Will of More Than Just Parks emailed me in October to share the first short film he created with his brother to document the 59 U.S. National Parks. Will and Jim spent a month backpacking and exploring Olympic National Park and what they captured is beautiful…I cannot wait to get back to Olympic NP to see more of the park!

Today, I am interviewing Jim of More Than Just Parks to learn more about the project and to get some tips on shooting video outdoors.

Tips for Shooting Video Outdoors with More Than Just Parks on Campfire Chic

Jim, can you tell me more about your project, More Than Just Parks, and why you decided to make short films of the parks?

My brother and I are, believe it or not, from Georgia, born and raised. We didn’t see a national park until just four years ago, when we took a trip out west to see the Grand Canyon with a few friends. Ever since that trip out west, what seems like ages ago, we have been hooked on the national parks.

More Than Just Parks is an effort to bring all 59 national parks to everyone through stunning visual media. Our goal is to build a greater awareness for the national treasures that reside in our own backyard. My brother and I are media professionals who have had a passion for film since an early age. We have a strong belief in the power of visual imagery, especially where some of the most beautiful places on the planet are concerned – our national parks.

You spent a month in Olympic National Park to create this short film. Why Olympic and how did you plan for such an extensive trip?

It surprises me how little planning went into our trip to Olympic National Park. We had this idea for More Than Just Parks and figured we would go for it while we had some free time. We chose Olympic as our first park in the series after coming across some breathtaking Instagram photos of the park and subsequently reading about it on the NPS website. We then looked at different blog entries covering the park in an effort to find the best spots to film and gain a better understanding of what people loved about it. After that we researched the gear that we needed and booked our flights.

We chose Olympic National Park because of it’s incredibly rich diversity. It’s glacial mountain peaks, lush rain forests, alpine meadows, high-altitude lakes, wild rivers, wilderness coast, and teeming wildlife were all the excuse we needed. Also, we had never been to the pacific northwest and wanted to get out to that part of the country and experience it.

We arrived in Seattle at the end of July and stayed in Olympic until the end of August. We started in the Staircase region and slowly worked all the way around the park ending up back where we began. Having never been to  Washington before, or even the pacific northwest, we were awed by the amount of evergreens and how enormous they were. After the first two weeks of incredible weather, we eventually got our fair share rain. I have to say, being in a rainforest while it’s raining is a very cool experience. It’s amazing how it brings out all of the forest’s natural color. After having spent a month in Olympic National Park you would have thought we would’ve gotten plenty of shots of the stars, but it was actually very difficult to obtain those shots. The reason it was so difficult was because of the near-constant fog and moisture in the air. Our lenses, and the lenses of other photographers we met trying to capture the night sky, kept fogging up! So you may notice that the night sky we managed to capture was mostly in high altitude areas where there is little to no moisture in the air. Being in Olympic for a month was an incredible experience – we met so many wonderful people, saw so many incredible things – it was truly life-changing. I find the expression “you may leave the places you go, but they never leave you” to be very true.

You were able to capture beautiful images from all over the Park. What are three tips you have for shooting video outdoors?

Shooting video outdoors can be really fun. Attempting to capture the wonders you see and bring it to people who may never get a chance to see it for themselves is an amazing and rewarding experience.

  1. My first tip is lighting. We have never run into a more challenging exposure situations than the ones we were presented with in the rain forests of Olympic National Park, especially the Hoh Rainforest. Too many of our shots were unusable because of over-exposed pockets of sunlight that kept creeping through time-lapses. Be weary of these pockets when shooting in forests with dense canopies and keep those exposures low.
  2. My second tip is preparedness. My brother and I were boy scouts and are very familiar with the saying – always be prepared. When you’re filming outdoors in an environment that you can’t control it’s important to always be prepared. You never know when someone is going to trip and fall, or when a piece of equipment is going to get lost/broken, or when the weather might turn, so try to be as prepared as possible – you won’t regret it.
  3. My third tip is to enjoy yourself. Remember why you’re filming in the first place and don’t let the work consume you. It’s very easy sometimes to get caught up in it when something isn’t working or a shot just doesn’t look quite right and forget why you’re out there. Don’t let it happen. Make sure to take in the sights and sounds without looking through a viewfinder, you’ll regret it if you don’t.

You obviously took camera equipment with you to create this film, but what is the 1 piece of gear that goes with you on all of  your adventures?

Great question. I thought about this one and my answer might seem a little lame, but bear with me. It would have to be my iPhone. I say that because of the camera on the iPhone just amazes me. The pictures I’m able to take on it blow me away. I love being able to catalog and capture the places I travel with something as simple as my phone. Check out our Instagram accounts – @morethanjustparks @jimpattiz @willpattiz

It sounds like you have a bit of traveling ahead of you. How can folks connect with you online?

I want to make it very clear to anyone who likes our video or likes what we’re doing – Please, email us! We love hearing from you, it reaffirms everything that we’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you just want to tell us you liked the video or if you want to find a way to get involved – send us an email and we’ll be happy to respond. You can click on our contact link on our website or send an email. Also sign up for email updates on our website, its easy and we won’t spam you because we hate that too. We’ll keep you updated with our latest projects and make sure you’re in the loop on everything More Than Just Parks. Vimeo – Facebook – Instagram - Twitter

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in Adventure, National Parks, Photography

This giveaway is made possible thanks to EarthEasy.com, Sawyer, and Keen Footwear. I own each of these items and would not be offering them as giveaway items if I did not believe Campfire Chic readers would benefit from them. Thanks to these generous brands, there will be THREE winners for this giveaway. Winners will get one adventure prize pack, which are described below.

Get ready for your winter and spring adventures
with these great Adventure Packs!  

LifeStraw Go Sportsbottle and LuminAID Lantern Review and Giveaway on Campfire Chic

LifeStraw Go lets you fill a bottle with water to be filtered instead of remembering to bring a bottle or crouching over a stream or lake to get water. The filter is built into the water bottle, which makes this system very simple to use. I used the LuminAid Solar Lantern while beach camping (you can read more about my thoughts on this great lantern here) and fully intend on bringing it on future camping trips and I’m planning on picking up some for stocking stuffers for a few friends and family.

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration and Keen Socks Giveaway on Campfire Chic

I came across the Sawyer Mini while at Outdoor Retailer and chatted with the representatives for a long time about different filtration options. This inexpensive option seemed like a great product to introduce Campfire Chic readers to because it is versatile and lightweight. I like that I can attach it to a regular water bottle, in conjunction with the straw of my water reservoir I use when hiking, or as a straw directly in the source (like the original LifeStraw below). Keen makes my favorite hiking socks…what more can I say? I wore a pair of the Olympus Crew socks during a comic convention last weekend and I was comfortable the entire day.

LifeStraw Personal Filter and Keen Socks Giveaway from Campfire Chic

The original LifeStraw is a lightweight and inexpensive option for folks looking for something that they can use right at the source. For every LifeStraw sold, the company provides clean water to a child in Africa for a school year.  The winner of the LifeStraw will also receive a Keen sock card. I love the  1/4 cut Olympus Lite Crew, personally…the seam goes under your toes so you don’t get any hot spots on top of your foot. I know regular socks give me a hot spot (and sometimes a blister) on my little toe. These are great socks.


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in Gear Review, Giveaway

Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web

Happy Halloween! Even though the weather is in the low 80*s this week, it feels like Fall. It isn’t fully dark by the time I get out of work, which is nice, and I’m waking up before sunrise, which feels extra rough when you’re not on your way to the airport for a vacation or piling into the car for a bit trip. I had a great phone conversation on Tuesday that is helping me get over my imposter syndrome and my favorite work thing (Halloween event for 100 trick-or-treaters from United Way) was on Wednesday and I dressed up as Poison Ivy!


This week’s Essential Reading:

  • Rintu’s current favorite thing to do is sit and watch all of the videos on Maru the Cat’s YouTube channel. He also got his head stuck in a bag of potato chips the other day and I’m more upset that I didn’t move fast enough that I didn’t get a photo than I am with the spilled chips (and obviously terrible kitteh-mama skills of mine)
  • I’m in the somewhat constant process of purging a lot of things that seem to accumulate all of a sudden…piles of junk mail and things to be shredded, magazines, small handwritten reminders, clothes that never get put away…and I came across this reminder from Apartment Therapy about the 7 things you may forget to clean so of course I’m now purging and deep cleaning like a madwoman
  • Katie’s camping mini-album is rad and Kelly’s Project Life pages with photos from her Palm Springs trip has me itching to get out of town
  • Blogger networking that doesn’t suck your energy
  • Follow your passion (even if you don’t make money from it!) and thank your supporters
  • Build your creative tribe


in Essential Reading

Catch Up With Project Life From Big Picture Classes - Campfire Chic


I’m over 10 weeks behind in my Project Life layouts…can I still call myself a Project Lifer at this point? Of course I can because I’m determined to finish! I want to get caught up before I start working on my December Daily album and that means I need to get caught up ASAP.

Enter: Catch Up with Project Life

Catch Up with Project Life is a 3-week online guided workshop hosted by Megan Anderson, Annette Haring, and Trisha Harrison. I’m really looking forward to the class challenges and seeing the inspirational layouts from the teachers and other participants in the gallery. I know it’s a little voyeristic, but I love seeing Project Life layouts (and any scrapbook layouts or albums for that matter!) that people share online, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what others come up with for this workshop.

My Plan for Catch Up with Project Life

  • Order photos early
  • Stock up on a few basic supplies (adhesive, small sticky notes, etc.)
  • Shop my stash
  • Take notes along the way (what works for me? am I clinging to unrealistic expectations?)
  • Share my layouts
  • Complete the challenges!

Can I tell you a secret? I am contributing to a BIG event at the end of the workshop and you’ll be able to see my take on one of the challenges! If you’re a long-time Campfire Chic reader, you’re going to think, “of course!” when you see my participation and hopefully it will remind you to kick some ass with your own projects.

If you’re in need of some motivation to get caught up with your Project Life album(s) or if you’re just starting out and want to see what others are doing with their projects, you can register here. The class starts tomorrow and there are already some pre-class goodies up in the classroom that you’ll want to check out

BONUS: I am giving away one seat in the class on my Instagram. Check this photo for info on how to enter. Giveaway ends tonight (10/29) at 10:00 pm Pacific, so don’t delay. Feel free to tag a friend in that post if you think s/he would be interested.

This post includes affiliate links to Big Picture Classes. I will receive a small commission for sales made through these links. 

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in Project Life, Scrapbooking

Beat your Blogging Funk with the Spark Ecourse from Campfire Chic

It’s 9:40 p.m. on Sunday night and my plan for this week’s blog posts is getting thrown out the window. I love that I designed my editorial calendar to be flexible so I can change things at the last minute without worrying about sticking to a particular schedule. My preoccupation with the perfect editorial calendar was a hangup I dropped earlier this year because it’s not worth getting worked up over something like what posts will be published when on this site.

Worrying leads to stress and stress leads to burning out. 

I’m not into blogger burnout. In fact, I have a 30 day email-based course on how to shake that blogger blahs and rekindle your passion for blogging. Today, I am sharing a few tips for beating your blogging funk because this last quarter of the calendar year is a typical time to feel over-extended.

3 Ways to Beat Your Blogging Funk

Strike when the iron is hot

As somebody who has a 9-to-5 job I understand that fitting blogging into your busy schedule can be tricky. You have social engagements, volunteer duties, family obligations, and self-care to think about! I tried getting up early to write and answer emails for Campfire Chic before work. I figured it would be a good way for me to do something for myself before heading off to the office to make photocopies and validate parking while also freeing up my evenings to binge on Netflix and scrapbook. I’m not a morning person and my creative juices just aren’t flowing before the sun is up so my experiment in trying to form a habit that didn’t fit into my style was a failure. I would get to my computer with sleep still in my eyes, feel extra grumpy that it was dark outside and I was staring at a computer screen already, and have no idea what to do with myself. I decided to go back to working when I know I can be a badass — 7 p.m. to midnight. It sure sounds like dumb hours and probably isn’t healthy for me in the long run, but I so much more productive during those times that I am in the morning or even mid-afternoon.

Find the time of the day that works best for you and get to work! If you find that quiet Saturday mornings are your jam, set your coffee maker to start brewing before you get up so you can plop down with your laptop and a cup of steaming coffee to enjoy your morning to yourself. If you work best after doing the dishes (yes, it’s a thing) then go do the dishes and tackle your project. Avoid working when you don’t feel creative or productive because you need your those juices to be flowing to enjoy the process.

Scale back

If somebody tells you that to be a great blogger you need to publish posts multiple times a day, have a rockin’ mailing list, and a prolific YouTube channel, go ahead and ignore them. You only have so much time and energy to dedicate to what you do and I’m sure I can find examples of great bloggers who post a handful of times a month and aren’t on YouTube. Scale back on the number of social media sites you’re on if you don’t truly like those platforms. Not everybody likes Facebook. Some people can’t get into the fast-paced groove of Twitter.

If you are trying to post 7 days a week, scale back to only weekdays or even just a handful of days a week. I started out posting irregularly — between 7 and 15 times a week. It was madness and didn’t result in amazing content. I gradually reduced my editorial calendar to 3 days a week and it’s amazing. Find the schedule that works for you and ignore the folks that say you have to publish a certain amount of posts each week.

Step Up

If things still don’t feel right after finding your working groove and scaling back a bit, brainstorm some ways you can step up and become a more involved member of your online community. Now that I’m writing fewer posts per week for my own site, I am able to step up my guest blogging. You could start engaging with others on message boards, participating in Twitter chats, or collaborating on projects with others now that you’re not stressing about your editorial calendar and unfinished projects.

Campfire Chic Shop - Blogging Jumpstart Ecourse to Find Your Spark

Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo


in Better Blogging

Essential Reading Posts from Campfire Chic - Articles, Blog Posts, and Videos from Around the Web


No pressure or anything, but there are less than 70 days left in 2014.

That’s only a few weeks left to finish projects…but I’m okay with that because that permission I gave myself a few weeks ago is going pretty strong. I recently gave myself permission to go to bed early instead of working on a new landing page. I gave myself permission to spend a little longer at the climbing gym than I originally planned instead of getting home to vacuum during a decent hour (I hate being that neighbor who thinks it’s ok to vacuum at 9:00 pm). Telling myself that it’s ok for me to take more time for myself rather than crossing things off of my to do list has been great. It’s also keeping me motivated to work on projects instead of getting burned out from forcing myself to work on a project when I know I could be doing something else.

So give yourself permission to spend a little more time on yourself this weekend.

This week’s Essential Reading:

P.S. If you’re hoping to get a ton of blog posts done before you head out on vacation or to get a jump on the craziness of the holidays, my simple iOS app Write365 can help. It contains about 400 writing prompts that are perfect for your next blog post. Find it here.


in Essential Reading

The September 2014 edition of 30 Days of Lists ended on September 30th. It was a great round of lists and the new Listers really jumped into the challenge head first. The returning Listers (some have been participating since March 2011!) seemed to enjoy the challenge, as well. It’s a nice warmup for the creative projects that seem to pop up during Fall and Winter!

My lists from the September 2014 #30Lists challenge:

30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 1 - 5 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 6 - 15 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 16 - 25 by Campfire Chic
30 Days of Lists September 2014 - Lists 26 - 30 by Campfire Chic


I shared most of the things I used in my album in this post, but I added a handful of embellishments from a Freckled Fawn monthly kit. It was my first kit from Freckled Fawn and I adored everything that came in the kit. In fact, placed an order for the Very Merry Embellishment kit from Freckled Fawn in the middle of writing this post (I added red doilies, gold glitter washi, and some red arrows to my purchase…all of which can be found here).

While working with the smaller sized pockets was fun and interesting, it’s probably not something I’ll do again. Pockets are nice and the look was cohesive throughout the project, but the tiny space wasn’t jelling with my usually giant handwriting. I think I’ll switch to a different format for future projects like this.

If you’re interested in getting updates about future challenges, subscribe to the 30 Days of Lists mailing list.


in 30 Days of Lists, What I Made