What canoe if ???

I do allot of Wildlife photography from my MR Indy. Wondering if anyone might suggest a better canoe and why for shooting nature??? thanks Steve

I’m not a serious photographer, but as
long as light is good, I get very good photos from a whitewater canoe. Oh, and good image stabilization and at least an f2.8 lens.

You could look at Wenonah’s fishing canoes, which are wider and steadier, but I don’t think you’ll gain much unless you go to a jon boat. I remember reading an article by an expert fly fisherman who routinely casted from a Mad River Horizon 17, a rather fast, tippy boat. It’s your adaptation more than the boat.

The ideal would be a canoe with as much initial stability as possible, to make for a steady photography platform. But there is more to using the canoe for photography than just the actual picture taking. The canoe still has to match the types of waters on which you’ll be using it, which might mean you need a more efficient paddling design that the wide, flat-bottomed “angler” canoes.

The plethora of image stabilization lenses on the market these days makes the stability of the platform a little less important.

I use Wenonah Vagabond
Hi Steve, for the conditions I photograph in, the Wenonah has been outstanding; very stable, lightweight for easy transport and easy to maneuver (handy while holding camera). And it’s been a good boat for long trips in the Everglades. I spent most of my photography time in shallow waters capturing wading birds, so I guess it all depends on the conditions you photograph in. Image stabilization is a good thing, which is why I chose Sony, having in-camera stabilization.

I have a blog specifically on photographing from a canoe, I try to share my learning experiences there.



I agree that you need a boat for the conditions you will be paddling in. Get too wide a boat, and it will limit how far you are willing to travel. Yes, image-stabil is probably the best thing to come out of photography in a long time (I still miss my old Nikons and especially slide film).

The Indy is a great all around boat
You’d probably get better help if you said what aspects of it you don’t like. Right now you’re in a solo that pretty much sits right smack in the middle of the compromise scale. So what performance aspects would like to change?

Not so much looking to change. I also use a Lotus and it can be a tad tippy. I am always going to photo from flat water so I don’t need a barge. I was just wondering having just started this about a year ago, what others would be using and why. Of course I find kneeling to be the most stable and keeping the Pelican case in front of me. I sometimes use a mono pod to help with longer photos. I shoot birds, gator, dolphin and just about all other Florida wildlife. Live near the gulf, but don’t venture out there in the canoe. Save that for a kayak and not this camera set up. thanks.

Beautiful shots, Connie NM

Get a Rudder!
I travel around the Midwest paddling my canoe and love to document my trip. The best tool I have is the rudder. When you have both hands on the camera the first thing that happens is you start to turn. This takes you off the shot or rushes the shot. In either case your odds of getting the shot you want are lessened. What ever you do Get A Rudder! Is solves much of this problem. I paddle a Clipper Sea 1 but a rudder on any canoe will get the job done. I do agree a very stable canoe makes a great shooting platform but if you can’t get there the shot won’t happen. I suggest a that the drawbacks of a fast canoe being less stable are overridden by the ability to get there. You have better chance of shooting nature on a 12 miles trip over a 6 mile trip. You can see some examples of my photography of nature from my canoe on EveryTrail.com. Just search for Paddlingfan1. http://www.everytrail.com/search.php?q=Paddlingfan1

Love the Indy
I also use the Indy as my primary photoboat and always carry a Nikon D100 and 180 prime lens in a bag.

The Indy seems perfect though the DY special and even the WWC-1 work fine. You have to be quick and purposeful in faster water developing an economy of motion.

Indy has a relatively low profile and handles nicely, light weight, easy portage. Stable enough to be poled and does well enough in white water.

Best advice is to play with positioning the Indy center seat to accomodate your weight and trim of empty boat. Floats in about 5" of water with my big load. Look for a height/ forward/ aft adjustable seat and the Indy will be a new boat.

I have Wenonah saddle in all my solos regardless of brand but my attempt to solo saddle the Indy was a bust. Set up for trim at my weight with a fixed position contoured cane seat.

Don’t give up the Indy!

Remember the Indy!

I have not found the problem of my ww
canoe turning under me to be enough to make me want a rudder. I took hundreds of photos in the 36 mile Slickrock Canyon of the Dolores, where a rudder would have been a PITA, and hardly any were affected by blurring or rotten composition.

With today’s cameras, one can be the Marshall Dillon of photography and get by just fine.

I am loving the Indy as well. Being rather new to photo canoeing, I tossed that question out to see if I could improve. Sounds like I don’t need to. Like I said I also use a Lotus but it can be tippy. The pro is the smaller boat takes me to smaller places. As well the Lotus has a hole in the Thwart for a sail rig. I use that to hold the mono-pod for shooting video. It acts like a tripod for me. Thinking of doing this to the Indy. Wont give up the indy, no worries there. Love the Indy.