This weekend I nearly took my camera for a swim. I was having lunch with my boyfriend Pete at a lakeside patio when I noticed a female Common Merganser with babies on its back. I ran back to our cabin to get my camera, but by the time I returned she was too far for a photograph.
Canoe, Kayak, Sup Or Pedal Boat?
The place we were staying had free boat rentals. I made a split section decision to get in a canoe to try for a closer shot. Canoes are stable right? I sat in the front of the canoe and Pete sat at the back and did most of the paddling. Initially, everything went smoothly and within minutes we were in photo range of the Merganser.
The water was quite rough with waves from nearby boat wakes and I was having a hard time holding my camera still. I noticed that the canoe felt extremely tippy, but I was concentrating on trying to get the shot.
The Canoe has a Leak!
At some point I looked down and realized the canoe was filling up with water. This was about the same time that the Merganser swam right past our canoe and two of the babies hopped on her back. The canoe was swaying precariously, but I just had to get the shot. She’s right there! This is the type of thing you could wait years to see.
When I look back through my pictures, 97% of the shots are blurry or of the sky. The boat was so tippy, it was nearly impossible to get a shot. My frustration levels were rising when the canoe suddenly leaned far to the left. So far that water starting pouring in over the side! Pete yelled,
We’re going to flip, lean the other way!
Get Me To Shore!
We came within inches of flipping the canoe, but somehow managed to get it upright it again. At this point, I decided the situation was way too risky and that I didn’t care if I hadn’t gotten the shot. It was time to get to shore – immediately!
Pete dropped me off at the nearest shoreline and I ran through someone’s yard to get to the road where I could walk back to where we were staying. My heart was racing – that was seriously a close call!
Last summer before I bought my DSLR, I would regularly bring my superzoom camera out on the water on my standup paddleboard. I always carried the camera in a dry bag and carefully planned my outings. I never had any issues.
This time I went out on the water without any type of dry bag or waterproof casing. I made a spontaneous decision in the heat of the moment. I mean how often do you see a Common Merganser with babies on its back?!
Despite the close call, I’m sure I will be tempted to bring my camera out on the water again. Next time I’m choosing the pedal boat and definitely bringing a dry bag with me.
Have you ever taken your camera out on the water? Tell us your story in the comments below ↓