Housings. Why use one?
Anyone can shoot from the sidelines of a river, but to set your images apart from the pack, try a housing. Whether your intention is to impress your bros, fill a blog after a multi-day or get published, housings afford you the opportunity to capture truly stand-out images from unique perspectives (not to mention protecting your investment from the elements). If you have a camera you like, find a dedicated housing for it as soon as you can.
Housings are specific to each camera body and can be constructed several ways: from flexible bags and inexpensive plastics to durable polycarbonate to the more professional systems made of aluminum for a lighter, stronger housing.
Housings have been used in surf photography for years but the benefits of shooting with a housing aren’t confined to the ocean. Applied to paddlesports, water housings can put the viewer at water level to the action, creating an engaging image that locks the viewers eye to a page, making every feature of the photograph seem that much bigger and bolder. From capturing a rarely seen angle of kayak fishing (see below) to, SUP photos, to creek boating, the quality of your paddling photos can only improve by adding a housing to your gear arsenal.
Personally, I use housings made by Sean LaBrie of SPL Water housings. Handmade in San Diego, Calif. since 1996, Sean’s all custom “splash” and video housings allow you to utilize any lens in your kit and offer near countless button/knob options, giving you access to any of the camera’s controls. Sean custom builds housings from aluminum material that work for any camera, fitting in any boat: sea kayaking or whitewater, kayak fishing or canoeing.
Robert Zaleski is Canoe Kayak’s art director. His photographs have been published across the print and digital media world. Zaleski’s Photo Shop blog runs monthly on Canoekayak.com