Okefenokee Photography Gear Tips and Precautions

The primitive conditions of the Okefenokee Swamp alone make it a challenging endeavor for a multi-night excursion. And if photography is one of your goals, advance planning is even more important.

Canoe kayak trail directional marker sign for the Round Top Shelter. Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia USA. March 10, 2022 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

The watery environment of the Okefenokee requires extra precaution. Since blackwater swamps are slow and still, flipping your canoe or kayak in the Okefenokee isn’t a threat to equipment. But a popup thunderstorm, especially in the spring, is always a high probability. My photo gear is kept in a rugged, watertight case. I always put my camera into the case when getting into, or out of the canoe. When out of its case, the camera strap is always around my neck while paddling, or attached to the canoe seat by a carabiner (I do the same for my binoculars and GPS).

My photo gear packed into a watertight case.

Obviously, there are no power outlets in the midst of the swamp to recharge those spent batteries and there are no camera stores to purchase extra memory cards. I bring 5 fully charged batteries on an extended trip. The less you use the LCD screen to view your photos, the longer the batteries last. So wait until you get home to go through the photos (they’ll also be more of a surprise if you wait!). I also turn off the Bluetooth connection with my phone for geotagging the photos. Not only is the reception horrible in the swamp and cause incorrect tagging, but it is a huge drain on the batteries.

In addition to the camera and lenses, I keep some lens wipes, the rain cover, and polarizing filters in the case. I keep a spot empty for my binoculars and a backup battery for my iPhone. Some plastic bags and a small towel are also handy during light rainstorms. But if the rain is hard enough, just put the camera away and try to enjoy the landscapes without worrying over your camera!

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