Friday, December 2, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

A blog is of little value without good illustrations to accompany the stories, so I needed a camera. Paddling brings you into some beautiful, but also some very tough and demanding environments---water, sand, mud, and the likelihood of getting dropped or knocked about among your other gear. has good recommendations on a number of different types of cameras. Not all are intended to survive going swimming with you, but that is an important consideration in a canoe or kayak. I initially decided on the Olympus Stylus 1030-SW. It is waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof, and lifeproof. They even had a video of the camera being driven over by the wheels a truck, and then using it to take pictures.

It is 10.1 mega pixels, auto or manual operation, outstanding macro capability, zoom lens, through the lens exposure compensation, and a long list of other capabilities. For a camera that is waterproof, and small enough to slip in the pocket of your PFD and thus always at the ready, it’s hard to beat. I’ve used it a couple years now, and find no fault with its abilities, except on one count. It is not intended to compete with a long-lens camera, and therefore leaves you without the ability to capture most wildlife.
I’ve had a few people compliment some of my pictures and encourage me to expand my capability. They’re undoubtedly being most gracious, but I’ve taken the encouragement to heart. The next problem would be the most appropriate selection of gear to meet my needs. I’d lose the waterproof advantage, but wanted to gain the advantages of SLR (single lens reflex) ability to format, focus, and meter directly through the lens. For the most part, what you see is what you get, in other words. I lacked the expertise to know what camera and lens would give me good wildlife capability, especially while taking pictures from the uncertain platform of a canoe. While searching links at, I found John Van Den Brandt, of Wild Wind Images.

He’s a professional photographer, and one of his specialties is wildlife photography from a canoe. I didn’t know if he would take the time to entertain my inquiry, but he was both cordial and supportive. He recommended a Canon 60D or a Canon Rebel, with a 300-mm F4 IS (image stabilization) down to a lens of 220-mm. with IS. He also recommended B&H Photo as a very reliable outlet that is used by many professionals. I wanted to add zoom capability, so I got the Canon EOS 60D digital SLR with a Sigma 18-250-mm IS (Sigma calls it OS for object stabilization) with auto-focus ability. Then comes the next challenge. I don’t remember his exact words, but Mr. Van Den Brandt pointed out ‘it’s not the wand that makes the magic, but how the magician wields the wand.’ So, I have some work to do. I thank him sincerely for his guidance, and offer it here for anyone else that may benefit from it.

I’d also like to recommend you check John Van Den Brandt’s website, Wild Wind Images. You’ll enjoy the outstanding pictures, and they’re available for purchase. He also has a 2012 calendar available with some wonderful images that would make great Christmas presents. If you enjoy wildlife photography, go to

For B&H, check

No comments:

Post a Comment