W500 Kayak for Photography, by Paul Ekman, Iowa

I’ve had the kayak out a number of times now and am dialing in my photography setup. I found that splaying the tripod across the top of the cockpit is much better than having the legs inside. This way, I have more room for my own legs and cargo and I can slide in nice and close to the camera. I added some hooks to the inside so that I can keep the tripod nice and secure given the weight and expense of the photo gear. I can control the kayak and casually paddle while facing the camera with ease. I just lay the paddle across my legs while shooting which works well. If I have a long distance to cover and don’t want to take the setup down, I’ll turn the other way to avoid striking the tripod while paddling more aggressively.

Things are working out well! I’ve got some great photos of herons and pelicans already – much better than the past years of trying to get close by foot.

stable kayak for wildlife photography

camera with telescopic lens mounted on stable kayak for photography

camera tripod mounted on stable kayak for photography

camera tripod mounted on stable kayak for photography

wildlife photographer looking through telescopic lens in stable kayak

wildlife photographer looking through telescopic lens in stable kayak

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4 Comments

  1. W kayak

    Thanks Paul!
    We have many clients who use their W500 kayaks for wildlife photography, and particularly bird photography, but this is the first review that shows the details of the camera’s tripod setup.
    Yoav

  2. Rox

    Nice job with the setup.

    Have you thought about attaching PVC tubing that the legs could slide into?

    I think it would give your tripod a very stable base, if you ever get hit by a big wave or wake, you won’t have to rely on the straps you tied it down with.

    It would also make it easy to load and unload the tripod.

    Just a thought.

    Tight Lines, Snapping Pictures, and MoPaddle Safe all.
    Rox

  3. Paul Ekman

    Thanks Rox,

    I do like the PVC idea for fast loading. If I settle on this configuration I may give it a try – so long as the tripod doesn’t have any movement in the tubes.

    Paul

  4. W kayak

    Have a look at Paul’s outdoors photos: http://paulspics.etsy.com

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