Video: Photographer Captures Kayaker Running Waterfall at Night

Australian photographer Krystle Wright uses a drone-mounted camera flash to make unique waterfall photos in the PNW

“With the way that the world is these days, there are so many images that are being produced, you really have to push hard to create something that is unique.” —Krystle Wright, photographer

In April I arrived home from a morning run on the Little White Salmon to the sight of three unfamiliar vehicles in my driveway. Unsurprising. When you’re a kayaker in the Columbia River Gorge you get used to a steady stream of transient river folks occupying your couches and floor space while they get their fix on the spring-fed whitewater of the PNW.

But these visitors were a little different than our average river-gypsy couch surfers.

Krystle Wright, a photographer for Canon Australia, was here to photograph Eric Boomer on some local waterfalls. Our backyard had become a staging area for a serious photographic operation. Krystle’s plan was to use the new Canon 1DX Mark II to photograph Boomer paddling waterfalls at dusk. Using a flash mounted to a drone with a laser sighting system, she would get the perfect image of a kayaker free falling into the abyss.

With only one kayaker to shoot, however, her chances of getting that perfect image were low. Intrigued by the idea of a laser-sighted drone, figured I would join Boomer for some night kayaking at Spirit Falls (30 feet) and Hamma Hamma Falls (65 feet). An all-star crew of over 7 paddlers rallied to see what this crazy idea was all about.

Rush Sturges appeared in the shot of the trip by launching a lean boof off of Spirit Falls. Dave Fusilli ran 60-foot Hamma Hamma Falls at 9:30pm in pitch blackness. Pizza and beer followed successful runs from everyone.

Check out the video above to hear Wright’s perspective on the shoot and to see the best images that came out of it.

More from C&K

Behind the Lens: Krystle Wright

Photo Essay | Elwha Unplugged: Source to sea through the largest dam removal project in history

Video: Paddlers on the Little White Salmon in 1993