially in moist sand, you are naturally exfoliating some of the skin on your feet. Be sure to follow up your walk with a nice coating of moisturizer to maximize the effect!

2. Walking barefoot on the beach can be “grounding”
There is an emerging science that claims walking barefoot on our electron-enriched earth (especially when humid or wet), will increase an individuals balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and possibly decrease inflammation. (see more on Grounding here)

3. It’s good exercise for your calves and feet
Because sand is soft and you sink into it as you walk, you’ll be using more of the muscles in your calves and feet, giving them a better workout than walking on a hard surface.

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4. It’s relaxing and peaceful
The sound of the waves lapping the shore, seagulls calling, the sunshine gently caressing your face, ahhh… Many people report that they find walking on the beach to be quite relaxing, restorative and good for the ol’ blood pressure.

The Health Benefits of Walking On the Beach - copyright Rum Therapy

5. It burns more calories
A good walk on the beach can burn up to 50% more calories than walking on a hard surface, which can help with the fitness goals, especially if you like to enjoy a tropical beverage or two. One Pina Colada can contain a whopping 600+ calories so be sure to leave a bunch of footprints in the sand to keep rockin’ that beach bod!

Do you know of other health benefits of walking on the beach? Tell us about them!

Find more Tropical Tips here:
Tropical Tips & More

To see more island posts, check out our Island Blog Directory

 Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Da Conch Shack & RumBar, Providenciales


For a small island with not even one stop light, Providenciales in the Turks & sure has a large number of simply amazing beaches (see The Stunning Beaches of Providenciales), and a number of really fun beach bars too.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
One of the better known, da Conch Shack & RumBar, is located in the Blue Hills area on the northern coast of Provo (next door to Kalooki’s).

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da Conch Shack & RumBar provides deliciously fresh seafood and a wide variety of conch dishes – cracked conch, conch salad, conch fritters, conch creole, and curried conch.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
And if all that delicious conch & seafood weren’t enough, the RumBar serves up an excellent Rum Punch called Jan’s Rum Punch, served by the glass or pitcher.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
We ordered conch fritters, conch salad and a couple Rum Punches and settled in to listen to the live music and enjoy the sea breeze.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
O’Brien, the bartender at the RumBar was great to talk “rum” with and delighted in sharing his favorite rum selections.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
Listed as one of the 1,000 places to see before you die in the book of the same name, we’d have to agree that it’s well worth a visit, or two, while staying in Provo.

da Conch Shack, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos - copyright Rum Therapy
Have you been to da Conch Shack & RumBar? Tell us about it!

Find out more on their website: da Conch Shack & RumBar

Find da Conch Shack on our Turks and Caicos Map

To see more posts on Turks & Caicos and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC