Paddling 01

1/200 sec @ f5.0 ISO 100 14mm OCF camera right, 1/2 power, with CTO gel to match ambient.

The thing about Sea Kayaking is that, most of it happens, well,  at sea. This presents some very particular problems. The second thing about sea kayaking is that most of the time, as the photographer, you are fixed at sea level, in a boat, balancing in the waves. Which also adds to the logistical issues.

The first set of problems (and to an extent the second set as well) is frequently overcome with some form of waterproofing of your equipment. For this I chose two products from Aqua Pac.

Early morning crossing: 1/1000 sec @ F6.3 ISO 400 S95

So, the SLR case is a stretch fit for a 7D with a 77mm lens, making it barely useable. In fact I would go as far as saying it is incompatible.  Secondly, with a couple of kgs of weight in the bag, handling the camera on the open ocean is very challenging. After an initial trial I abandoned this in favour of the smaller, more easily accessible option of the S95.

Evening camp: 1/160th @ F 8.0 10mm ISO 100 Canon 7D

Which would be at least a viable option in terms of off the hip shooting. I discussed this camera elsewhere and am perfectly happy trying to shoot high grade work with it. BUT shooting from the water is almost a pointless task.
  • Any splash / drizzle (inherent given the environment) forms water droplets on the case (lens cover), which, because every available surface is also wet, cannot be removed. Result, blotched-splotched images. 80% of the images suffered from this, despite the utmost care to prevent it.
    • The solution, I think is to keep the camera, in the case, in a chest-mounted pouch, away from drips from the paddle and to be mindful of wet fingers when getting it out.
    • Alternatively if a dry wipe cloth could be kept dry…?

Water droplets on lens cover of case.... almost unavoidable

  • Over the space of 24 hours, despite remaining sealed, enough moisture made its way into the case for condensation to form… on the lens facing cover. Result, constant fog.
    • Two options here, keep the silica sachet in the case, and risk it being in the way of screen/buttons during operation.
    • Keep the case lens side down so the condensation forms on the screen side
  • Niether of which, frankly, are ideal.
However, shooting fully underwater, works better, down there there are no water droplets and the cool even temperature  dispels condensation quickly. However, metering and exposure are very challenging as it is impossible to ‘read your instrument’. And so begins extensive trial and error. The results of which, were not completed before the cold and shivers called an end to that experiment.
Ultimately then, the best results require either a mobile, floating media rig that has enough dry space to operate from or, as gallery below makes obvious, to actually shoot from the shore….
About The Author


Action and adventure photographer based in London, shooting commercial and editorial images that seek to capture the beauty in the lifestyles he loves

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