» 6 Kayak Photography Tips
1. Look and See
Learn to see pictures. You do not need a camera to practice it. Learn to "shoot" without camera and tell yourself, especially, when driving: that would be a good picture, this old barn would look great at sunrise, that dust devil at a horizon can be seen only through polarized glasses.

Look at photographs in magazines, books and calendars also to help develop your seeing capability.

There are several good books on the art of seeing. Here is a book that helps with this Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson

2. Have a Camera
A photographer is shooting pictures, not a camera, but you should have your camera ready. "Ready" means not only accessible. You should be familiar with your camera settings and operations. Learn what camera settings are working for your paddling photography. It may be difficult to figure out camera features when sitting in a tippy kayak and waves are splashing.

Compact waterproof digital cameras like Pentax Optio W-line or Olympus Stylus SW 720, can revolutionize your kayak photography. You will be able to shoot pictures that you were not able to execute before, e.g., with a partially submerged camera. Be ready to sacrifice some camera features or to some extend a picture quality for convenience and accessibility of these tiny cameras for paddling environment.

Do not forget a memory card for your new Optio camera! If you are going to shoot video in addition to pictures you will need a lot of memory. The Pentax Optio W20 supports SD memory card above 2 Gb.

  • Sandisk secure digital memory cards: 1 Gb, 2 Gb, 4 Gb
  • Kingston secure digital memory cards: 1 Gb, 2 Gb

3. Be Aware of Light
The best light for outdoor photography is when the sun is low, i.e., around sunrise and sunset. You can expect interesting light at the end of an afternoon paddling workout. If the sunset is not very exciting shoot water reflections or a tree silhouette.

Ironically, on paddling trips, we are often passing the best scenery in the middle of day, when the light is harsh and unpleasant....

4. Point (compose) and Shoot
Do not be afraid to shoot without viewfinder. Well, you don't have one on the Pentax Optio. And, the LCD display is often difficult to read in a bright sun. It shouldn't stop you from shooting. Use some creative angles as far as you can extend your arm. Remember, you can put this camera under water next to you kayak. The lack of a viewfinder is perhaps the main reason preventing some photographers from buying this camera. It is a reasonable compromise in the camera of this size.

5. Shoot Multiple Frames
Shooting pictures with a digital camera is cheap. You do not need to worry about film cost. You can always erase the picture and shoot again unless you are after some action shots. So, do not be afraid to experiment and shoot even if you do not see the image in your LCD monitor. Shoot some extra frames. It is helpful to have an adequate memory card.

6. Practice
The more you shoot the better you should get.

Review your pictures on the camera LCD if possible. Analyze your shots after paddling on a computer screen. You have all information about camera setting included in each digital image file. Try to figure out what worked and what not. Learn from mistakes.