Mid-summer, I started putting together a floating rig for a “low rider water cam.” I wanted to get as low to the water as I possibly could for a “duck’s eye view”.
I started with a one-person inflatable boat and cut the floor chamber out of it so I could surround myself with it like an inner tube. I strapped a wood platform across the bow, bolted the tripod head to it, and covered the whole setup with camouflage netting. I mounted the camera, lifted the rig over my head, and carefully eased myself into the pond. Our pond is artesian fed and extremely cold so I wore a wet suit. My arms rested on the side of the raft and I could walk on the bottom or kick myself around the pond. I was low and mobile.
I started going out with the camera in July on some of the hottest days of the summer but didn’t have much luck with wildlife showing up. I’d stay out for 2-3 hours, waiting, and took a book to while away the time. Then I hit the jackpot. One sunny morning, I had three hours with a group of baby ducks, a heron hunting along the shore, a mother wood duck and her young, cedar waxwings, a king bird, a kingfisher, and these four young mallards, bottom dipping for food.
I probably have a hundred shots of ducks tilting to reach the bottom but none so perfectly balanced, lit, and timed, or from such a low angle as DUCKTAILS. It was a lucky morning and the perfect christening of “the low rider water cam.”