Learning SUP Photography – Part 1

I’m going to put up a big post at some point on a shoot I did for Red Paddle Co, they make inflatable stand up paddle boards, and since I first got to try one out I’ve been thinking of creative uses for an SUP involving photography. Now I’ve finally got my hands on one and I’ll be keeping the site up to date on the progress I’m making as I start using it properly as a photo platform.

One of the first photo's from a days shooting, it pays to get up for the early start. ISO 100, 28mm f4, 1/640
One of the first photo’s from a days shooting, it pays to get up for the early start. ISO 100, 28mm f4, 1/640

So far I’ve only had a couple of outings on mine, one up the Taw estuary in North Devon which took me around moored boats and under road and pedestrian bridges on very flat river and tidal estuary.

A photo from the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition, passing under the pedestrian bridge near Fremington Quay, ISO 100, 2.77mm, f2.8, 1/500
A photo from the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition, passing under the pedestrian bridge near Fremington Quay, ISO 100, 2.77mm, f2.8, 1/500

My second outing was in the sea and took me out to a local landmark, the Mewstone near Wembury bay in South Devon.

It doesn't look that far out but paddlign against the wind can be hard work. ISO 100, 2.77mm, f2.8, 1/1050
It doesn’t look that far out but paddling against the wind can be hard work. ISO 100, 2.77mm, f2.8, 1/1050

So far I’ve only taken my GoPro with me on the board, being so small that it fits in my pocket is a huge advantage but after having the DSLR and housing combo available for so long it’s always a bit of a bummer not to have the flexibility of changing settings and using different focal lengths.

I’m hoping my new port for my 70-200mm lens will arrive this week, if so I hope to try it out in the surf on Sunday, once I get the hang of it I think the SUP as a photography platform will really come into it’s own, the ability to get quality shots from the full zoom range of the lens from a slightly elevated angle should offer a really unique opportunity for some creative shots.

The first thing that struck me was how much even a light wind can affect the speed you can paddle, I’ve done plenty of kayaking in the past but because you’re standing up and effectively acting like a sail you have to really put your back into it when going up wind on one of these things, and any even minor chop is a right pain, so it’s probably just going to be the small glassy days that the SUP photography techniques get put to work in the surf, the majority of photo opportunities might even be on the many rivers and estuaries of South Devon.

If this has whet your appetite have a look at the next post in the series:

Learning SUP Photography – Part 2 – Making An SUP Anchor

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