How did you become a photographer?

I started taking pictures at air shows and I knew I needed better gear. I joined a group of amateur photographers and we pushed each others’ skills.

Then, I fell in love with outdoor photography. I chased every critter willing to sit still long enough for a photo. My father encouraged me to enter the Outdoor Alabama photo contest and I took third place. Since then, I’ve placed first and had my photography featured in their annual calendar.

Why kayak fishing?

I went into a kayak shop looking for a kayak to carry my camera gear. I wanted to get closer to wildlife. The guy at the shop asked if I could shoot a shoal bass article he was writing, and I jumped at the chance. That was the beginning of a long run including publishing articles, videos and more pictures than I can remember.

Landing three covers for Kayak Angler magazine is my biggest trophy. This year, my YouTube channel passed one million views. Who would have dreamed all from a chance visit to a kayak shop?

What was your toughest shoot?

My first shoot was in the Keys. We spent six days in brutal winds with voracious bugs. To top it off, I was sick as a dog. I have no idea my temperature, but at one point I remember drifting off in my kayak thinking, “They’ll find my body sooner or later.”

The last hour of the last day, the wind calmed, the sky lit up beautifully and I was able to get two of my favorite photos.

The last hour of the day. The wind calmed and the sky lit up beautifully. | Photo: Chris Funk
The last hour of the day. The wind calmed and the sky lit up beautifully. | Photo: Chris Funk

Describe your favorite location.

Undoubtedly, the Okefenokee Swamp. The fishing is great, scenery beautiful and there’s very limited cellular service.

I love the solitude and wildness of the black water and there are enough gators to remind me I’m not at the top of the food chain. It has everything a photographer needs: flora, fauna, scenic backdrops and one of the few dark sky locations in the eastern United States.

Share a photography hack.

I keep two cameras, one with a telephoto and one with a wide-angle lens, in separate drybags.

When I need the long lens or short lens, I can grab one without risking the other.

What’s your favorite camera gear?

Out of all of my gear, the one thing I would not want to be without is a 70-200mm, 2.8 lens. It allows me to have a little reach but still remain light enough to hand hold and shoot.

It is also fast enough to allow me to shoot early and late in lower light. I might argue over my other gear, but I’d fight for my 70-200.

Give advice for amateur photographers.

My biggest nitpick is the horizon. Make sure the horizon is straight unless it is a crazy image and the horizon needs to be at an angle. Every photo editing software has a straighten feature; learn how to use it.

The last hour of the day. The wind calmed and the sky lit up beautifully. |
Photo: Chris Funk

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