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Archive 2013 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...
  
 
mitesh
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


So I went ahead and bought a kayak today. I had read quite a bit about photographers being more able to get closer to subjects such as waterfowl, and also accessing more remote locations that could present better opportunities than the worn out paths. I'm also quite tired of shooting against the sky and other boring backdrops. I think getting out on the water and getting a lower perspective will help open up some more creative opportunities.

Unfortunately, today has been a very windy, overcast day. I still had to get out there and see what I could do. In short, I had a great time and I think this will be a very enjoyable way to expand my photography. I was able to get very close- too close for 600mm in several cases. That said, I'd love to get some ideas from the experienced kayak photographers on best methods to approach, how they're bracing themselves, etc. Do you find it is best to get to a spot and let the action come to you? How are you protecting your gear in the kayak (dry bags for superteles, etc)?

I had some difficulties with the motion in the kayak throwing me off. For example, in photo #2, movement caused the focus point to move off of the heron's eye and onto his body. This was the reason for most of my deleted shots. Just really looking for any tips that you guys can pass along.

Many thanks in advance!




  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF600mm f/4L IS USM lens    600mm    f/8.0    1/800s    1250 ISO    0.0 EV  






Misfocused

  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF600mm f/4L IS USM lens    600mm    f/8.0    1/2000s    1250 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 5D Mark III    EF600mm f/4L IS USM lens    600mm    f/8.0    1/2500s    1250 ISO    0.0 EV  



Edited on May 18, 2013 at 09:17 PM · View previous versions



May 18, 2013 at 07:57 PM
mpoole
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Firstly, you are off to a great start! I've had a lot of fun with my 7D and 1-400mm in the kayak.
As for a few tips:
When not in use my camera is in a Think Tank Holster bag which is form fitting and provides good protection against bumps and splashes. If there is a long way to travel the bag goes into a dry bag as well. When opportunities may present themselves the camera sits on top of the holster with a micro fibre cloth over top of it to catch splashes and the inevitable paddle drips.
As for bracing , if the water isn't pretty calm I found the keeper rate is low so I don't bother.
I gotta think having the weight of the 600mm at head height must make you a little unstable?



May 18, 2013 at 08:22 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply and input! As far as the lens and stability, I never felt unstable at all. I got a really wide (33") kayak that is made for fishing and sight casting, so I could even stand in it comfortably. It was fine even as I panned and turned my torso with arms and lens extended over the side.

I think I'll take the lens to the outdoors shop to see what kind of dry bag they have that could fit the camera and long lens. I was a bit apprehensive about just having it slung across my chest and resting in my lap.

Thanks again for your input!



May 18, 2013 at 08:39 PM
mpoole
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Check out the backpack rain covers as well, they work great as splash guards and are very reasonably price


May 18, 2013 at 09:04 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


mpoole wrote:
Check out the backpack rain covers as well, they work great as splash guards and are very reasonably price





May 18, 2013 at 09:07 PM
dhb820
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Check out this previous post. I tried going out in the kayak on Thursday and it was not successful. The wind picked up and a few times thought I was going to lose the camera. Maybe time to buy a more appropriate kayak. I would be interested to hear what others have to say also.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1176654/0?keyword=kayak#11216822



May 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Ed Robertson
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1176654 Ed


May 19, 2013 at 12:07 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Thanks, Ed! I had seen that link and it was one of the resources that I read that convinced me to get a kayak!


May 19, 2013 at 12:09 AM
sritri
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


I am thinking of getting one too. Which one did you get Mitesh ? Currently looking at a used model at a local club


May 19, 2013 at 01:39 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



KirkB
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Looks like the Kayak was a very wise investment Mitesh... I so wish I had places in SoCal to go yaking.
The Kayak will give you excellent access to some very nice opportunities... these are a great start.
Well done.

Kirk



May 19, 2013 at 04:56 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Shreeni,

My local kayak shop had a demo day today, so I had the chance to go to a State Park and try out many different kayaks. In the end, I got the Hobie Outback. In general, it is probably overkill for this specific application, but I wanted something that my wife and daughter can enjoy as well. That said, there were a few features that made this model stand out:

1. Hobie's "Mirage drive": basically a very efficient peddling system that frees your hands. The whole peddling unit is modular and you can remove it/install it in seconds. This has the added benefit of being stealthier than paddling, which can cause alarm to the animals (at least when done by a newbie like me).

2. Stability: I tried my hardest to capsize the kayak and I couldn't. Felt very secure getting in and out with the camera. Smooth steering using the rudder.

I liked two other kayaks that were just as stable- Native's Slayer 12 and Wilderness Systems' Ride (135 or 115). If I didn't get the Hobie, I would have gone with the Ride 115. The best thing about that one was a nice wide, flat deck that would be perfect for laying forward for a really low angle shot, or even setting up a tripod.


Edited on May 19, 2013 at 06:42 AM · View previous versions



May 19, 2013 at 04:56 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


KirkB wrote:
Looks like the Kayak was a very wise investment Mitesh... I so wish I had places in SoCal to go yaking.
The Kayak will give you excellent access to some very nice opportunities... these are a great start.
Well done.

Kirk


Thanks, Kirk! Judging by your work, you seem to be doing just fine- even without a kayak!



May 19, 2013 at 06:41 AM
Plinian
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Mitesh, I use a duffle-style dry bag (Watershed yukon); I also have the liner which provides some padding and protection. It is big enough to hold a 600 with the hood on, and it's very easy to get the rig in and out of the bag while on the water. I try to stick to flat water, and will often just leave the rig sitting on top of the bag (maybe covered with a towel to protect against drips).

Another advantage of this dry bag model is that it's just small enough for carry-on baggage; when flying, I often put a big lens in the bag, add a bit of padding, and together with a backpack for a body and small lens, can carry all gear without having to check anything.

You'll love the yak.

Greg



May 19, 2013 at 11:06 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Greg,

Thanks for the great tip on the dry bag! I'm gonna check it out- sounds just like what I am looking for!



May 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM
surfnron
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


For those who haven't bought a kayak yet, I highly recommend trying a few out before buying. Some people just don't like yaks,

I have been buying and selling used kayaks for years - constantly upgrading as the opportunity arose. I used craigs list until I was ready to buy my "last" yak. I wound up with a Hurricane Expedition Sport and it only cost me $50 out of pocket. It's a great yak with a large cockpit. It's very easy to get to your gear. And it's lighter than other similarly sized yaks in the same class.

I paddle around looking for subjects, but will stop occasionally if I hear something interesting in the area. I also try to avoid paddling directly towards a subject. Acting like you are going by doesn't seem to spook subjects as much.

Good luck, and keep us posted ~ Ron




May 19, 2013 at 09:21 PM
mitesh
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Ron,

Thanks for taking the time to give such great input!



May 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM
mackerrow
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Looking for tips from kayak shooters...


Plinian,

I have a Watershed Yukon and a Watershed Colorado duffle bags. I find that I cannot fit my Canon 5D body and a Canon 600 mm lens with the hood on it into the Yukon. I am assuming you take the lens off the body each time you put the lens in the Yukon dry bag? The Colorado will fit the lens and body assembled, however it is huge on my packraft.

Using a 600 mm setup from an Alpacka Denali Lama packraft is my goal, however, the more I research things I think that I may have to keep the camera gear sealed up and stowed in a dry bag and then used when on the shore.

Suggestions or comments welcome.

Thanks



Jun 08, 2014 at 04:45 AM





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