16 April 2014

Travel with camera gear

With two expeditions planned in the near future I have been busy organizing myself.
My main focus for the new season will be improving my photography skills and trying to capture higher quality footage.
I believe that the best talent will shine with any half decent camera equipment and since I don't fall into that category I am justifying my average efforts with the lack of equipment.
The saying "A good tradesmen doesn't blame his tools" comes to mind tho...

On my previous trips my footage has been limited to point-and-shoot style cameras.
Occasionally I wished for higher quality (even if my use is almost exclusive to computer screen display) and specifically more control over focus and exposure.
Also my on-board of kayak footage on last year's trip to Sweden was limited to hand-held angles; I want to have the flexibility of varied angles for on-deck camera mounts.
I need light and compact.
At home I have a garage full of custom made deck mounts that often take too long to set up and are way too bulky for international travel.
I drool over footage taken with Steady-cams and dollies while I realize that it would require more than a one-man-band to schlep and use that gear.
After 5 different prototypes I have finally come up with something I can transport with me without having to pay excess luggage when flying.
I can now set up my system to any kayak deck within minutes (no custom molded carbon base for each specific location) and have footage steady enough, even in surf environment.
The mount is made of carbon and Kevlar plates to be light, but stiff enough to prevent wobbles when extended higher up.
Here is a sample short video of the angle I can get

While I am confident on my tinkering I am not sure how well it will really work for weeks of continuous use. Stuff breaks and it does, fittings come loose and carbon snaps when hit hard.
Next week's one-week trip will be a good test before I fly to Scandinavia with my rig.

 My biggest challenge: recharging batteries where there are no wall power outlets.
8 different types of batteries are really going to be a handful. Again I need the lightest set up possible.
Here in Australia I just shove my gear in the car and then set up at launch. Flying with my proposed equipment is however a very different story..
There will be a compact solar panel on deck during the day and this time I am trying a Lithium battery pack to power my chargers at night.
Ah, the good old days of film cameras :-)

PS no images are available yet, until I am satisfied with my work.


  1. Replies
    1. not sure what you are asking here but yes, the camera mount can be positioned around the kayak to get different angles.

  2. I was hoping that I'll finally be able to see one of your mounts with which those incredible angles are achieved in your videos

    1. Jani, I am still working on the mount and just last night I tinkered further to improve the rig and allow more flexibility. It ain't pretty and not sure if will all work...

  3. I have a Powermonkey Extreme on my deck covered in a plastic bag, but it needs a lot of sunhours to charge up here in sweden.

    1. It seems that the Powermonkey has a 3W panel. I plan to use a 5W one and have it on deck during the day while I paddle to charge a Lithium battery pack. Wish me lots of sunshine :-)

  4. Hi Gnarly, I'm trying the Orange Joos. Only one three days paddling, but it apparently works for cell phone and GoPro charges. Thanks for sharing! Have a good trip!

  5. Hi. Could you tell me how the camera is fixed? thank you

    1. it's a custom made mount specifically designed for my kayaks. I use carbon fibre and epoxy to create something that works well enough to minimize vibrations, but still weak enough to break off in case of an accident.


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