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Candid Cameras 

click to enlarge Local Matt Gillis with cam attached. - BOB LEGASA
  • Bob Legasa
  • Local Matt Gillis with cam attached.

Believe it or not, there was once a time when powder junkies had no way to capture their sick alpine rides and above-the-clouds scenery from mountain outings. No way to document their snow lust. A past where skiers trekked up mountains carrying gear on their backs left taking camera equipment completely out of the question. Far removed are those days, now, when all they need is $200 and a finger to push the record button.

Helmet-mounted point-of-view cameras have soared in popularity this past decade for just this reason and have recently become exceptionally good, offering weekend warriors professional grade recording ability for a relative cost of peanuts.

“The story behind it,” says Chad Baker, owner of Coeur d’Alene based Reel Cameras, “is that all these action sports enthusiasts wanted to get noticed for their skills and ultimately land sponsorships and go pro so they made these cameras that would allow them to go out without a production company.”

It started with motocross says Baker. Riders would put together camera set ups that were pretty rough, usually requiring separate battery packs that had to be connected to the lens and camera. As technology and interest developed, helmet cams arrived at where they are now. With top producers such as GoPro and Contour offering full 1080p video and 12 mega pixel photo capabilities for between $200-$400, the cost is comparable to a medium grade Nikon Coolpix cam. Comparable in size too, as cameras come as small as GoPro’s 2.6 oz HERO3.

And just as you might upload your Coolpix photos to Facebook to share your latest antics or a night out with friends, snow-goers are sharing their runs and mountain adventures.

“People typically use these cams to make their own videos and throw them on YouTube and Facebook and share them with their friends,” says Baker. “They’re for everyday users. You’re seeing ‘em on everyone now.”

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