How better to spend a calm and sunny August Sunday than pottering around on the water?
The water in question was Underbank Reservoir, only a few minutes drive from home. It’s a place I know well, having paddled there regularly when I first got my own canoe, and it’s perfect for a gentle float around.
It sits just outside the Peak District National Park, and even at low summer water levels, offers lovely views.
After my first trial trip solo in the cronje, I had decided to replace the stern thwart with a kneeling thwart to allow me to kneel in reasonable comfort closer to the middle of the boat. At 2′ back, it is really a bit too far back, but I am only likely to be using this boat for any distance with a good load in it, and that could be used to keep the trim even.
I had also decided not to fit additional buoyancy – it has built-in air tanks in stem and stern, and its intended use is for open or flat water touring, so extra air bags seem superfluous.
Gear loops were screwed in under the gunnels using P-clips – strong enough to provide attachment points for bags of gear and keep them in contact with the boat if we did ever go over.
Today’s trip was perfect for trying out another new toy – a DJI 3 drone I had bought secondhand. I have been wondering about drone photography and the use of an aerial perspective for some time, so having made a few test flights on land, it was time to fly it over water and use it as a camera platform for the first time.
I was really impressed at how steady the hover was – both stills and video looked like they were taken from a tripod, albeit a floating one 30′ high!
The elevated viewpoint and wide angle fixed lens on the camera makes for interesting composition. I like the reflected sky and the impression of depth in the landscape in this image.
Usually whenever I go for a paddle I have my camera with me. But on this occasion, I only had the drone, with its integral camera, and my iPhone.
In the past I just wouldn’t have bothered trying to make an image with the phone camera, but they have been getting better and better over the years, and I have made some good quality images with the iPhone 5. It doesn’t deal with high contrast very well, but this kind of lighting suits it and I’m pleased with the results.
The only drawback is that I have to take the phone out of its waterproof housing to make an image, because the case is very badly scratched.
I’ve lost several phones to the water over the years, so I took every care, and as soon as the image was made, the phone was back in the case and zipped in a pocket!
Having completed a gentle circuit of the reservoir, I drifted in the middle for a while, enjoying the calm weather and warm sunshine for a while.
One last image from the phone, and then it was back to the car and home.
Familiarity can breed content!