Float and shoot.
One of my favourite places to capture 360-degree tours is on the water.
Choosing a mode of transport
The obvious choice would be to use a boat. Though in line with our Environment Charter, I wanted something greener.
A canoe seemed like a good option, but it was difficult to find a good mount point for the camera. It was the same story in a kayak. In both instances, a Trek Pack proved problematic due to the movement of my torso and arms when paddling.
Then I discovered stand up paddle boarding (SUP’ing).
Inflatable SUP’s are easy to transport, very stable in Grade I conditions (inc. small ocean waves), and paddling does not move your torso anywhere near as much as when sitting in a canoe or kayak. Thus, making a Trek Pack perfectly suited to SUP tours.
There are three basic types of stand up paddle boards: surf, allround, and flatwater/race.
For shooting 360-degree tours, I use a Model II board produced by the UK company Two Bare Feet.
The board is now discontinued but Two Bare Feet still sell many similar boards under different names.
It is a very stable, inflatable board that can be rolled away and packed into a large bag with rucksack straps. I carry it on and off trains with ease. Being inflatable it is also lightweight (something I don’t take for granted when carrying around locks, white water, etc.).
Note: Avoid cheap plastic paddles. You’ll soon regret the small amount of money you will have saved over a more rigid carbon-hybrid paddle. I did!
The board and paddle have lasted me 3 years, and counting. I really can’t fault it. Though I’d recommend hiring one first to get a feel for what’s out there.
Dry bag everything
The GoPro Fusion, when camera doors are closed, is waterproof to 5m, though (thankfully) I have not had chance to test this. Famous last words.
Other electronics you carry – spare batteries, car keys, etc. – are probably not waterproof.
I’d recommend something to protect them. Good dry bags are useful for a multitude of purposes beyond carrying electronics. I use Exped Dry bags.
The boring stuff
- Wear a personal floatation device (PFD). I use a Red Paddle Co Airbelt PFD
- Make sure you are allowed on the waterway (in the UK you’ll need a Waterways license)
- Check the conditions before you set out. Especially if you’re shooting in open water.
- Pack for all conditions. Water, sunscreen, snacks, suitable clothing. Assume you’ll be gone for 3 times longer than expected, and that the weather will change.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
It might sound obvious, but speaking to RNLI volunteers it’s shocking how many people do none of these things!
Call for Paddlers
I’m looking for Trekkers to help capture new 360-degree water tours over the autumn, before the weather really turns.
I can supply the waterproof 360-degree camera kit. You just need to supply the effort and mode of transport.
If you have a great place on the water you want to capture a virtual tour of for others to enjoy, please apply to the Trek View camera loan program today – I have Trek Packs ready for Trekkers.