I’m a freelance photographer specializing in outdoor, nature and wildlife photography. I shoot thousands of photos a year. There is a lot of competition out there. Whether a digital SLR or a cell phone; today everyone has a camera. The only way to stand out is to get creative with your shots. I’m always thinking out of the box when it comes to taking pictures.
One of my favorite ways to get a unique perspective is to shoot pictures from a kayak. The low angle to the water makes for an appealing image. Also shooting from the water back towards shore is very unique in a photo. Quietly paddling in a kayak also allows me to get very close to wildlife.
Shooting pictures from the water needs to be done from a good stable platform. One, it’s not a good idea to take expensive camera gear in a kayak that may role over. Two, in photography a stable shot is a good shot. I’ve photographed from a few different kayaks over the past several years and I’ve found that the new Predator 13 is the perfect platform for this type of photography. The safety and stability of this kayak is outstanding.
It may sound a little crazy carrying around expensive camera gear on the water but I do take a few precautions to limit the risk. All my gear is stored in separate heavy duty freezer bags and stowed in a padded camera bag. This is only good until you’re ready to start shooting, then you need to rely on paddling skills and the stability of the Predator.
When photographing from a kayak, one can expect to see just about any kind of wildlife whether in the water or along the shore. I live in northeast Ohio. I shoot a lot of migrating waterfowl passing through at different times of the year. Along the shore I’ve photographed deer, beavers, otters, eagles, raccoons and all sorts of other animals. The possibilities are endless but in most cases, only accessible from the water.
My technique is to find a quite area on a body of water, away from boaters and other distractions. I slowly paddle until spotting something. If it’s an animal, I’ll get my camera ready then slowly paddle towards the subject. If I notice the animal getting nervous over my presence I’ll stop paddling and coast in for a shot. It seems that the animals are more alert to the movement of the paddle than they are to the actual kayak; by using this coasting technique, I’ve almost gotten too close on occasion for my telephoto lens to focus properly.
Another thing I’ll try with waterfowl to get action shots is to paddle directly at the birds in hopes they’ll fly. Be ready with this technique, the action can be fast and furious.
Don’t overlook the backwater areas. You can access shallow, woody areas where there are plenty of interesting things to photograph like turtles, snakes, songbirds, insects and aquatic plant life that are all within reach from a kayak.