Why Do I Like Photographing from a Kayak?

Today’s post is another post with the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonaria citrea). I was planning on posting a different species of warbler images today, but I had such a good day in the kayak yesterday with a Prothonotary Warbler, that I wanted to share this wonderful experience with you.

Yesterday’s kayak trip was exceptional:  bunches of Prothonotary and Yellow-rumped Warblers, several Yellow Warblers, a shy Common Yellowthroat, a fearless Barred Owl that flew into the trees above where I sat in the kayak, a Wood Duck hen guiding here 12 freshly-hatched ducklings around, a beautiful Baltimore Oriole flitting from treetop to treetop, and wonderful kayaking weather … what else could you ask for? Today’s post is also a great example of why I love shooting from the kayak.

At the end of my little adventure, as I neared the haulout area, I heard another Prothonotary Warbler singing just around the corner, on a small tributary that flows into the creek area I was kayaking. So I decided to check it out. As soon as I rounded the bend, this little guy was sitting on a log that was lying in the water. As you can see, his mouth was stuffed with grass and moss that he had just pulled from the log:


Prothonotary Warbler with nesting materials


This image is a good example of one of the beauties of shooting from a kayak: sitting in a kayak, you are at water level, making for some great compositions at the subject’s level … giving one the sense of truly being in the subject’s little world. After a few seconds of watching me, the warbler flew to a nearby dead tree stump that was at one end of the log and standing in the middle of the creek. He quickly disappeared into a cavity in this stump:


Prothonotary Warbler entering tree cavity


No sooner than he had disappeared, out pops his head, sans nesting material:


Prothonotary Warbler exiting tree cavity


Prothonotary Warbler exiting tree cavity


He then flew back to the log, and began singing his wonderful song, as if I weren’t even there. This brings me to reason #2: sitting low in the water tends to makes one less threatening to the wildlife. Thus, wildlife is often more accepting of you as you wander about their space:


Prothonotary Warbler singing


After this experience, I now have another planned stop on my kayak outings at this location, with a great view of the parents feeding the young warblers! All of this action was photographed at very close range. It is quite unbelievable how close you can get to many of the subjects (the recorded camera data for these images shows I was from 12 to 30 feet from the subject for all of the above images). And being close to the subject, combined with using a wide-open aperture, throws the background into a pleasing blur, placing more emphasis on the subject. Oh, and one more advantage of shooting from a kayak: this is the fun way to get some exercise. Now you know why I enjoy shooting from a kayak!


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