Chronicling capers on camera while ATVing on Vancouver Island’s endless canvas

How to film your ATVing journey with style


Al Ramey stands next to his 2013 Honda Rubicon on top of a mountain overlooking a valley.

Al Ramey, a recently retired police officer, rides his 2013 Honda Rubicon all over Vancouver Island. — Photo courtesy K. Yantz

Every ATVer has their favourite places to go riding. Sometimes, convincing others that they need to come out and go for a rip on their favourite patch of dirt is a challenge. For some avid ATVers with productions skills, they can show their buddies how stellar their trails are without ever hopping off the couch.

Al Ramey, vice-president of the Mid-Island ATV Club on Vancouver Island, is one of those dedicated riders. He submitted his video of a “Lakes and Lookouts” ride near Nanaimo into the My Favourite BC Trail Video Contest 2019 put on by ATVBC.

“Seemed to be the perfect ride to record,” Ramey said. “I set the GoPro up alternately on my helmet and the machine and recorded footage. I showed some flat, hilly roads, trails, bush, open, fast and slow terrain. Video of the hillclimb never gives you the true feel of just how steep that hill was.

“I’m no videographer and only had Windows Editor at my disposal. I took the several hours of video I had and started cutting out bits and tried to highlight the ‘average’ ride, if that’s possible. The editing took eight hours over several days, but that’s me.”

An endless canvas

In the Ladysmith and Nanaimo region—the mid-Island—riders are surrounded by unlimited forests and trails. The roads, trails and skidder-tracks provide riders with limitless riding.

“I’ve been on hundreds of rides and don’t think I’ve done the same ride twice,” said Ramey. “My favourite rides are circuits, where you don’t have to backtrack. I like long distances and we have that!”

Al Ramey wears an ATV helmet and eyewear while looking into the camera. A green expanse of land is seen behind him.

Al Ramey loves showing off the excellent trails around Ladysmith and Nanaimo. He recommends carrying a SPOT or Garmin InReach while exploring. — Photo courtesy K. Yantz

One of Ramey’s favourite outings happened on a two-kilometre ride into the Yellow Creek Mine outside of Port Alberni. It turned out to be a little creepy—in a good way.

“You ride right into a dark hard-rock mine shaft,” he said. “It’s pitch black and eerie, but there’s lots of room for the machines and spots to turn around. It’s very different from anything I’ve experienced before on an ATV.”

Ramey is a natural adventurer. He enjoys scouting trails and using the machines for hunting, fishing and getting away from it all.

“I love the freedom that an ORV gives you,” Ramey said. “You can eat up the miles and get to where you want to go. If you don’t have anywhere in mind, you’ll find it nonetheless. I’ve heard folks say that ‘you can’t get there from here.’ On an ATV, you can.”

Tips to become an ATVing YouTuber:

If you’d like to document your ATVing journeys like Ramey, take his tips and you’ll be a (Go)pro in no time.

“I looked at a few options and actually communicated with some YouTube content providers to get their input,” said Ramey. “For the average guy like me, a GoPro 7 Black is entirely sufficient. The image stabilization is crazy good. When the GoPro is on your helmet, the background remains stable and your helmet seems to move around—it’s awesome! 

“During a ride, it’s hard to catch those awesome moments when someone catches some air or manages to get through a wicked obstacle—or not. So if I have an inkling that there might be something good, I just let the camera run.”

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