Dusty Danis has been an avid hiker for years, but the pandemic put a wrinkle in his routine. Normally he’d invite friends and family on excursions with his wife and daughter, but physical distancing meant they had to hike alone. So he picked up a drone, a GoPro and a new iPhone and started a new ‘COVID hobby,’ making videos of their adventures.
“I’m still learning how to do it all! My first few videos were a little long, and I’ve had to learn to get rid of material even if I think it’s interesting,” he says.
He talked to some of Kitimat’s best photographers to get tips on how to frame shots, and watched online training videos to learn about editing.
“Hiking isn’t the most exciting sport to keep viewers engaged, so I try to spice them up and make each video more entertaining.”
Danis grew up in Kitimat, but says the coolest part of his new hobby is getting to discover a bunch of new places — the more videos he posts, the more recommendations he gets from viewers.
“I’ve lived here for 40 years and there are some really accessible trails I never knew existed.”
He says that’s a common feeling in Kitimat, and he’s hoping his videos will bring more awareness of the beautiful trails that are accessible by car, just a few minutes from town.
“I’m trying to encourage people to get off the asphalt and get their feet a little dirty. There are beautiful sites located just 10 minutes from our doorsteps, but so many people who live here never experience them in person,” Danis says. “The moment you step off the sidewalk it’s a whole new world.”
Viewers have been hungry for more videos and Danis says his wife and daughter love watching them too. But making the videos is more of a solo endeavour.
“Sometimes I give my daughter the GoPro to run around and see the world from her perspective. Most of the time it’s run-and-gun — I’m trying not to slow anyone down so I put the camera on the ground, have the family walk past and then I run back to grab it!”
But Danis says it’s worth the effort, especially to show off the things he loves about his home.
“It’s a beautiful place.”
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