Guide to photographing wildlife from the comfort of your kayak
Taking pictures of magical moving wildlife is often difficult enough as it is, and when you factor in the unsteady and unpredictable ways of the water, this is not a task for the impatient. It takes a lot of skill, preparation and determination to photograph wildlife whilst in the water, however it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Here are just a few of the things you might like to consider before heading out on your next kayaking adventure:
Prepare your gear
You’ll want to put substantial preparations in place before heading anywhere near the water with your expensive equipment, whether you dress your camera in a professional rain suit, or opt for a rain sleeve, even a little bit of extra protection can go a long way. In the water there is risk of the camera being fully submerged, but also it is left to the mercy of the raindrops and splashes, which could ultimately prove fatal for your beloved piece of technology. Also consider bringing one of our dry bags for the times when your camera is out of use, this will give you a little extra peace of mind whilst on your journey.
You should certainly consider attaching a camera strap to your piece of kit, if the waves are unexpectedly choppy or you suddenly lose your grip you will be thankful for that cord that has just saved the life of your camera. A simple step that can save you from a whole lot of stress in the long run so just be sure to secure it!
Picking a subject
The first time you head out, you will probably be frantically searching for the perfect creature for your shot, take a mental note of everything that you see around and be sure to revisit that spot in the future. Learning a little about the habits of a creature you wish to photograph may take a little time, but will definitely prove rewarding in the end. This will equip you with the signs that you will need to look for to follow your fellow creature, enabling you to catch them in that picture perfect environment.
Take your time
As with most missions, they take a lot of time. You may have to wait a while to find the balance of background, foreground and subject, combined with the correct lighting and optimum positioning. But you must not rush these things, particularly when wildlife is involved as it can be easily scared off by the smallest sounds and movements. You must be careful to be respectful of the environment which surrounds you and take care of the wildlife so that they can really be ready for that stunning image. You may also need to use a tripod to secure your camera whilst you wait, ensuring that when the moment you’ve been waiting for arrives you are fully prepared to subtly snap away. Patience is a virtue.
Be aware at all times
The most important aspect of being successful in photographing wildlife in the water is to be aware at all times; aware of yourself, your kit, your kayak and all that surrounds you. This is particularly important when you decide to stand up within your vessel, as uneven weight distribution at the wrong moment could prove to be a fatal error, leading both you and your kit into watery despair. So you must ensure that you are very aware of your own balance 100% of the time.