Monday, August 29, 2011

Kayaking with my wife and my camera

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I decided to get out of the house and go kayaking, by ourselves, with no kids. We headed up to Stevens Creek Reservoir, which is located near our house, and took off for a couple of hours. She told me that on a recent outing, they had seen some cool birds, and encouraged me to bring a camera. Nice! Not wanting to risk my 5D Mark II and L series lens in the kayak, I rigged up my Canon 40D with a 18-250 Tamron lens and off we went.

Here is a shot of my wife, Annette, as we headed away from the launch area.

And a rare shot of me (since I am usually on the other side of the camera).

We did see some cool birds as we paddled across the reservoir. I was focusing on this Double Crested Cormorant (identified by my friend Rob Aramayo - thanks Rob), who was sitting on a tree branch, when I saw it prepare to take off. I quickly repositioned myself in the kayak and followed him on his takeoff to grab this shot. (Photographer's note: Shooting images from a kayak is pretty limiting. Not only are you rocking from side to side, but you are also confined to a pretty small sitting area. You really need to position the boat to allow you to shoot in certain directions. This works much better than trying to twist your body in this confined space.)

A couple more shots of the local wildlife. This is a Black-crowned Night Heron (also identified by Rob).

It was fun to shoot photos of these birds from the kayak because you can paddle in very close (slowly) and get some tight shots.

Annette, paddling through the narrow passage at the back of the reservoir.

As always, I wanted to take some photos from a different perspective, so I put the DSLR low to the bow of my kayak and took this shot of my wife in the distance. I shot multiple images, trying to keep the camera straight and at the right height.

For this shot, I put the camera even lower than the previous image, and also pulled it back against my body. For the two shots above, I think that they help tell the story. If the images did not have my kayak in the frame, you might think that I shot the images from the shore. Having the front of my kayak in the frame tells the viewer that I am in a boat too. In this shot, I lined up my kayak directly up the cove and made sure that Annette's kayak was in the corner of the frame.

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