BRENT PENNINGTON Kayaking in Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013.

It’s 93* outside, which means that I start sweating as soon as I look out the window. The air outside is sticky and saturated 24-hours a day; even the nights don’t cool down and the breeze, if you can find it, is just hot, sticky air in motion.

These are the dog days of summer. I don’t get out much in them, haven’t done much shooting at all in the past two weeks because of it. But even with my dislike of sticky heat, it finally gets to me, which is why I loaded the kayak onto the car the other afternoon and headed up to Lacakawanna State Park.

In case there was any question, I was a sweaty mess by the time the kayak was loaded and there was no doubt in my mind that paddling would only worsen my condition. Which is one of the reasons that I left the gear at home.

Sometimes it’s the heat, sometimes it’s the situation, or the other things on my mind, or just the need to paddle/hike/walk without the distraction of the camera. These times happen and the camera gets left at home. But at the same time, I am a photographer, so being completely camera-less makes me feel, well, naked. So while Oly stayed home, I did grab my fiancee’s old Canon point & shoot before I left.

BRENT PENNINGTON Kayaking in Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013. BRENT PENNINGTON Kayaking in Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013. BRENT PENNINGTON Kayaking in Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013.

It stayed in storage for over an hour, until I had paddled from the main boat launch, around the south end of the lake and back to the bridge, passing under it and heading up Kennedy Creek inlet. By then the sun was just starting to set, the light had become warmer, and the shadows dominated the inlet.

I pulled it out and shot a few frames of the still water, of small pools of orange light that filtered through the forest. Then of the a Great Blue Heron back out on the lake, a few shots down the lake, before it was time to go.

BRENT PENNINGTON Kayaking in Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013.

The photos here are all JPEGs, shot in manual mode on a Canon PowerShot A590 that’s got to be four years old. It’s your basic, tiny-sensor, plastic body, unimpressive lens p&s. But at the moment it was all the camera I wanted and, as I saw it, offered these perks:

  • I was able to leave the E-M5 & lenses at home
  • which means I didn’t have to drag the Pelican case along with me
  • which means I took the scupper plugs out of the kayak so that the piss-warm lake water came up in from time to time
  • I was able to shoot one-handed
  • I was able to focus on paddling and relaxing instead of managing a camera
  • I didn’t have to worry about sweating all over my Olys
  • and if I dropped the damn thing into the lake it wouldn’t much matter

There’s a nice kind of freedom that comes with all that. And it felt good to just get out and paddle, to exist in that realm where the air and water are almost the same temperature, are almost just as wet, and the two almost start to blend together.

BRENT PENNINGTON Great Blue Heron near Kennedy Creek inlet during 93* heat on the evening of 17 July 2013.

I made some nice little captures that, I think, show the heat and humidity. That capture these dog days.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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