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Kayak advice requested!
  
 
dorian
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Kayak advice requested!


Hi FMers

Well, I just this week moved from LA top San Mateo (just south of SF), and, as I now have easy access to both SF Bay and Half Moon Bay, I'm thinking about getting an inflatable kayak from which to shoot. I have just started the research process but figured I'd here source what information I could as I know at least a few of you have shot from kayaks with great success in the past. I also have no idea how a person keeps the rig handy while paddling, so technique advice is also welcome. Thank you in advance for your help!

Cheers

Dorian



May 15, 2017 at 03:10 AM
KirkB
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Kayak advice requested!


^ Bump ^

Sorry Dorian, I have no experience... but am so jealous of those who have access to birds in kayaks. Hopefully the bump will cause the kayakers to advise you.



May 17, 2017 at 07:45 PM
kwilliam8
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Kayak advice requested!


Dorian,
I just started recreational kayaking one year ago, mainly for bird photography in some local waterways. So, I am no expert. I bought a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120 recreational kayak, largely based on advice in this forum. It is not an inflatable kayak. It is a very stable sit-inside kayak. As far as keeping photography equipment safe and handy... First off, I have insurance for the gear that I take out. Secondly, I use a relatively short lens (Nikon 300mm f/4 PF) on a crop body (Nikon D500). That lens and body fit nicely a dry bag, which I keep between my legs in the large sized cockpit of the Pungo 120. That dry bag is sealed when I know I will not be doing any photography. When photography is a possibility, I have the camera and lens in the dry bag, but have the bag open. For awhile last year, I tried using the lightweight OpTech plastic bags to protect my camera/lens, especially when I was in salt water. Eventually, I stopped using those bags - they didn't really help much, and they made viewing the LCD difficult. I think everyone has a different approach, especially if you use longer, heavier, telephoto lenses. Finally, here is a relevant FM thread that might help you:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1402103/0
Good luck and have fun!
Keith W.



May 17, 2017 at 08:04 PM
surfnron
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Kayak advice requested!


Hi Dorian - I have been 'yakking 10 + years, and shooting from my yak almost from the beginning. However, I have not done any ocean paddling nor have I used an inflatable yak. I suggest getting a dry bag or two to keep your shooting gear in. You cannot quickly retrieve your gear from a dry bag, but it will keep it dry. I keep the rest of my gear in a Pelican case. Keep the case closed and latched except when retrieving/replacing gear from it. It wouldn't hurt to tie the case to the yak - just in case. Take the yak out a time or two so you will feel comfortable in it before taking your gear with you.
In quiet water I just put a towel on the bottom and cover my gear with another towel. Make sure your gear is stored when getting in and out of the yak. The only time I have gotten any gear wet was when I slipped getting out of the yak.

Good luck and have fun ~ Ron



May 18, 2017 at 11:02 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Kayak advice requested!


I got my kayak last year and I've been doing some tame ocean kayaking for a number of years when I visit relatives on Vancouver Island. At home I'm just going on lakes that are fairly calm.

I bought this kayak as it is stable and light enough for me to lift on and off my SUV. https://www.wildernesssystems.com/us/products/pungo-120

I don't have much experience with inflatable kayaks although I have been in them as my brother-in-law had a couple from Canadian Tire and they worked okay but I didn't photograph from them.

I will give you some ideas of what I do with technique...
1) I usually try to limit myself to one camera and one lens (although I have brought multiple bodies and lenses at times but it is a hassle)
2) I have a small dry bag that I put the camera lens in for when I'm launching and ending the session. But when I'm out on the water I keep a towel between my legs and keep the camera/lens on the towel between my legs. If the wind is up I just keep the towel over the camera lens to prevent too much splashing on to it.
3) By doing this I have the camera ready to pick up instantly. I rest the paddle across the kayak against my chest/waist and pick up the camera and start shooting.
4) I think you can get some paddle clips to clip in the paddle along the side which may or may not be better than my way...but my way is quick but of course you do risk the paddle losing balance and falling in as you rapidly pan that flying duck
5) My kayak is very stable and also sold with fishing attachments. I stood up in it a couple times last year to "relieve" myself when I wasn't close to shore and I didn't tip

I'm sure some are much more careful than I am but so far I've had no issues. I do the same thing when in the ocean kayaks on the island (minus the standing up part). I've used 100-400II, 200-500, 300/2.8 and 400DOII all with success in the kayak. I tried the 200-400 once but that was heavy and annoying to handhold and lift up all the time. I haven't tried (nor plan to try) the 600II



May 18, 2017 at 11:49 PM
tfoltz
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Kayak advice requested!


Hey Dorian, seek out Tim Kuhn he's on the forum he's the best guy I know of for advice on this.
Tell him I referred you.

-Tim



May 19, 2017 at 12:48 AM
mikedec
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Kayak advice requested!


Hoping to get mine out soon. I use it a little differently than others. You sit on top and pedal with your feet. It is an inflatable Hobie i9.

I lay down on my back or side and set the lens foot on the kayak.

It works for me.



May 19, 2017 at 02:56 AM
mitesh
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Kayak advice requested!


I have a Hobie kayak as well, the "Mirage" model, that like Mike's i9, can be pedaled as well as paddled. You have a lot of good tips above, so there really isn't much that I can add.

What I would suggest is that you should see if there's an outfitter that allows a try-before-you-buy opportunity to use the kayak. My local outfitter usually has a couple days each year where they bring dozens of kayaks to a local park and allow people to try them out. You want to be sure that the kayak is as stable as possible so that you don't become unbalanced or tip over if you shift your weight or move around in the kayak. A sit-on-top will give you some more flexibility in positioning yourself for good, low angles. I also believe they might generally be more stable than sit-in. I liked getting to a good spot, reclining my seat all the way down, and then lying prone and shooting off the side/stern of the kayak to get as low as possible.

A good dry bag is important, as noted, and try to get a PFD that has pockets to keep stuff like an extra battery, memory card, or Extender. You want to avoid fumbling around, if you can.

My first time out, I went without my camera, just to get a feel for the kayak and how it responded to my movements in the seat (try panning, adjusting your seat, shifting onto your side or into a prone position, etc). Once you've got a feel for the stability of the kayak, you'll be more comfortable knowing what you can and can't safely do.

I shot the old 600/4 IS and the 800/5.6 handheld from the 'yak, so if I could do it, then it's definitely not that big of a deal.



May 19, 2017 at 03:20 AM
MedicineMan404
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Kayak advice requested!


I collect kayaks, have been paddling/paddle camping for 35years.
Here's a few of my boats at the cabin, we have 6 more in the city not counting
several Feathercrafts lying about.
?zz=1">Kayak Flower by MedicineMan4040, on Flickr
Pick a boat for a purpose eh
For kayak wildlife photography I'd recommend a sit on top if you plan to use a monopod or tripod. Better yet don't use either of them and pick camera gear you can wield because shooting from a kayak does have limitations especially if you are in moving water/current.
Think carefully about what you're willing to loose/insurance for water mishaps.
I'd def. start in calm water before moving to water with speed.
Here's a bird taken with a 'sacrificial' body, my GX8...this was in a flowing river about 6 miles per hour...I'm not taking a 1DXii/500 or the likes on trips like this (4 days paddle camping didn't really give me room for big camera kit anyway)-
from the kayak by MedicineMan4040, on Flickr
Here's another one is an even fast flowing river. I had one hand on a limb holding me and the kayak semi stable while I nabbed the serpent-
Broadside Water Serpent by MedicineMan4040, on Flickr
Inflattable? Not my choice. I'd even stay way from a Feathercraft if I had a lot of money in the camera kit; me just thinking a hardshell would give insurance on oyster shells and the like.
What I use for kayak photogrphy is this boat-
Noble craft on Fontana GSMNP by MedicineMan4040, on Flickr
I agree the pedal powered Hobbies are an even better choice but these Eddylines aren't bad. Poof and I have his-n-hers and love them because I can twist sideways, have my feet/calves dangling in the water and I'm perfectly stable...it just takes a lot to turn it over and something like a LensCoat Lens Blind can work well with it.....harder to do with a sit in kayak. But I wouldn't take this sit on top out in the ocean.
Well I've paddle/paddle camped over 4000 miles in my time on the water. If you have specific questions I can always add an opinion.




May 19, 2017 at 03:31 AM
 

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dorian
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Kayak advice requested!


Wow! Kirk's bump worked wonders!

Thank you all for the advice, this is helpful. I need to et an inflatable as I am not a homeowner and is not something my small urban apartment can accommodate! I also don't have lake access right out back and will need to drive the thing somewhere to get it in the water.

I hand't though about the dry bag. I have a nice one from years ago that I can certainly press into service, so that was some really good advice!




May 20, 2017 at 01:29 AM
surfnron
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Kayak advice requested!


dorian wrote:
Wow! Kirk's bump worked wonders!


Sorry Dorian but Geoff, Mitesh, and I just got back from FL...

Ron



May 20, 2017 at 01:52 AM
MedicineMan404
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Kayak advice requested!


Dorian do look at the folding kayaks. Feathercraft is now out of business, I think same of Folboat, but e-bay might have something for you. Folders will fit in your closet. I've flown a couple to various parks. Just a thought.


May 20, 2017 at 02:46 AM
mogul
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Kayak advice requested!


Instead of a kayak, why not look for something with more stability. My 10.5 pontoon boat weighs 65lbs., is comfortable and can be rowed or mounted with an electric motor or gas. Breaks down to fit in the trunk and only takes a couple of minutes to blow up. It is designed for running white water, so is really tough, though much more expensive than the Costco models. It also has a wheel for dragging.


May 20, 2017 at 04:08 AM
mogul
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Kayak advice requested!


Instead of a kayak, why not look for something with more stability. My 10.5 pontoon boat weighs 65lbs., is comfortable and can be rowed or mounted with an electric motor or gas. Breaks down to fit in the trunk and only takes a couple of minutes to blow up. It is designed for running white water, so is really tough, though much more expensive than the Costco models. It also has a wheel for dragging. http://www.davescaddenpaddlesports.com/


May 20, 2017 at 04:10 AM
MedicineMan404
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Kayak advice requested!


Mogul that is awesome! Looks like dry bags already on each sponson. Never knew of such a beast but I do like it.
Only down I can see is if you have to paddle a distance to the shooting area, I'd think a kayak would be quicker but I've never paddled a pontoon like that.



May 20, 2017 at 04:16 AM
mogul
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Kayak advice requested!


MedicineMan404 wrote:
Mogul that is awesome! Looks like dry bags already on each sponson. Never knew of such a beast but I do like it.
Only down I can see is if you have to paddle a distance to the shooting area, I'd think a kayak would be quicker but I've never paddled a pontoon like that.


It rows quite easily since the pontoons barely touch the water so there is little drag. The only drawbacks that since you are sitting higher can be wind catching your body and pushing you around (the kayak sits a bit lower)



May 20, 2017 at 04:23 AM
dalite
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Kayak advice requested!


Eddyline is nice. Think $1500 and up. And that's not what he needs. He needs something small and packable.


May 20, 2017 at 05:28 AM
Plinian
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Kayak advice requested!


I sent a PM to Dorian separately but for others who might come across the thread...

I have an inflatable Sea Eagle fasttrack 385 (with a separate 4 piece paddle and kayak seat). It fits in a suitcase that, with pump, paddle, and seat, has worked terrifically well for 4 years across 5 states and 2 countries:
https://1x.com/photo/630305
https://1x.com/photo/985807
https://1x.com/photo/1269238
https://1x.com/photo/1299633

Total weight of suitcase with everything is just under 50 lbs (no excess baggage charges).

It looks dorky but works well, can hold me and my wife (or a dog or two), and I was able to keep up with Tim Kuhn while paddling across Lake Washington.

A duffle drybag works well (I have the Watershed Yukon) for holding a 600 plus a body or two while getting in and out or while paddling over swells, but when the water is flat, the rig rests on top of the drybag covered by a towel. And, I feel more secure with a paddle leash (NRS coil), even though I have yet to really need it. I recently picked up an anchor to use in situations where the current and/or tide is distracting, but have yet to try it in practice.

Greg

P.S. Here's an old thread from Jim Woodman: same kayak, similar birds, different location:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/testforum/topic/1248073/0

P.P.S. And here's another kayak thread started by Mitesh:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1213707



May 21, 2017 at 01:13 AM







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