How do you take the most beautiful photos while canoeing?

Written by

Lian van Doorn

Reading time 5 minutes

Photography is like a time machine that freezes memories, allowing you to reminisce about that wonderful day many years later. But taking photos from a canoe can be tricky. After all, you need both hands! Still keen to take some snapshots? We’ll give you some tips to take the best photos and... to prevent your phone from falling in the water.

Photos remind us of the people, places, outings and activities we love. They help us remember the past and awaken our creativity. A canoe is the ideal place to take a photo. Sitting in a canoe, you’re virtually at eye level with all the animals living on and around the water. That gives you the perfect opportunity to take amazing shots. But there’s more: your canoe will take you to places you can’t reach on foot.

But how do you make sure your shots stand out? And how do you take a sharp photo while rocking on the water? Our brief basic training teaches you how to manoeuvre this cool little ‘water plane’ and make the best use of your phone or camera to take striking shots. How to create an enviable feed, you ask?

1. The early bird catches the worm...

... also in photography. So waking up early is the key to success. Light is your main ally. Soft, warm morning light creates mind-blowing images. If you wake up early, you’re also more likely to encounter fewer people. Not a morning person? No worries, sunset is the ideal moment to capture light and take romantic shots. Bonus tip: when the water reflects the sunlight, the light can appear as white patches on your photo. You can prevent this by underexposing by 1/3 or 1/2 stops.

2. Look around

On and around the water there’s plenty to see. That makes photography on a canoe so special: there’s something for everyone. So, soak it all up and discover what makes you smile. Do you love birds? Or maybe you’re more into plants or the clouds in the sky? Do you prefer focusing on the details or the bigger picture? Are you keen on getting a good shot of the water? Or should the water not take centre stage? Find out what makes your heart skip a beat, concentrate on that, let your creativity run wild and... There you go, you’ve got the perfect shot!

3. Try different perspectives

Keen to make an impact with your photo? Why not choose a completely different angle? Let’s be honest, everyone looks at the world from eye level, so surprise others (and yourself too!) with a photo taken from a completely different perspective. Lie down in your canoe, for example, to capture fellow canoeists and to stand - erm, lie - face to face with animals. That will make the subject of your photo look bigger and bolder (not to mention the added bonus of free stretching exercises...).

4. Practice the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a commonly used composition rule in photography. It enables you to take more striking, beautiful and interesting shots. So, how should you go about it? Divide your image into three parts, both horizontally and vertically, creating a grid with nine equally sized squares. Then place your photo’s key subject on one of the intersections of the grid to capture your viewers’ attention.

5. Wander and get lost

When you set out to explore the Dutch countryside, you often end up in the same spots as all other travellers. That’s what happens when you follow your travel guide, just like everybody else. Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to see the wonders of nature in the Netherlands. But for every gem we all know, there is another one waiting to be discovered... So why not wander and get lost, intentionally, to capture new landscapes and hidden treasures?

6. Be patient

Time races by far too quickly. But not when it comes to capturing landscapes, nature or wild animals. Nature photography requires a lot of patience, because you have no control over the scene you are shooting. Adopt nature’s pace: slow down, soak up the tranquillity and don’t keep your eyes glued to your camera, but look around instead. However, don’t forget to take action when faced with that unforgettable moment, like the light shining beautifully onto the dragonfly’s wings, that wonderful glistening of the water or a once-in-a-lifetime sunset.

7. Photograph your canoe

You’re canoeing, so why not make that canoe the main focus of your shot? Capture the beautiful surrounding landscape, including the front of your canoe, to break up the shot, whilst creating depth and context.

8. Capture movement

You’re probably familiar with silky soft seaside photos and milky white waterfall shots. Freezing water or capturing flowing water... It seems complex and a job for professionals only, but in reality, it’s all in the right shutter speed. When you photograph water with a long shutter speed, it seems like the water is moving. Keen to take a photo of children playing in the water? Then you should use a short shutter speed, which allows you to capture the action beautifully. A long shutter speed makes sure the water looks ‘frozen’ on the shot.

Lian van Doorn

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Een tikje wild

Liever into the wild? Ga dan voor het gevoel van ultieme vrijheid. Kanokamperen is kanoën én kamperen, dus een optimale natuurbeleving. Het staat synoniem met avontuur outdoor, overgoten met een sausje survival.

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