Saturday, January 12th, 2013...4:02 pm

Put a bit of colour in your paddling!

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Why am I writing this blog post? Simple! Greys and blacks are history; we are in a modern age where the cool kids are wearing bright sometimes hideous colours. But what do these colours mean to you?

This year more than ever paddling companies have released their kit in a whole new range of colours, some say this allows individuality, some say it is so more paddlers can colour code their kit and some simply hate it, but what how can the colour of your paddling kit effect you?

Outside of kayaking colour is used for many different purposes; symbolism and happiness are two of these seen around our world. In India colour is seen as a great importance to those with little or no money, they still dress in colourful outfits as believe it to be motivational and strongly believe it will bring happiness. Colour can be used to attract people to products and take on different meanings for example ‘Green’ means go, or good, safe; red on the other hand means stop, danger a colour of warning.

Colour is down to personal preference and will always mean different things to different people so what I am going to do is look at how your kit shows up from a photographers point of view.

Whether you’re buying a new kayak or cag, Helmet or BA colour should be considered. What do you want it for? For example a bright colour will show up on a river hence ‘safety Yellow’ where as a black or white helmet can often blend into the background or white water. Likewise with boats the darker the kayak the less it will stand out on the water.
When I have selected boats I have always looked at what shows up best on photos, I want to see photo’s of myself from events and paddling sessions, being noticed may be important to you if you are an up and coming paddler and want to be seen, obviously colour does not compromise natural talent and if you are good you will be seen anyway, but companies will want to see you doing your thing on the river or local play spot and good photos sell.

There has been a big surge in the sales of DSLR camera’s because paddlers want to capture their adventures and show their friends and the online community. Modern sensors are capable of capturing high speed action in all sorts of lighting conditions, the UK generally has dull weather, on an overcast day your DSLR’s auto focus will struggle with dull colours, you may have to increase the ISO so you can raise the shutter speed to catch that all important shot you are looking for. DSLR camera’s and all cameras for that matter struggle with light and dark and have to meter a scene if the sky is bright and foreground dark your camera will be trying to work out which is normal and how to balance out the photo, which part of the photo should it meter as correct. For example if your camera tried to meter its exposure for a mountain landscape it will often meter for the land overexposing the sky and wash out the detail on a snowy day it may do the opposite and expose for the snow making the sky very dark and under exposed.

It all boils down to what you want for your paddling photography. Do you want your camera to expose for the paddler and kayak not the water around them. If you wear dull colours your camera will most likely expose for the water which is white (ish) if it does this it will underexpose and darken your shots making you dark and often out of focus.

My advice therefore is to aim for bright colours such as yellow, bright green, red, brighter blue’s and orange. I also personally stick to single solid colours so there is more area for the autofocus to lock on to. Avoid light and dark colours especially white and pale colours, black and greys, I recommend the same when selecting your kit, if you want to be seen and want to be the star of some clear photos brighten yourself up this winter! Give those camera’s a chance.

Here are a few examples of what I mean

EJ Loop

Tom goddard C&K Front Cover

Pringle Loop

Dave wild

Bren Orton Airloop

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