You don’t have to be swimming out at Pipeline in Hawaii to be a water photographer. I’ve shot everywhere from the neighborhood pool to the freezing water in the Arctic. One thing I’ve learned is that water perspectives certainly are interesting and engaging ones. Here’s 5 tips to get you started.
1. Don’t use your camera as a crutch
Many people are deterred by thousand dollar setups but in reality you just want the equipment that makes sense for your situation. For starters, anyone with an iPhone can easily get a case like Watershot to make your phone waterproof. Action cams are small and cost effective for water use. Sony makes a great one. I also use soft plastic Outex cases for easy use. Don’t let expensive setups keep you from getting your start.
2. Chase waterfalls
Don’t limit yourself just shooting waves ocean imagery. Keep in mind that lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are great locations to get water shots. Bring a lightweight small water housing for hikes and situations where you might be able to get a water angle.
3. Don’t sleep on it
People gravitate towards images with beautiful light. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot in the water because of all the crazy reflections. Unless you find truly clear waters then I would recommend making the extra effort to get up early or stay out late.
4. Get some flippers!
Fins are key to maneuvering around in the ocean especially if you have a camera in your hand. They make the world of difference.
5. Jump on in
As humans we crave warmth and comfort, not necessarily freezing cold water. We tend to forget that some of our best stories are when we ignore these hesitations and aren’t afraid to get a little wet. It’s great to shock your senses. When in doubt, go swimming!
Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer and artist, based in Central Coast California, whose work is layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects. Burkard’s images are punctuated by energized landscapes and moments of bliss, by adventure seeking and the lifestyle that ensues, by movement and intuitive light-working capabilities. With ocean as his main muse, Burkard has consistently captured this subject in timeless and expansive photographic impressions, utilizing the tool of surfing to approach the ocean’s intricate personality and then extending out to include the human personalities that draw meaning from this same source. Searching for wild, remote destinations and offbeat landscapes, Burkard portrays the humble placement of the human in contrast to nature.