You’re in your kayak, a seal pops up next to you. Grabbing up your camera you manage a couple of magnificent shots before it dives back under. Stashing your camera you get ready to paddle on… except your paddle is floating away from you.
One of the most important things you can figure out with kayak photography is what you are going to do with your paddle while you are taking that award winning picture. Chances are both hands will be holding the camera, and tucking the paddle under your arm can be a little awkward. Figure out where and how you are going to secure it, before you ever need to do so in a hurry. Let it become second nature so that it automatically ends up in a place where you won’t lose it.
Each kayak has it’s own series of bungees and straps that differ slightly. On some it is enough to slip one end of the paddle under the bungees right in front of the cockpit. With a sit on top you can stow it between your legs. In some kayaks though these methods won’t keep it safe enough, and you need to work out additional safeguards. What ever your method make sure it is simple and fast so that it will not get in the way of taking your pictures.
Additional considerations are paddle leashes and a spare paddle for just in case. If you do accidentally drop your paddle this will at least keep you from being stuck in the middle of a body of water at the whim of the winds and tides.
Learn your kayak, devise a method that fits your style and practice it to work out the bugs. Then head out and shoot happily. Kayak photography can be very rewarding when you are properly prepared. Here are some further tips for wildlife kayak photography.