Kayak for Nature Photography

Hello all, I was just curious if anyone has any experience with nature photography from a kayak and if so, what is in your set-up? How do you keep your gear dry and what kayak are you using? I might end up purchasing one in the near future.

Comments

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,831Member
    edited June 2017
    river... sea... canal ... the rougher it gets the more problems you have . Are you creaping around deserted backwaters or what ?
    I am qualified boat captain so I have some idea.
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    edited June 2017
    River, Lakes, and springs around Florida. Not deserted but still not mainstream. Maybe some inter-coastal but not top on my list.

    The two I am trying to decide on are:

    Native Ultimate FX 12 (http://nativewatercraft.com/product/ultimate-fx-12-2/)
    Native Ultimate FX Propel 13 (http://nativewatercraft.com/product/ultimate-fx-propel-13/)

    I like the idea of the pedals making it a little easier to get around but the extra room and at half the price point, the FX 12 looks like a good option too. I have seen videos on youtube in which a lot of photographers use the FX 12 with a tripod.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Here's some "Kayak" photography : )
    NorthCarolina-4636.jpg

    @webmastadj where are you located in Florida? I'm in the Palm Beach area and have been on a couple of rented kayaks in North Palm Beach. Wishing to go into some back streams in Jonathan Dickinson State Park which can result in some gators, turtles, cranes, and such. I haven't taken my heavy gear with me as I'm afraid of a tip over. Took a Canon point n shoot and a plastic bag. Kayaks are made to take on small amounts of water so you'd have to have some type of waterproof setup for your expensive stuff.
    My thoughts: if I really wanted get deep into it, I'd probably just buy a waterproof Nikon AW such & such - then - Next move up would be invest in a pre-owned/referb DSLR with decent lenses and a plastic covering setup with lots of gaff tape for the edges. Create a rig that allows the camera to stay between your legs but elevated from the bottom surface of the kayak. I'm sure you've already imagined this and is asking for what others do, but this is how I'd approach it.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,831Member
    Paddle ...?? Minn Kota and a battery...Two seater will give you more room..Wash from other boats may give you more problems
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    edited November 2017
    @Rx4Photo I am located in the Orlando area. I went out on the St. Johns River with a rented pontoon boat for the day and now love being on the water. Does give you some great photo opportunities such as Gators, turtles, bird, etc. With the equipment, the way I figure, I bought the lens for wildlife and the camera body for it, so why leave it on shore? I have read one photographer that said "if you are too afraid to use the gear you purchased, then return it." I think that applies here. But of course I will first go a few trips sans camera just to make sure I am comfortable. I plan on taking the proper precautions like a water sealed bag for the camera, only take my 18-140mm and the 200-500mm with 1.4 teleconverter, and make sure the camera is insured.

    Here are some photos from my trip with the pontoon:

    This is My Good Side

    Great time for a sun facial

    Our Mom

    @Pistnbroke Lol, it is very true I could use an electric motor but here are my reason why I want to paddle:

    1) Even though the electric motor is quiet, I don't see it as being as quiet as a paddle / peddle kayak

    2) If I went with a motor, I would probably switch to a john boat

    3) I need a workout. My job has me at a desk all day and the more opportunities I have to counter act that the better. With peddling / paddling, it would have the added benefit of keeping my highly active.

    I do know the wake from other boats will be my biggest concern.




    Good news, as long as it doesn't rain this Saturday is I signed up for a "demo" of kayaks from my local store. So hopefully by Saturday afternoon I know which route I will take and how much I will need to save.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,084Member
    edited June 2017
    I don't have any tips on kayaking, but as full bred and born city boy from NY with supposed alligators in the sewer, I can't help but be concerned about kayaking in alligator infested waters. I also can't help but be concerned about how curious alligators might be about kayaks and more importantly what's inside the kayak. How would a kayak protect the rider from a full on alligator attack?
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    Typically, gators in the wild will avoid, i.e. will not swim toward, a kayak in the water. It is more likely to try to move away from "that thing" that it's unfamiliar with. Alligator attacks is the stuff of Hollywood. That being said, if a gator has gotten too famililar with being fed by senseless humans then it will swim toward you if you're standing on the banks of the lake. Also, if the gator is in search of food and you or your beloved pet happen to be on the bank of the lake or IN the lake, then you're asking to be it's dinner.
    In other words down here when you see news of an "alligator attack" it's usually the human that puts him/her self in a convenient place for the gator. It wont go an knock over your kayak like "Jaws."
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,069Moderator
    Rx4Photo said:

    Typically, gators in the wild will avoid, i.e. will not swim toward, a kayak in the water. It is more likely to try to move away from "that thing" that it's unfamiliar with. Alligator attacks is the stuff of Hollywood. That being said, if a gator has gotten too famililar with being fed by senseless humans then it will swim toward you if you're standing on the banks of the lake. Also, if the gator is in search of food and you or your beloved pet happen to be on the bank of the lake or IN the lake, then you're asking to be it's dinner.
    In other words down here when you see news of an "alligator attack" it's usually the human that puts him/her self in a convenient place for the gator. It wont go an knock over your kayak like "Jaws."

    If that was supposed to make us feel better RX, you failed LOL!
    Always learning.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    LOLOL Spray !! Rule of thumb is: If you're in the water and a Florida gator swims toward you, you don't have to be the fastest, just faster than that guy next to you !
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 372Member
    Hmm. I'm beside myself.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    edited June 2017
    Lol, basically don't fall in and if you do, hope the gator has already had lunch or breakfast. Also as a rule in Florida, I think it is safe to assume their is a gator in any body of water no matter how small.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,084Member
    Rx4Photo said:

    Typically, gators in the wild will avoid, i.e. will not swim toward, a kayak in the water. It is more likely to try to move away from "that thing" that it's unfamiliar with. Alligator attacks is the stuff of Hollywood. That being said, if a gator has gotten too famililar with being fed by senseless humans then it will swim toward you if you're standing on the banks of the lake. Also, if the gator is in search of food and you or your beloved pet happen to be on the bank of the lake or IN the lake, then you're asking to be it's dinner.
    In other words down here when you see news of an "alligator attack" it's usually the human that puts him/her self in a convenient place for the gator. It wont go an knock over your kayak like "Jaws."

    Maybe I've watched one too many PBS and National Geographic specials, but I heard saltwater crocodiles are rather large, 10-12 feet and sometimes more. Plus there's the massive boa constrictors as an invasive species as well.

    I might kayak in NY, but no thanks, Florida.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,069Moderator
    Salties are nasty. The worst.
    Always learning.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    edited June 2017
    I spent some time in Kayaks today, I must say the ones I tried were stable and I was able to stand without an issue. The only thing I need to find now is a dry bag that will hold my 200-500mm with 1.4x TC and D500 so I can try out the camera on them. Anyone have a recommendation for a dry bag to fit that combo?

    Edit: dry bag = waterproof bag
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    Aussie crocs are friendly... ;-)
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,069Moderator
    That's a lot of handbags right there...
    Always learning.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    Update: Kayak and Trailer purchased. Now comes the hard part; waiting for it to get here. Just for reference, here is the boat and trailer:

    http://nativewatercraft.com/product/ultimate-fx-propel-13/

    https://www.yakima.com/rackandroll-78-trailer
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,069Moderator
    Wow! Now that's a kayak! Nice.
    Always learning.
  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    That's no toy @webmastadj ! Looks worthy of getting deep into the canals.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    edited June 2017
    @spraynpray, @HipShot, @Rx4Photo - Thanks. I am hoping to spend hours in that boat and it should make for a comfortable and roomy ride. I picked up the copperhead color.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 885Member
    edited July 2017
    I own about a dozen kayaks, several in .Florida,most in NYS. It has been tough getting kayaks for Alaska as transport is nearly impossible. I have mine sent up for carry as far as Acadia in Maine(one of my single favorites) or Florida. Mine are mostly sea touring kayaks, a couple of stand up paddle board fairly high end ones. My favorites are all Necky! Kayaks are very difficult to use large lens with, or big cameras! I have never had one roll. I have though got cameras and lenses wet, which were not UW gear. We own about 20 Go Pros. And some specialty rigs for monitoring. We are just selling a Sea Doo Challenger named the Clearwater Marurader....beautiful fast boat. The kayaks though I regard as very difficult to photograph from. Then there are two aquatic predators that are frequently encountered problems, Bull Sharks, and Salt Water Crocodiles. We are not seeing any invasive Boa Constrictors yet...
    In general kayaking has too big problems, tippy...and poorly set up,for photography. I have specialized gear Baja Deck bags, navigation gear, etc., but the productivity of the kayak for photos is very marginal! I have seen the boat you have in the Adirondack Lakes. Still can't say they are ideal for photography or fishing!
    Post edited by DaveyJ on
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 157Member
    @DaveyJ Just saw your reply. I have been using the kayak for a few months now and I am enjoying it. I haven't had very many issues yet taking photos from the kayak. In fact with the pedal drive, I can very easily maneuver the kayak in place without putting down the camera. Of course it takes some care and awareness of your surroundings when using the camera.

    I have a large dry bag that I stow the camera in when not in use or when conditions get questionable (such as rain or when I need to focus on maneuvering in super tight spaces which requires the paddle). The bag is large enough to store my camera with up to a 200-500 lens attached that I can slide into the bow of the boat. Also I only ever bring a single lens with me which stays attached to the camera. Would I take the kayak with the camera on the ocean, no. Personally, I wouldn't even take my kayak out on the ocean as it is not a sit on top. I am staying confined to local rivers and lakes of which there are plenty to explore in Florida.

    Now I am actually looking at picking up a drone to take out with me as well. There is plenty of more storage on the boat. I have my eye on the Phantom 4 Pro+. I plan on getting efficient with the drone before taking it out on the water.

    Also, I do have two GoPros that I am going to set-up for under water shots. This would come in very handy when visiting the springs.

    Here are some of the shots I have taken from the Kayak so far:

    Sanford Fishing

    Over the St. Johns

    St. Johns River

    Interrupting Dinner
  • dumerdumer Posts: 11Member

    @Rx4Photo I am located in the Orlando area. I went out on the St. Johns River with a rented pontoon boat for the day and now love being on the water. Does give you some great photo opportunities such as Gators, turtles, bird, etc. With the equipment, the way I figure, I bought the lens for wildlife and the camera body for it, so why leave it on shore? I have read one photographer that said "if you are too afraid to use the gear you purchased, then return it." I think that applies here. But of course I will first go a few trips sans camera just to make sure I am comfortable. I plan on taking the proper precautions like a water sealed bag for the camera, only take my 18-140mm and the 200-500mm with 1.4 teleconverter, and make sure the camera is insured.

    Here are some photos from my trip with the pontoon:

    This is My Good Side

    Great time for a sun facial

    Our Mom

    @Pistnbroke Lol, it is very true I could use an electric motor but here are my reason why I want to paddle:

    1) Even though the electric motor is quiet, I don't see it as being as quiet as a paddle / peddle kayak

    2) If I went with a motor, I would probably switch to a john boat

    3) I need a workout. My job has me at a desk all day and the more opportunities I have to counter act that the better. With peddling / paddling, it would have the added benefit of keeping my highly active.

    I do know the wake from other boats will be my biggest concern.




    Good news, as long as it doesn't rain this Saturday is I signed up for a "demo" of kayaks from my local store. So hopefully by Saturday afternoon I know which route I will take and how much I will need to save.

    Those are incredible shots!
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