TOP TIPS FOR TAKING AWESOME PHOTOS FROM YOUR KAYAK
Kayaks have the edge when it comes to taking stunning nature photographs. I am, first and foremost, a kayak fisherman, but I realised one day whilst fishing off the coast of Hermanus, around Walker Bay, when I realised that because my kayak hugs the water surface and makes almost no noise, I was able to get incredibly close to the local wildlife. I was fortunate enough to come across a group of seals and get incredibly close. At the time all I could manage were a few snaps on my phone, but I vowed to buy a camera and ensure I never missed an opportunity to capture a magical moment again.
The first thing I learnt was that to reduce the reflection from the water below I would need to use a polarising filter. When you are shooting the sea at a 45-degree angle you can see underwater without the suns reflection. Similarly, when you are shooting the sky looks bluer, and if you are trying to capture a contrast between the sea and the shore, a graduated filter will make the water appear darker.
ANCHOR YOUR BOAT
Photographing your subject is much easier from a stationary kayak. Make sure you have an anchor or a stake out pole for shallow water to keep your kayak steady. Failing this, I find that kelp can make for an excellent substitute, it is sturdy enough to keep you from drifting off. I park myself up in a kelp bed and can snap away to my hearts content.
TRY AND FILL THE FRAME
I have several photos of whales where I have to point to a speck in the middle distance and inform people that the black splodge is, in fact, a whale. This was far from ideal. Now I make sure I have a zoom lens, so I can get the subject to at least fill a third of the frame.
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR FRIENDS FROM ABOVE
Photographing other kayakers from the waters surface makes for some boring photographs. If you want to capture some action shots of your fellow kayakers, get above them on a bridge or a pier and snap a few shots from there. It makes for a much more interesting angle.
KEEP THE HORIZON LEVEL
The biggest mistake new kayak photographers make is taking photos where the horizon is not level. Unless there is a specific reason why the horizon should not be level, you should take every step to keep it level.
AVOID OVERCAST SKIES
If it is very overcast, I avoid taking landscape shots. The grey sky combined with grey water makes for flat and uninspiring shots.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT
This is our hobby after all, break the rules, experiment, push the boat out (literally) and see what you can do with your camera. You might just take an absolute gem. Don’t forget to submit your best photos to OnDECK by DINGA Online.
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