Last weekend, I designed another kayak practice session and gear test for this trip. The biggest question to answer was: Can I take pictures in my underwater bag from a kayak?
I’ll set the stage:
I’m paddling along in my kayak. I’m wearing a lot of *bulky gear and look pretty ridiculous. (Spray skirt, PFD: aka life jacket, a drysuit, winter parka, hat and gloves).
I’ve got a DSLR inside an ewa-underwater bag around my neck (or resting atop the skirt), a protected point and shoot and/or an old iPhone shoved into my PFD and a lens cloth -- also jammed in wherever it makes sense.
Then, I'm dipping the camera in and out of the water from the side of an unstable boat...
So, can I manage all that stuff and take a decent picture?
The short answer is a resounding, YES!
The long answer is… it’s complicated.
Here’s what I learned:
- You get wet. Which is fine in the warm California waters… but in the ice? Hmmm...
- The kayak is wobbly! It takes some getting used to, but manageable with time.
- Getting a shot is a big guess. You stick your camera in the water, fire the shutter and hope for the best.
- You’re constantly in motion. Between the kayak and moving subjects, I’m not sure I’ll get anything…
- Shooting pics on the left side is impossible since I have to cross my body in awkward ways. All the cool stuff better happen on the right, Nature!
- It’s much easier to shoot in portrait since I have easier access to the shutter this way.
- The big neoprene gloves make it awkward, but it still works!
- Paddle management is also super awkward and laughably inelegant. Like eating spaghetti on a first date. It’s all doable... Albeit very dorky.
In sum, I’ll keep practicing! Though, I’m sure I’ll just forget everything when I get there, fumble like crazy and just wing it. Isn’t that how it always goes?
*Note: I didn't actually wear all the warm weather gear for this test. It was 80 degrees out and I just wasn't up for excessive sweating.