Fri - August 11, 2006

Bird photography from a kayak? Blue heron shot with Pentax Optio W10

I am still feeling tired after the Missouri River 340 Race. We returned back from Missouri on Monday early afternoon and I immediately jumped into work. However, yesterday evening I managed to escape for a little paddling on my local Beaver Pond. No racing, no training, just playing with my Sisson Nucleus kayak and Pentax Optio W10 camera.

Usually, when paddling laps on the Beaver Pond I am scarring away all blue herons. This time, I tried to photograph one. For about 10 minutes I slowly drifted without any motion in my kayak towards the heron seating on a fallen tree. I came as close as two lengths of the kayak. The bird was extremely patient and forgiving. Finally, it decided that enough is enough and moved away without a hurry.

I shot several pictures with my regular setup, i.e., a program mode and -0.7 EV compensation. I didn't have time to play with any other adjustments. I think that the results are not so bad for a point-and-shoot camera. The heron pictures above are somewhat cropped from the originals.

If you really want to see a good bird photography from a kayak you need to visit Kayak Paddle Tales, excellent blog by Peggy Sherman from northern Florida.

I would like to take my stable Sea Wind canoe and digital SLR camera and try to do some more serious bird photography. I could even use a tripod in a big cockpit of Sea Wind. However, it is so much easier to load a light kayak on a top of my car for a short 1 hour paddling.

I couldn't resist to shoot a few pictures of sunset. I underexposed more strongly these shots (-2.0 EV compensation). I also manually switched white balance to shade to get warmer tones. I have both these functions, EV compensation and white balance, assigned to a "green button" for a quick access. Normally, I don't use any other camera adjustments when paddling.

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Bird Photography Bird Photography Bird Photography Bird Photography

Posted at 04:32 PM    

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