Tag Archive: photography kayak

Designing a kayak for photography

Some kayak manufacturers claim that certain kayak models they offer are suitable for photography (I.E. wildlife photography).  While it’s possible to shoot pictures out of such kayaks, categorizing them them as suitable for wildlife photography is more wishful thinking than solid reality, regardless of such kayaks being sit-in, SOT, or hybrid canoe-kayaks.
Some fishing kayak models are very wide, and as such they offer a higher degree of lateral stability than similar designs that are just Touring or Recreational kayaks, but other than that, such ultra-wide kayaks fail to provide wildlife photographers with what we consider to be a basic package of services.
Such basic package includes adequate stability, of course, and the ability to paddle standing and shoot photos while standing with no ifs and buts. Needless to say that photographers who spend long hours (and sometimes days) paddling their kayaks and shooting from them cannot enjoy doing so if they use a kayak that forces them to be seated in the non-ergonomic L position, which is the traditional kayaking position in which the kayaker’s legs are awkwardly stretched in front on them, and the lower part of their body is encased between a set of footrests and a backrest that compresses their lumbar spine in a horizontal direction.

Plentiful dry storage space is essential for outdoor photographers who go on a kayak photography trips since they  usually carry a lot of expensive photographic equipment with them, including cameras, tripods and lenses.

It goes without saying that being able to launch, travel and beach the kayak in aquatic environments that are not necessarily accessible due to shallow water, vegetation and all sorts of obstacles is a substantial advantage, because such environments tend to be rich in wildlife. This requirement means that heavy kayaks are out of the question, and this rules out most wide fishing kayak models, as well as other kayak models labeled as touring kayaks that fail to pass the mobility test phrased by Wavewalk as “launch, go and beach anywhere”.
Excessive size and weight make some kayaks irrelevant if only because they are so hard to car top and carry over long distances.

Taking into consideration all these technical requirements as well as others, the only kayak that can deliver an acceptable performance in terms of photography is Wavewalk’s W500.

Additional, in-depth insight about kayaks for photography >

W500 Kayak Outfitted 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 (2)

camera with telescopic lens mounted on stable kayak for photography (2)

wildlife photographer looking through telescopic lens in stable kayak

camera tripod mounted on stable kayak for photography