Kayaking on the Cowichan River

I spent some time at my favourite river today photographing the spring flowers and a kayak and canoe slalom competition. This was a very interesting combination of shooting as they both require such different disciplines.

Doing close-up photography of wild flowers is a slow, peaceful and incredibly fulfilling type of work. You spend some time finding the perfect flower or grouping of flowers and slowly work with the subject. I find a lot of thought goes into what lens to use, aperture settings and angles. One can spend a few moments looking at the results and make changes if required. Generally I shoot until I wish to move on or feel that I covered the subject well.

Kayaking on the other hand is an adrenaline sport that is fast paced, full of excitement and a blast to photograph. I find that I use two cameras, one generally with something like a 300mm lens and the other with what I consider my normal zoom, the Nikon 17-55mm. Variations exist on this, I also used my 50-150mm lens today. The action is fast, grabbing the kayakers as they hurtle through the upper gates with the 300mm, shooting blasts of 3 or 4 exposures and waiting until the next shot location and shooting another series. As the kayaker approaches I step away from the tripod mounted camera and use my other camera to get in close as they work their way through gates next to me or perhaps below me. I pre scout locations and in this case had about 10 areas that I worked during a 1 hour shoot. Pretty intense stuff.

Here’s a selection of the kayaking images. I’ll put a few of the flowers in the next post.

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Kayaking on the Cowichan River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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10 Responses to “Kayaking on the Cowichan River”

  1. Jazzy says:

    Great shots Kevin. It is really interesting to read about how you work.

  2. kevin says:

    I bet your son has a great time with the kayaking. I’m thinking that I need to try it again, I haven’t really done anything like that in about 25 years. Never to old!

  3. Olivia says:

    Hey!
    These shots are great!
    I’m a canoe slalom paddler from NZ in Victoria for the next few months.
    Do you know how I can get in touch with some paddlers to do some slalom training or racing?

    kevin Reply:

    Hi Olivia,

    A bit of info for you. The Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society are the folks to get in touch with. Have fun!

  4. kevin says:

    Hi Olivia,

    Glad you like the photos. Right off I don’t have any contacts but I’ll get some and post them here in the next day or so. Gotta get back into this myself, it’s been a long time.

  5. LisaNewton says:

    Kevin, you got some great shots. I had no idea so much preparation when into looking for the various locations. How many shots did you take?

  6. kevin says:

    How does this sound for less than an hours shooting:

    363 photos in 45 minutes. This doesn’t mean all the photographs are good however. I would guess that about 10% of these are images that I can use. Many of the images are fairly similar because I tend to shoot sports at about 4 to 6 photos per second. Out of a burst of 4 or so images there is always one that’s better than the others; better facial expression, paddle in a better position, better angle etc.

    Preplanning added a couple of hours to the shoot.

  7. KKH Photos says:

    Looks like a great way to spend a day! Awesome work.

  8. kevin says:

    Yes, it was a great way to spend a day! One of the joys of being a photographer is getting out there and having fun. I did a technical Analysis of a Kayaking Photo Shoot for those that are interested.

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