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Float-ography 101
Glenn W. Wheeler

This article first appeared in Arkansas Wildlife Magazine


   Taking a float trip on one of the Natural State’s great streams this year?  Why not take the camera along…  There’s no telling what you might see.

   Float season is underway in Arkansas and thousands will be hitting the water to see the sights and experience nature at its finest.  Most will miss a great opportunity to capture this beauty to share with others, so consider taking your camera along on your next float trip.

Transporting your camera:

   Most folks treasure their camera and the thought of dropping it in the river makes their toenails curl.  But with a few simple precautions, everything should be fine.  There are several options for protecting your gear on the water, depending on how much and what kind of gear you have.

   Hard cases:  There are several brands of hard sided cases on the market that are totally waterproof, the most well known being Pelican® (www.pelican.com).  Many of these cases come with customizable foam inserts to protect your gear and are nearly indestructible.  They come in many sizes for the smallest of cameras, phones, GPS units, and so forth, to larger sizes for protecting larger gear or several large items.

    Soft cases:  For many years there have been all types of soft cases used on rivers, with “dry bags” being the most common.              Dry bags are typically pretty good, if packed and used correctly, but remember to pack your camera in with spare clothes or other items to protect it.  It is also a good idea to put your camera in a zip type bag or two for further insurance.  Even when packing my gear in my normal camera bag in rainy conditions, I often “double bag” the cameras and lenses in zip-lock type bags.  They are also great for film, batteries, filters, digital media and other essentials.  Zip-lock bags can be a photographer’s (or anyone on the river’s) best friend.  I also hang on to all the little “do not eat” silica packets that come in everything I buy from shoes to electronics.  On a moist day, I throw one in each zip bag to help with the humidity.

   Another great soft case option is waterproof camera bags.  One of my favorite that I currently use is the Lowepro® Dry Zone® series.  These bags are backpack style bags that are designed to carry and protect cameras.  The have great suspension systems for carrying comfort, are totally waterproof and float.  They also come in a high-visibility yellow, just in case it does take an unplanned trip down the river and you have to try and locate it.  Check out www.lowepro.com for more information.

   The long and short of it is; try to keep water and moisture away from your camera and lenses, protect them from shock such as being dropped, and put it back into whatever you are transporting it in when you’re not shooting. 

   Many of our rivers and streams are not only very scenic, but are also wildlife magnets.  Bring your camera along on your next float trip, take a few precautions and use care, and I’ll bet you come home with some great images.


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