Kayak photography video

I spend a lot of time kayaking, exploring, and photographing the natural world. Motorless boats, cameras, and nature all go so well together- gliding silently along, with only the murmur of the paddle to interrupt the songs of the myriad birds, slipping along as just another shadow, observing and capturing moments of calmness and clarity. Of course, it’s not always calm, peaceful bliss, but I like to imagine that it is, and so that is what I am sharing with all of you, some of that stillness of nature that I actually do find most of the time that I am out there… the calm beauty that nature can be.

My most common (yet by no means only) place that I get to explore and share is Tomales Bay, a beautiful yet rugged place in Northern California. It is a fantastic area to explore with a rich and varied ecosystem that supports a huge diversity of life. I am often amazed at how much life there is in its waters and along its shores.

This is a little project that I just finished up for something else, and I had a lot of fun making it. I’ve decided to share it here, since it shows a bit of what I do, and why I do it. Hope you all enjoy it.

About Galen Leeds Photography

Nature and wildlife photographer, exploring the world on his feet and from his kayak. Among other genres, he is one of the leading kayak photographers in Northern California. To learn more about him, visit him on his website- www.galenleeds.net
This entry was posted in How to, kayak photography, nature photography, video, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Kayak photography video

  1. Holycowgirl says:

    By God you’ve given me a whole new vision of The Open Road. This was beautiful, what an experience, lovely unfolding into day. Thanks for all you do, it’s exquisite.

    • One of my favorite ways to experience nature and the world is either on the water or in the water. I suppose my favorite roads are wet ones. I’m glad you enjoyed this glimpse, and hope you feel inspired towards some maxing kayak adventures

      • Hi, Galen. I am really inspired by your video. I’m a photographer with a passion for nature and have been wanting to take up kayaking for a long time. Thank you for sharing your wonderful images and your own passion for this means to get up close & personal with nature.

  2. Dear Galen Leeds Photography,
    May I reblog this compelling video on Friend Nature?
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Would you like to write about this video on the reblog?
    Appreciating your work,
    Denise Hartley

  3. Monica Sawyn says:

    I’ve always lived near one of the Great Lakes, and gravitate there naturally for sunrise, sunset and other nature shots. And for inspiration for writing. It’s always best when it’s just you and the critters you stumble upon. This was so peaceful, both the stills and the movies. (And how on earth do those otters deal with fish bones?)–Monica

    • Early mornings are some of my favorites. They are so quiet and peaceful, yet you can watch the world slowly coming to life… and in some cases just going to bed (like the raccoons and night herons that have been out foraging in the dark. I’m glad I was able to convey some of that peacefulness to you.

      In some cases I saw the otter spit out some of the larger bones and pieces of fin, but I could also here a lot of crunching amidst all of its chomping, so I’m guessing it’s just a scratchy meal.

  4. Vicki says:

    I loved this! Thank you Galen

  5. lylekrahn says:

    Thanks so much for taking me along on that wonderful paddle. What a great video.

  6. Sue Thomson says:

    The beauty and stillness of an early morning took my breath away! Thanks for sharing Galen. How do you protect your camera from the water splash whilst paddling?

    • I’m very glad you enjoyed it so much. It’s part of why I try to head out so early in the morning for my kayaks. To protect my camera I am often tucking it into a dry bag between my legs, although I don’t often seal the bag unless the weather gets ugly or the water turns rough. I choose my moments for removing it carefully. Here’s a more detailed post I wrote on protecting your camera while kayaking. It talks a little about some of the major options. Also, if you go to the link at the top of my blog pages “Kayak photography” there are links to a number of articles I’ve written on the ins and outs of kayak photography.

      Thanks for stopping in to watch my micro movie

  7. This is beautifully done, loved everything, including the still photos, music, text, all wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

  8. alonnashaw says:

    Kayaking Tomales Bay is still on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of West Marin.

    • Kayaking Tomales Bay is very worth it. If you ever need a guide let me know.

      I’m in the midst of moving right now, so unfortunately my books are all boxed up. Eleven Sundays is on the very top though, waiting to be the first one that I read. I’m very much looking forward to it. Before it went into the box, I made many, many people read my passage, bragging about how I’m in my first novel.

      Hope all is going well,


      • alonnashaw says:

        Thanks for the guide offer–might take you up on that sometime. Right now we are up in the snow for ski season. (I miss the coast sooooo much.)

        Moving is such a big job. Good luck and hope you love your new place.

        Your photography is so breathtakingly beautiful, I couldn’t mention inspirational photography (of wonderful West Marin) in my story without a nod to you and your work.

  9. I really enjoyed the early morning kayak ride. It is so peaceful, relaxing and inspiring. What was especially great – seeing you get the images that you do, photographing a part of the creature’s lives as they go about their day – the otter and her fish, the cormorant on the tiny rock and the busy shorebirds racing over the sands.Thank you!

    • It’s a fantastic way to tour the world, paddling through it on a kayak. I’m glad you were able to join me. As you can see, we don’t have the same snow out here that you have, although it’s been pretty frosty on the shores of the bay lately.

  10. Gunta says:

    This was utterly exquisite. Thanks for sharing it….

  11. Absolutely lovely…… tears in my eyes! Thanks for sharing your morning with us!

    • Kayaking is worth it on its own, but it’s even better when I can share it with people in a meaningful way. I’m very happy that you enjoyed this small slice from my life and the beautiful bay that I live near.

  12. janechese says:

    I was struck by how peaceful this was and as I saw the birds and animals, magical.The music was perfect for this bit of moving pictures. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  13. Dave Miller says:

    Loved the video Galen. So inspiring and well done. Thank you for sharing.

    I liked seeing how you carry your camera while paddling too. Is the drybag attached to you in any way?

    • Glad you enjoyed it Dave.

      The drybag is generally not attached in any way, although at times, if the water gets a little rougher, I will attach it to the kayak with a short leash, but under conditions where it is rough enough for any danger, it will also be too rough to hold the camera steady. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities and in my kayak (it is fairly stable), and trust that I won’t tip over, which is the only way the bag could really get in the water. It is quite snug and stable being nested between my legs, that there is not much danger of it coming loose outside of capsizing.

  14. Jimmy Gondek says:

    Hi Galen,

    With springtime breaking I’ve been itching to get my yak out in the water…I haven’t gotten the gumption up yet to take the DSLR out on the water, but your site has given me encouragement…fine job, what you do!

    Anyhoo, I spent the greater part of last night perusing your posts to get a feel for how you’re going about protecting your photography gear…thanks for sharing all your insights! Us noobs need all the direction we can get! Ha!

    I am curious about something though…in this video you pull your camera and telephoto out at about the 1:15 mark and it’s not clear to me how you have that setup protected prior to its emergence. Are you using some sort of pouch or bib to keep the water at bay while you paddle? It’s not clear in the video how that camera is being stowed on your lap or chest.

    Your images and videos are gorgeous…fine job, guy!

    Best to you,
    Jimmy G

  15. thadley3384 says:

    Reblogged this on Eyes Through the Iris and commented:
    Great way to explore the world and be free in open waters. Plenty of cool things to photograph. Awesome video made by Galen

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