[Many thanks to Bob "Elderbob" Brannan for permission to re-post his email here.]

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Posted by: "Elderbob" elderbob@gmail.com coachelderbob

Originally posted to the EVONLINE2002_WEBHEADS elist as
Re: Sail Round Britain [message 18989]

Tue May 27, 2008 5:33 pm (PDT)


A few years ago, I did a very similar blog [to Sail Round Britain] to document the travels of a
re-enactment of Texas Cattle Drive. We started out in the southern part of
Texas and literally traversed the same trail that the cattle drives had used
almost 125 years before. Only this time, the participants were folks that
road horses and rode and horse drawn wagons. It presented several of the
same type of problems that I suspect that you are going to encounter.
Originally, I had hoped to be able to take photos and audio blog the trip
from horse back. The first obstacle was one of training. Cell phone
technology had dramatically improved and folks who were cowboys on horses
did not know so much about the technology. So I selected one or two
spokespeople to be in charge of the phones. My idea was, that they could
sort of direct what might get onto the blog. They could sort of interview
folks and put that audio on the blog...wrong. ...they had so much to do with
the ordinary workings of the trail drive (which is similar to moving an
entire small town down the road thirty miles, every day for 90 days...too
much to do. So in the end, I settle for one of those folks taking photos
from the cell phone and emailing them back to my permanent PC at home. Then
I would doctor the photos if needed and post them to the blog with a running
narrative. I also learned that it was interesting to readers if I posted
information from the net about the agenda for each day. So each day, I
tried to have a number of internet links that were good stories about the
area the trail riders were going through. I had envisioned daily interviews
that would be audioblogged to the blog each day. That disappeared in the
first week or so, when we found out that much of the country we were passing
through was not going to have cellular coverage. So instead, I would visit
with the actual trail riders on the weekends, record as much video and
audio as I could and then post it every few days as an entry onto the blog.
I also learned that I could interview people with special knowledge about
what we were doing or the area we were in, or the concept of cattle drives
over the phone from my home. In both cases, I could record the
conversations, then digitize them and upload them to a website that was
linkable to the blog. So in some cases, I had as much as a one and one-half
hour interview on the introduction of Spanish Cattle into the American
Southwest and Mexico. This turned out to be an excellent work around.

In the end, the blog was no where near the concept that it started
with....but it was an excellent learning experience that few will ever
know. It has been several years now, and the audio segments have finally
been lost (had I known, I would have saved them to Google or somewhere that
is more likely to last more than just a few years, and also archive a copy
on disc at home), and I still get the occasional email about something we
did or someplace we went, or from someone who is thinking about visiting one
of the places we went, or some other reason. I recently decided to expand
the blog to cover visits to place that are significant to Texas History.
Right now, I am revising my old website (which got hijacked a couple of
months ago), to handle new blog content. I will continue much of the same
format, and on the same blog.

So, some suggestions based on what you have answered.

- Take tons of photos. The more you take, the better you can put on your
blog. My rule of thumb is to take five photos for every thing you want one
picture of. Get different angles and different lights if possible, but get
lots of photos. Don't worry about using a photo editor to spiff up a
photo. Color correction or changing the lightness/darkness on a photo will
simply add to it's viewability on the web. Load your finished photos to an
off-PC site that is likely to last a while. I love Flickr, and more than
likely you can use the free Flickr service without going over your limit.
You may prefer another off-site photo service....virtuall y any will do.
Save a copy of all your photos to a disc - saving after editing will often
save you time (you won't have to re-edit them if you use them again
elsewhere). Finally, link to the photo from the blog. It takes much less
time for your blog to load if you don't have to reload all the photos each
time the blog comes up. Also, it makes the photos appear more quickly.
Instead of loading 10 photos one at a time from othe blog, you are now
loading 10 photos at once from links.
- Do a ton of audio. Hopefully you have time to get a digital recorder
to your group of seafarers. Let them keep a daily log of their adventure.
Encourage everyone to make a statement every day. You can either post the
raw audio or even better, edit out the good and lose the bad. Use Audacity
to cut and splice and to clean up your sound. Find a audioblog or
podcasting service that is free but does not limit your time or be prepared
to break long podcast into smaller edible chunks. Again, record onto a disc
and save your interviews to someplace they are likely to reside for awhile.
The Internet Archive is a good spot to do this. Consider the possibility of
finding experts in the sea going field and interviewing them yourself from
home. Digitize, edit and post these interviews. These are very helpful to
the reader in finding out what is going on.
- Maps. A daily map is wonderful and can be linked from Google (infact
Google will read point on a map and show you this on a map). Google also
has links so that you do not have to post a picture of the map on the blog,
but you can link to it.
- Video - if you can take video, it is awesome. You can always switch
out a disc or tape at the next F2F point. Then take it home, edit it and
put it on YouTube. From YouTube you diriect link it to the blog or actually
stream it to the blog without having to eat up your hard drive.
- Ship to shore telephony... not quite sure how this works, but contact
someone to see if you can save or record these conversations. I think these
would make an awesome addition to your experience. Again, anything that can
be recorded and digitized can be posted to your blog.

Finally, I want to re-iterate what great potential this trip contains. I am
super jealous of you and your co-horts and am really looking forward to
reading more.

If I can be of help in any further way, please let me know.