From Canoe Camp

I love canoeing. It has the best of everything about camping. You get a peaceful paddle down a meandering river, interrupted at times with the roller-coaster excitement of rapids. I love the feeling of the water gently pulling me along while the bottom of the river whizzes by. It’s like the description of being in space where you’re traveling faster than a bullet, but it feels like you’re standing still.

From Canoe Camp

On previous trips, I worried more about the safety of the camera, so I didn’t bring one, or I kept it more packed away so it wasn’t accessible. That was a mistake I won’t do again. So this time, when taking pictures on the water, I had to pay careful attention to my equipment.

I only brought the 50mm lens, to make it easier to carry. I put my camera (Canon Digital Rebel) in a smaller padded bag that fit nicely into a large ziplock. This would give me some peace of mind that it would at least float if we managed to upset the canoe. This meant that it took a little more time to set up the camera when I was ready to get the shot. That also meant that sometimes I missed the shot I wanted because I couldn’t get it ready in time. I would have taken more pictures if I had the camera more handy. I’d like to invest in one of those water-proof/shock-proof/freeze-proof cameras. I would certainly put it to the test.

To get the shots I wanted, it followed a general pattern:

  • paddle hard ahead of the subject
  • spin the canoe sideways so I don’t have to twist too much and set the canoe off balance
  • drift a bit and prep the camera while my son keeps an eye on where we we’re going
  • take a few shots
  • scramble to put the camera away and grab my paddle before hitting the rapids
From Canoe Camp

An approach I’d like to try in the future is to find a spot on shore, just past a set of rapids where I know the canoes will pass close. Then I’d just wait for them, using a longer lens if needed.


One of the unique things about water is the way it holds heat. During the day, the water heats up, along with the air. It stays warm over most of the night while the air cools considerably. In the morning, as the sun is rising, the temperature difference causes a thick mist or fog to form in the valley around the water that makes for surreal surroundings.

From Canoe Camp

This year’s trip, we started on a Friday evening from Fish Creek Park in Calgary, just North of Highway 22X. We canoed to an island which is at, I believe the 13 km mark on this map. There’s a fair amount of fallen wood, and a well used fire pit. It’s a nice spot. The river at the back side of the island is slow and deep enough for a swim. Especially at the downstream end of the island.

We finished off the trip Saturday by traveling to McKinnon Flats where we met our pickup team. We had a beautiful hot, sunny day.

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