My first outing with the big camera. A little nervous but the worst that could happen would be the boat flips and all my camera gear goes to the bottom of the creek. Ok, that’s what insurance is for. The morning was overcast, rain was in the forecast. Gray was out of town so I soloed this one with a launch at the South Entrance to Palmetto Leaves Regional Park, across from Kohls on Old St. Augustine Road. Never been here before. This is a VERY nice park, a real secret tucked away in a busy area. Restrooms, picnic tables, plenty of parking. The launch is a floating dock that kinda puts you right in the creek. For kayakers, the point of maximum instability is getting in and out of your boat. There is some serious rocking around if you are not careful, and any attempt to compensate usually results in a dump. I did not wish for this result. I took me about a minute to make the transition from the dock to the boat. As I sat on the dock with one leg in the boat, I kept thinking about moving my butt over to the seat in one smooth motion. Easy. I would go through the motion and halfway through I’d stop. The boat would start tipping side to side. Yikes! I recomposed myself and tried again. I wish I had a video of this.
Once in the boat I was off and running. My general rule is to secure the camera in the center compartment until needed. No need to snap it all shut but just have it covered to protect from paddle drips. I didn’t realize how little light is in the creeks. I had an idea from using my G10 that high ISO would be necessary. I also had no idea on where I could go with the ISO to retain the print fidelity I wanted. Remember, I’m usually shooting from a tripod at ISO 100, f/18. That wasn’t going to happen here unless I wanted a blurry mess. The happy medium seemed to be ISO 2500, f/9, 1/40-1/60 sec. While I was hoping for more depth of field and lower ISO, this is generally the ballpark I start with. I’m sure I’ll refine these setting as I start printing and develop more experience shooting.
The launch is on Big Davis Creek, which joins with Julington Creek. At the junction, I turned right to go upstream on Julington. What I love about this area is that there is NO development, no docks or lawns, or evidence of anything man-made. This is so rare especially in an area as beautiful as this. I am really surprised and relieved that these creeks are preserved. I had no idea of the beauty. I paddled until it began to rain. Just a sprinkle, but being the paranoid novice paddler, I was nervous that the deluge was moments away. In hindsight I should have stayed out there. The raindrops on the leaves and hitting the water were a delight.