Camera Caddy

Thought Iíd share my idea for a little gizmo I made to improve my picture taking on my kayak. I have gotten a lot of good feed back on it from my local kayaking club members. It is an idea I got after reading a lot of Marek Uliasz's tips on his web site. It is a cradle I made out of minicel foam that attaches to my paddle and holds my camera, a Pentax OptioW10. It has about a ĺ of an inch channel on one side to hold the camera and a V-shaped cut on the other side to attach to the paddle. They are both held on with bungy cord.

I mentioned this as an option on Paddlewise a while back and got an e-mail from someone who said it was completely impractical. But I made one anyway and I think itís made a big improvement in my photos. I almost always leave the foam cradle attached to my paddle, as it weighs less than an ounce. My camera is usually in a pocket attached to a leash and I slide it in when Iím ready to take some pictures. One of the big advantages is that the camera-paddle set up seems to work like a steady cam. Although the water might be a little rough and my kayak moving underneath me, with my paddle held horizontal in my outstretched arms the camera stays very still. It is a big advantage over trying to take a picture with one hand while holding the paddle with the other. By putting the camera on 2-second delay I can press the release and then with two hands on the paddle recompose the shot. Since digital cameras have somewhat of a lag time when you press the release, itís not that hard to get used to having the 2-second delay. I have been able to time some good shots.

Even off the paddle I like to keep the camera attached to the cradle. With my big hands I am always activating buttons I didnít mean to; the foam gives me a place to hold on to out of the way. Also, while attached to the cradle, the camera will float.

Most of the photos taken on the water that youíll see in ďMy Other PagesĒ, Big Arch, Surf n Turf etc. were taken with this set up. I always enjoy getting tips and seeing the pictures other people have been taking on their kayaks. If you decide to make your own paddle cradle, Iíd love to know and see a pic, but just remember you owe me a nickel for using my intellectual property!!!

Mark Sanders