I’m a native Floridian, born and raised in Jacksonville and pretty much stayed out of the water. We have easy access to a river, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean, plus hundreds of nearby creeks and lakes, but I never owned a boat and rarely did I venture into water based activities. Having spent a lot of time photographing in national parks across the US and longing for new exotic places, it suddenly occurred to me that there is a lot to see and do right outside my door. Isn’t this the usual case with most things, we have to go somewhere new and far away (often at great effort and expense) to find adventure?

My landscape photography interests focuses on trees. I’m usually on a trail or a dirt road exploring and photographing. I’ve been to several creeks and photograph on the banks or a crossing bridge. I was always curious about what lay beyond what I could access because these areas are¬†profuse with different trees and vegetation. Recently I mentioned to my photo buddy Gray Quetti that we should get kayaks so we could find some different places to shoot. He expressed some serious interest in trying this out so we hired a guide (outfitter and naturalist John Pemberton) to take us out. Our first outing was on Thomas Creek and from that point we were hooked.

First paddle on Thomas Creek

First paddle on Thomas Creek

Gray did a ton of research on kayaks for photography. We both went for sit-on-top fishing kayaks, I went for the Jackson Cuda 12. We purchased at our local store, Black Creek Outfitters. There’s a lot of information available online on kayak selection. The best advice is to buy from someone who can advise and let you try out several models. Overall I’m very pleased with my boat. Gray ended up buying a trailer which makes it easy for me when we paddle together. I also can transport my kayak on my roof rack after installing a Yakima Sweet Roll cradle.

Doug on Cuda 12

Doug on Cuda 12 photo by Gray Quetti

Our adventure begins!