SUP photography is as popular as paddling stand up boards itself. Capturing the action to remind of those good times is a way to keep those memories more vivdily intact. Not everyone is lucky enough to have their own personal photographer on hand when out for a float though. Even McConks doesn’t enjoy that privilege. Plus, even if you did, then the logistics of arranging a shoot is too much of a headache for the majority – especially when paddling time is at a premium.
That said every now and again the urge to shoot yourself does crop up. With the technology and gadgets available today it’s much easier to capture a magic SUP moment. GoPro and other assorted action cams ensure the process is much simpler. Yet there are still a few things to consider. Mounting options, how you SUP and general weather conditions for instance. Here are few tips on capturing tip top action cam POV shots.
Actions cams – perfect for SUP.
There are literally hundreds of action cams available. Scour the usual suspect auction and retail websites and you’ll no doubt discover them all. In terms of what works, however, we’re pretty confident when we say only a handful are really fit for purpose.
The main thing with SUP shots is the paddler in question has his/her hands full with a paddle. Faffing about with shutter buttons is a pain in the backside. Therefore any cam should have a time lapse phot function. Ideally you should be able to alter the time delay between each shot. Setting the speed to 0.5s means paddlers just hit go and then leave. This does mean at the end of each session you’ll have to wade through 1000s of pics just to find that one magic shot. But better that than miss a moment!
Something else to consider is the quality of the image. Not all action cams are the same. The more expensive your chosen action cam is (usually) the better quality an image you’ll get. And also functionality.
SUP cam mount options.
There are multiple types of mounting options for action cams when SUPing – either on your board, attached to your paddle or dotted about your person. Believe us when we say we’ve tried all of them, and for us there’re two mounting placements that work the best for SUP action shots.
Attaching the cam to your paddle shaft is the first. Flymount camera mounts are by far the most durable and reliable option. Simply clamp to the paddle shaft, a little way from the blade, and tighten. Riders can then paddle as normal, throwing the paddle to the side or up in the air to grab the shot. If you spot something interesting in the water then you can also dip the paddle in to try and photograph it.
The additional weight added to your paddle can make it feel unwieldy. Also camera lenses are prone to water droplets forming right where the action is being captured. There’s nothing worse than inspecting your work only to find that killer image is ruined by moisture. Regular wipes and dips during your session can help avoid this.
We will add you don’t need a Flymount. A handle bar mount that comes in the action cam bundle you choose can also work. But we do feel the durable nature of a Flymount makes it a worthy action cam accessory.
Windsurfing harness mount.
Windsurfing harness mounts can be use for SUP photography – especially in waves. It may look nuts heading out with a windsurfing harness attached and an elongated pole sticking out the back, but it can deliver some great action shots.
Looking like you’re being remote controlled from the beach this mounting option isn’t great on flat water as the camera looks straight down on rider. When riding a wave in surfing mode, however, things look up. Due to the angles, SUP surfers contort themselves into – bottom turns and off the lips for instance – it’s a great angle for capturing lip hit shots.
Negatives include not being able to switch the camera off easily if needed due to it being affixed above your head. You need to fetch the harness off completely to get at the camera so care must be taken not to drop it in the drink. Also, the fact you’ll be riding with a windsurfing harness is an odd sensation.
The nose (or tail) or your SUP.
Faffing about with camera mounts such as the above mightn’t be to everyone’s taste. The good news is many stand up paddle boards (hard and inflatable) comes with inbuilt mounting options. Usually up front on the nose, but sometimes on the tail riders can affix their cams and just leave.
Playing about with different camera angles is best here. If the cam’s shooting angle is too high the shots will feature more sky than possibly wanted. And with the sun out those photos will be too bright. If the cam’s shooting angle is too low then you’ll be left with a whole load of feet, ankle and shin shots!
Practice and learning.
Some think simply mounting a GoPro and hitting the button will yield amazing results. Unfortunately, this usually results in disappointment. As with everything in life you need to learn how to use an action camera for best results.
Other things to consider are things like weather conditions. If it’s a sunny day then great! Whilst you’ll certainly be able to shoot during overcast conditions the picture quality won’t be the best.
Remember to over exaggerate and do everything twice as big as you normally would. The more dynamic you can be the better your photographs will look. Action cams have a tendency to flatten off the action so you need to compensate for this. And if you’re trying to shoot a non-POV subject then remember to get close. How close depends on how much you trust the person in question!
POV shooting top tips
- Try a range of mounting options until you find what you’re comfy with.
- Practice using your cam mounted in your chosen spot.
- Use an action cam with time lapse photo setting.
- Aim for hi res images for best quality.
- Shoot on good weather days when possible.
- Ride dynamically so the action captured is killer.
- Get close to external subjects you’re planning on shooting.
- Use software to remove things like mounting poles from the final image.
Check out more SUP hacks here.