Sebastian Junger says in his book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging “When people are actively engaged in a cause their lives have more purpose... with a resulting improvement in mental health.” Rambo has championed the cause of Art and used her ingenuity and hard work to convert an old bluebird school bus into a home for her and her kids as well as an art studio for veterans in need of an outlet.Read More
Fenix SD20 Diving Light Review
As I’ve mentioned before, I am an ambassador for Fenix Lighting and I truly believe in this company as they have lit our Catching Creation adventures for the last 5-6 years. This is my most recent review of their Fenix SD20 Dive Light.
Before I dive into this review, pun intended, I want to clarify that I am not a scuba diver and as such I will not be delving into the specifics of how this light performs at depth on a coral reef or gnarly shipwreck. So, if you were looking for an extensive review in regards to this light’s functionality in that regard I hate to disappoint you but with that out of the way let’s plunge into this review…see what I did there…ok no more diving quips.
My ultimate purpose for getting this light was that I wanted something that could throw a good deal of light and also not worry about it taking a spill into a swamp or creek. I often find myself in wild wet places like this while shooting photographs of wildlife and videos for my YouTube channel. At 1000 lumens on full blast and 400 lumens on the low setting I wasn’t lacking or light while on my last few nighttime adventures. Not only is this light bright but it also has quite the throw of light, on the highest setting it can project clean white light for over 170 meters. One of the features this light offers is a red light setting and I actually really liked having the alternative to switch this thing over to the lower output red light while looking for skittish pine barrens tree frogs in the NC Sandhills and later while shooting photos of stars over the North Carolina coast.
My initial reaction to the light was that it was way bigger than I anticipated which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This thing weighs in between half and three quarters of a pound with the batteries included so as you hike or swim with it attach the supplied lanyard and get some curls in while you shine into those murky depths. I noticed personally that after a couple hours of holding this light in one arm at eye level shining for nocturnal snakes and tree frogs I did feel like my triceps were beginning to hit muscle failure, ok maybe that’s a bit dramatic but I definitely noticed the light’s heft while using it.
A positive to the weight of the light is that you can truly tell it is well constructed. Not only is it waterproof but it is also quite impact resistant. I took a bad spill and basically launched my light on the concrete on accident and was panicked thinking that I just shattered the lens because it fell lens first. It barely had a scratch on it. I was really impressed by that. Another plus to the weight is that if, let’s say, you’re alone in the backwoods and you’re being pursued by a surely sasquatch you can most likely knock that cryptozoological beast unconscious and get your name in the science and history books all thanks to this hefty light.
When I inspected the light after it came in the mail I was kind of bummed that the batteries weren’t included in it since previous lights included a battery or had one built in so for whatever reason it just slipped my mind and I had to wait another week to order the batteries and subsequent charger for them. This wasn’t the end of the world as had I paid attention to detail I would have read that the batteries weren’t included and would have ordered them originally.
You don’t HAVE to use the Fenix batteries since this light could also use either two Fenix 18650 series batteries or 4 CR123A batteries that you can pick up at any local gas station or box store at a premium. The rechargeable Fenix batteries are the way to go in my opinion since you just pay for them once for the most part and are able to recharge them. I opted for the Fenix ARB-L18-3500 Rechargeable 18650 Batteries and sprung for the Fenix ARE-X2 Battery Charger. If you go this route, like me, you will quickly realize you may feel like these batteries never die. I actually haven’t had to recharge my batteries more than once and I only did that as a formality between trips. The tech specs say that you can run this light for 3 hours on high and over 7 hours on low (and red light) continuously before the batteries die which is impressive considering most people are going to be flipping it on and off as needed in many cases thereby lengthening their use.
I tested this light both above and below water and it performed well in either environment. It does get a little warm after continuous usage out of the water but in all truth, I expected it to be much hotter considering it’s a sealed waterproof flashlight. After 3-4 hours of usage in 90 degree heat it was noticeably warm but never got hot or uncomfortable to use. I tested this light in both ocean water and local fresh water rivers and streams at approximately waist deep. In the ocean I just tested the light throw in the shallow green North Carolina coastal waters and it did much better than anticipated in that turbid water. In the fresh water ecosystems, I was able to shine this bright light underwater and spot little creek minnows of various species, chub, and some trout while on a fly-fishing trip with a friend.
One thing I do wish this light offered was some sort of mount for underwater cameras like the Fenix SD11 offers. For my particular usage I think it would have been advantageous to have the ability to mount this to a GoPro or camera rig underwater because it definitely provides good clean light which is advantageous when trying to film underwater in shallow water. The pros for this light far outweigh the cons for me and truthfully it was hard to find things I didn’t particularly like about the light. All in all, this light is a great buy and if you’re in the market for a new waterproof light I highly recommend the Fenix SD20 Diving Light.
“Bats Holla Back” is our PSA about how awesome bats are and an effort to infuse comedy with conservation. I hope you enjoy it and consider donating to Bat Conservation International and other like minded organizations that help conserve wildlife.
Available in all digital stores to stream or download Itunes: https://apple.co/2xSQlm1
Available on Spotify
Make sure you like us on facebook at www.Facebook.com/CatchingCreation
"Bats Holla Back" by Catching Creation Song Produced/Recorded/Filmed/Edited by Catching Creation ©2018 Catching Creation
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As an ambassador for Fenix Lights I often get to test lights and will write reviews from time to time. Check out my most recent review of two stellar lights, the Fenix HP25R and the FD30.
I recently bought two Fenix lights to replace an old Fenix headlamp that finally (after much abuse) bit the big one. The problem with Fenix lights is simply that they truly make a great light. I didn’t want to upgrade lights because I loved mine so much but when faulty batteries melted my terminals on the old lamp it forced my hand. Having had many good years and countless adventures with my old HP25 Headlamp I decided to go with its modern equivalent, the HP25R as well as a handy handheld focus flashlight, the FD30.
For my specific needs these lights really make for a great combination. The headlamp stays on my head for general ambient lighting while I’m hiking at night to set up photos after dark and the FD30 literally lives in the console of my truck ready for me to grab at a moment’s notice while scanning for wildlife on backroads. I find myself photographing and filming wildlife and nature scenes quite a bit in low light and having these lights working in tandem is a game changer for me. I can keep my hands free to focus on the camera on the lower settings on the HP25R and spotlight wildlife for macro shots with the FD30 for good fill light.
While sitting around a camp fire at a veterans camping trip I organized, it seemed that everyone was impressed with the brightness of this light. I kept hearing “hey pass me that light” from these tactically minded guys as they would click the on off button and want to test it for themselves around the dark campsite. On another trip this light came in handy while using it to add fill light for some macro shots of toads on sandy roads in the middle of nowhere one evening.
The pros to the FD30 is that it has a wide field of view that illuminates anything you’d need to see in a tactical or practical environment as well as multiple brightness settings that let you choose how blind you want anyone nearby to be. It ranges from 8 lumens all the way to 900 lumens with a max distance of 200 meters on the spotlight setting and 67 meters on the floodlight setting. I was actually hesitant initially about getting a light with rechargeable batteries but aside from these batteries lasting forever they’re really easy to charge and I will often pop the battery out en route to the next adventure and charge in my cigarette lighter in my truck with the USB cable. You can also choose to use two CR123A batteries instead of the included rechargeable 18650 Li-ion if you’re in a pinch and can’t recharge the battery. The only real cons on this light, and they’re minor issues, is that sometimes it’s a little hard to turn the focus ring of the light quickly because it is very tight. The light will sometimes get quite warm if you’re running it full blast for a long period of time.
I love the HP25R just like its predecessor the HP25. The main difference between the two if you’re an old school Fenix fan like myself is that the new version boasts a smaller overall size and the batteries are rechargeable and the light is significantly brighter maxing out at 1000 lumens. I have found myself using this headlamp for all sorts of practical applications outside of my normal outdoor and nature uses. Recently a strong storm knocked out the power in my house and when the lights went off the Fenix went on. I wore it around my house for over an hour until the power flickered back on. It’s also extremely helpful while doing home projects like installing a ceiling fan or setting up night time photos on the side of country roads. It’s just an all-around good head lamp that you won’t regret owning. The batteries are easy to recharge, like the FD30 I will often have this lamp charging in the truck if necessary but to be honest I can’t remember the last time I actually charged it. It’s just always ready to go! The addition of a red light is a great improvement on the older model and it aides greatly when trying to read camera settings after dark but not wanting to kill your night vision. The only con to this light is that I didn’t buy one sooner. If you’re looking for a great pair of lights that work together like peanut butter and jelly, definitely check out the HP25R and the FD30. You won’t regret either and they’re even better together!
"Where Dem Turtles At" by Catching CreationAvailable to purchase or stream in all online stores
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2KR8g4W
Also Available at CatchingCreation.Com
Be sure to check out our other songs
"Ain't No Copperhead" https://youtu.be/xDGk_0XXcKo
"Slippy Slimy Salamander" https://youtu.be/FOPe3c_Srqw
This video was shot by Stan Lake, Stephen LaVine, and Deric Cook
Edited by Stan Lake and Stephen LaVine.
The song “Where Dem Turtles At” ©2017 Catching Creation performed by Stan Lake, Stephen LaVine, Daniel Charles, Thomas LaVine, and Chance Feimster.
Special thanks to our dancing turtle Deric Cook and the zombie boy Proctor Cook
The tortoise mating clips were used with permission from Susan Tellem, Director of American Tortoise Rescue and the Founder of World Turtle Day® www.tortoise.com and www.worldturtleday.org
The storm from the day prior made our last day in the Outer Banks significantly colder and windier than the days prior. We attempted to fly drones but the winds were just too high to properly control the drone. I was still able to find another (very cold) black racer snake which made a total of 4 for the trip with 3 being alive and one being dead on the road. I hope you've enjoyed these episodes and hopefully there will be more to come as we continue to travel and film!
Music: The song "Truckin on the Dunes" by Yosemite Mudflap was used with permission and all other music was by Thomas LaVine.
On day 3 of our Outer Banks (OBX) trip we were met with a fickle forecast complete with a 100% chance of rain. We were still able to make the best of it and get out and film landscapes and wildlife in Buxton, NC near Cape Hatteras. Music created by Thomas LaVine.
On Day Two Deric Cook and I hiked the Buxton Woods trail and the Brittish Soldier memorial trail area in Buxton NC. We walked a wide path with blooming jasmine and live oaks on either side and were lulled into a peaceful calm by the flowing water and singing birds, it was a surreal place. Around 2 miles into our hike I saw a loosely coiled Black Racer snake at the base of a stump and as I set up my shots it scooted off and then I saw another one. We hiked another few miles and on the way back I decided to set up my camera on a tripod and just see if they would come back out of their stump hole and much to my chagrin, they did! Enjoy. Music was created by Thomas LaVine. Go check him out on Spotify, iTunes, and etc...
Here's the edit from Day One of my Outer Banks trip with Deric Cook. This one is probably the shortest episodes in this 4 part series as we drove all day but it was an awesome first day complete with getting stuck in the sand near Cape Hatteras. Stay tuned for Day Two as it shows some awesome footage of wildlife and each of the following days (total of 4) seem to get cinematically more epic as they progress. Stoked to share. Here's the first episode of hopefully an ongoing travel series and a new leaf.
Music by Never Home go check them out.
They're on iTunes, Spotify, and etc, new music dropping in June so be stoked.
Bandcamp (free download available): NeverHomeNC.bandcamp.com
The alarm broke the silence of my sleepy bedroom at 4 am last Saturday as a reminder of the adventure to come. I scrambled half asleep in the pre-dawn light of my bedroom to get layer after layer of clothing pulled onto my exhausted body. I was up until half past midnight the evening prior out of sheer excitement for the day to come. After fueling my body with coffee and my truck with gas I drove 30 minutes west to meet up with Stephen LaVine for him to load up his gear and accompany me on this journey.
During the week he and I both scrolled endlessly on hiking apps and google maps and decided that the approximate 4 hour journey to the western wilds of North Carolina's Gorges State Park was our preferred destination. Even though we would spend twice as much time driving as hiking, we decided that if the day panned out the way we thought it should; then it would be more than worth the effort.
I made the mistake of looking down at the temperature gauge on my truck while en route and was shocked to see that it read a balmy 5 degrees. Yikes! I can't remember the last time it got this cold. This day had all the makings of a great adventure and we were ready to seize it with vigor and purpose once we arrived in the parking lot at the State Park. We opted for a 4 mile hike to see Rainbow Falls because from our research it seemed like this trail had the most bang for our buck and was doable in our short time table.
The river was frozen! Everything was frozen actually. North Carolina has been stuck in a frigid death grip from polar vortexes and bomb cyclones and a bunch of other made up words that meant it has been REALLY cold. With huge camera bags and tripods and other various pieces of equipment strapped to our backs like pack mules Stephen and I trudged down the trail taking in the awe inspiring beauty at each stop. Nothing could have prepared us for what was in store though.
The falls were massive! It's hard to explain just how beautiful Rainbow Falls was to experience in real life. I love any opportunity to be humbled by the grandeur of creation and this was truly an experience that made me realize my insignificance in that way only nature can. My feeble attempt at photographing the landscapes here and Stephens expert cinematic eye for video all pales in comparison to really being in the presence of this natural wonder. This area creates a temperate rainforest ecosystem making it more humid and slightly warmer than the surrounding peaks which lends for a unique microclimate. With the added humidity and plunging temperatures my beard began to tighten and freeze to my face. Not even that could break this stupid smile from my face though. I can't remember a time recently where I felt truly this happy and overwhelmed with the joy that can only be experienced when you're outside. This was just the medicine I needed to quell the turmoil in my soul that cabin fever and cubicle servitude lend to. Get outside and create some of those happy endorphins!
I highly encourage you to make the trek West and check out this natural wonder!
Stephen is on a mission to film the beauty in National and State parks and he did not disappoint with his newest installment "In the Silence of Gorges State Park" that he filmed while on our adventure last weekend. Check it out and let us know what you think and what you'd like to see us film next. I foresee many more adventures along these lines in the near future so stay tuned!
Hey guys I was recently interviewed by Andrew McDowell on the “Neophyte in the Woods” podcast about Catching Creation and conservation issues. In this episode, Andrew and I discuss at length issues facing conservation and the importance of properly understanding the place critters have in the natural world – and the modern “civilized” world. Listen and let me know what you think! Click HERE to visit the Neophyte in the woods Podcast episode page on the Change Your POV Podcast Network for the description and links to other episodes of their shows.
We recently took a trip to Mooresville, NC to the Lazy 5 Ranch to see what all the fuss was about. I am not too sure what I was expecting but it definitely wasn't what we got. It was much better than I anticipated and I was truly overwhelmed (and maybe even a little concerned at times) about the sheer volume of animals that were readily available to come up to my truck while we drove through. On a practical level it was great because getting good photos and videos was super easy but on the other hand I worried about the animals being in such close proximity to vehicles. Most of the animals greedily rushed my vehicle and we all eagerly either fed them pellets we purchased at the entrance or snapped picture after picture until we got the desired shot. All in all I definitely want to visit the place again and it may be the closest thing to a real safari I get to experience for a while so I'll take it. Check out the video from our trip.
Check out our new jam! "Where Dem Turtles At" is all bout turtle conservation! Be sure to get this over at Bandcamp while it's free. The song will be live on all platforms to include iTunes, Spotify and all other music sites within the week but in the meantime get it for free on Bandcamp!
We will be coming out with stickers and shirts with this graphic on them in the coming months and a portion of our profits will go towards turtle conservation organizations we believe in. More to come on that soon. We plan on filming this music video in Feb/March timeframe and hopefully release around April. The time table may shift one way or another but for now jam out to this glorious song and get hyped because we want YOU to be in the music video with us!
Having recently been given an opportunity to become a brand ambassador for Fenix Lighting I took great pleasure in testing and reviewing their new HP30R headlamp. Fenix has the tagline “illuminate your adventure” and that’s exactly what this light will do for you! Being used to my trusty Fenix HP25 for the last 3 years I was reluctant to change but this is a worthy upgrade and you’ll thank yourself once you purchase yours.
I recently tested the Fenix HP30R on one of my Catching Creation filming adventures and from the moment I pushed the buttons to illuminate this intensely bright 1750 lumen (max combined output) headlamp I was impressed. The Fenix HP30R uses Cree XM-L2 and XP-G2 R5 LED’s which give you a really even white light that will quickly make you the envy of your friends on nocturnal adventures with the floodlight topping out at 750 lumens and spotlight at a whopping 1000 lumens.
This light does get quite warm and actually has a built-in feature that once the light reaches a temperature that is approx. 149 degrees Fahrenheit (65*C) it will downshift the light output and then as it cools it will slowly return to the previous output. If you’re like me and you want to run this thing at full blast with the spotlight and flood light both at their max lumen output then you will run into this issue. Both the flood and spot light in their own right are most likely brighter than anything you’re currently using and when used together they give you a good mix of bright flood with a focused spotlight. It took close to two hours for my light to overheat and start downshifting its output so in the grand scheme of things that is not a bad tradeoff.
I’ve never used a headlamp that had to be belt mounted and I was a bit apprehensive as to whether or not I would like this configuration. Once I got the battery pack settled in a comfortable spot I immediately forgot I had a wire running down my back to a power source on my belt. I will advise, however, that if you’re wearing a backpack to consider your placement because the only minor downside is that if you are a taller person sometimes you can accidentally unplug the light from its base if you bend over as I did a few times in the woods. This minor inconvenience is far outweighed by the stellar performance of this light.
The coolest part about the battery pack, with its rechargeable Li-On 18650 batteries, is that you can not only push a button to check the battery level with an indicator light but you can also charge your devices with the built-in USB and Micro USB ports. I do a lot of filming with GoPro cameras and Smart phones as secondary cameras in the field and having a portable charger that doubles as a remarkable light is truly a great addition to any adventure.
While filming in the humid deciduous forests of South Carolina, where I recently used this light, it dwarfed the lights of those with me, illuminated my entire field of view, and lasted the length of my adventure deep into the early morning. The HP30R is a game changer for anyone that spends a lot of time outdoors after dark. When you’re in habitat riddled with vipers, rock outcrops, and uneven terrain this light will become your best friend. It takes the mystery out of where you’re putting your feet and truly turns night into day. If you’re looking for the last headlamp you’ll ever need to buy then look no further than the Fenix HP30R.
Leaping Lizards in the North Carolina Sandhills
Come Join the Adventure as Stan and the Catching Creation team re-visit the North Carolina Sandhills and film several species of lizard, snake, and some frog species. Have you ever seen a legless lizard? What about a spade foot toad? Did you think we'd NOT film snakes while down here? Of course we did! We were able to incorporate drone footage and some stellar close ups of animals as we spend hours in the North Carolina Sandhills. I hope you enjoy our most recent adventure and be sure to share!
Ain't No Copperhead
If you've been following all the news lately on the Catching Creation Instagram and Facebook pages you will be excited to know that today is the day. We are finally done recording "Ain't no Copperhead" hip hop song. It's all about snake identification or rather the misidentification. Every year I get countless tags on social media, texts and frantic messages about people finding copperheads. Nine times out of ten the "copperhead" is one of two harmless snakes; the Dekay's brown snake or the juvenile black racer snake. Both have patterns and in the dim twilight at a hazy wood line I guess I can understand the confusion. This misidentification happens frequently enough that as a team we decided to make this funny song about it. I hope you enjoy it and please share it on all social media platforms! What should we make a song about next? Leave a comment and let us know!
This song was recorded and mixed by Stephen LaVine, filmed and edited by Stan Lake. It was performed by Daniel Charles, Chance Feimster, Thomas LaVine, Stephen LaVine, and Stan Lake. Special thanks to Barry McGee and Deric Cook for dancing their hearts out on a hot summer day for this video!
If you liked this song be sure to check out our other song "Slippy Slimy Salamander" and get your wiggle on as this catchy song lays eggs in your brain.
Thomas LaVine and Stephen LaVine both have lots of amazing stuff going on with their music careers, please take a second and check out their new albums and go follow them on social media!
If you're interested in checking out my documentary called "Hammer Down" about my tour in Iraq and the men I served with you can now do so online for free! We have made the film available over at our film website http://www.hammerdownfilm.com/watch/ so be sure to check it out. It has been many years in the making and specifically the last year and a half of hard work to make this thing a reality. https://vimeo.com/162833061
Woo Hoo! After working on my back yard habitat a bit and mowing tonight I found a beautiful garter snake! Check out the video below. Leave a comment on the video on youtube about all the cool things you're finding in your backyard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbDQRM_dieM
Hey guys, I know I know it's been a minute since I've posted, but don't fret there's going to be lots more coming soon along with updates and all sorts of goodies so hold on to your snake hooks cause it's gonna be gnarly! I decided to make an update video to my video from a while back about my Tegu, Bucky, and basically just checking in and letting everyone know I'm still alive! haha God is good and there are some cool things in the works that I can't wait to share with you. https://youtu.be/HPYfQWUoZQg