About JK

Joe Kayaker is an amazingly handsome and and fit young man who takes wonderful photos. A terrific public speaker endowed with a charming personality, Joe Kayaker’s only flaw may be that he has no problem telling huge lies about his looks, age, talents, and personality.

In reality, Joe Kayaker is just another middle-aged guy with a kayak and a love of nature photography. He is not particularly good looking, or fit, although he can honestly say that he is more aerodynamic than most. Think bald. Also, he tends to be a bit of a wiseass. Get over it.

20 thoughts on “About JK

  1. Hi Joe, I am a Senior (80). My wife of 54 years and I love nature, camping, hiking etc.
    We love nature, and keep our yard as natural as possible for their benefit and home.

    Your photos are absolutely wonderful! How welcome they are in these stressful times.

    Keep up your excellent photography.
    Thanks, David (another baldy)

  2. I have admired your work on Flickr and on my Daily Ray from Sierra. Fantastic shots! I am looking to buy a camera, and even though the SONY DSLR-A350 that you cite on Flickr for some of your photos isn’t being sold any more, I’m looking to buy a used one based on your results. Are you still using the camera? Can you tell me what lenses you use with it, if so? Thanks so much if you have time to answer.

  3. Hi all. I hadn’t expected to find comments here, mostly because I didn’t expect anyone to actually read my “About JK” page. I’ll have to pay more attention.

    Michele, you know me too well, which is probably how you feel about it. : )

    Mr. and Mrs. Privette, thanks for checking out my stuff and for the compliment. It’s great to hear that you “youngsters” keep the faith. It’s especially good to hear about your yard. We need more folks like you folks. Stay well and keep enjoying every day. JK

  4. Colleen, Thanks for the compliments. I really do appreciate it.
    Okay, cameras and lenses. This will be a lengthy reply. Longer than most of my posts, probably. You might want to grab a cup of coffee.
    Let me start by telling you why I use Sony DSLR’s. It’s not because I think Sony makes a better product than the next guy. There are several good DSLR’s on the market. Nikon and Canon both make terrific cameras. I’ve been taking pictures a loooong time. My old film SLR was a Minolta Maxxum 7000i. I had several lenses for it. When I made the switch from film to digital I went with the Konica Minolta 7D, because it allowed me to use my old Minolta lenses. The Sony corporation bought the Minolta lens mount and still uses it which allows me to use my old lenses. That’s why I shoot with Sony’s. It was a matter of economics.
    If you’re migrating from a film-based SLR, I would suggest choosing a camera that allows you to use your old lenses.
    That being said, the Sony’s are not bad cameras. I am a big fan of their “shake reduction” technology. I take a whole lot of pics from my kayak and in a kayak one is never not moving. The current, or the wind and waves, are always moving me along.
    I still use my Sony Alpha 350, but I also have the newer 550. There are lots of times I need two lenses but out in the field – or on the water – you don’t want be changing lenses. That’s just me. Most folks – most sensible folks – will have very little use for two cameras.
    Lenses. Since switching to digital, and it was many moons ago, I have replaced most of my old lenses. Most of them were over twenty years old. Plus, I tend to be a little hard on camera equipment. Nature of the beast and all that.
    Also, if you don’t go with a Sony, these lens recommendations may still come in handy for any camera. They may help you choose or decide what kind of lens you want to go with.
    I like zoom lenses because of the options a zoom lens offers, but you should know that you often sacrifice F-stops for those options.
    My workhorse is my Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens. This lens is easy to carry – the weight is not at all constrictive. It get me close enough in most circumstances and I certainly can’t use anything heavier or longer on a kayak or even while hiking. Not without a tripod, but we’ll get to that. This is also not a lens you want to use when taking pics in a social situation. You need to be too far away from your subjects, especially indoors.
    My next favorite lens is my Tamron 18-200mm lens. I really like this lens and if wildlife wasn’t so cautious of us humans, not that they don’t have reason to, this would be my go-to lens. This baby lets me get in real close with macro and still let me zoom into some cool stuff. If you do a lot of all around shooting, this is the type of lens you’re looking for.
    My big lens is the Sigma 50-500. This bad boy will zoom me into where I want to be but it eats a lot of light – those pesky F-stops again – so I need a very bright sunlit day for it to be any use to me. I also need a tripod to hold it. I should mention that on two separate occasions I’ve come across people using the same lens sans tripod. I, myself, need the tripod. This is a lens that I will only take on short hikes. While this lens has its uses, I’ve taken very few usable pics with it.
    My next lens will be a very wide-angle. I’m still shopping around, not to mention poor, but there are several times when I see a shot that requires more than I’ve got. The Boy Scout motto is be prepared.
    I hope this wasn’t too long or boring a reply, but more than that, I hope it helpful. Good luck and good shopping. JK.

  5. John, thank you very much. We’re practically neighbors. Well, we’re both here on Long Island. I’d be interested in where you like to kayak. JK.

  6. Please get more Butterflies & Moths. Dragonflies and Damselflies too.

  7. Hello, and wonderful pictures! Are there any legal islands upon which to land in Stony Brook Harbor? We’re residents of Stony Brook, and avid animal-lovers and conservationists. We just bought our two kids kayaks for us to explore the environs, and it seems that everywhere we planned to go is restricted…

  8. I’m loving this website and the pictures within! I’m a Stony Brook student and find myself confined within the buildings of this campus far too much for my comfort. Your phenomenal snapshots are a welcomed respite from my routine!

  9. Hi Lilianne,
    Thank you for the compliment. As far as I know, Young’s Island is the only island in Stony Brook Harbor. Unfortunately, it is illegal to land there. On the other hand, it is terrific place to see nesting birds and their families, which can be viewed quite easily from the water. Seagulls, Terns, Piping Plovers, and Oystercatchers are amongst the birds that nest there in the Spring.
    Now, while there are no islands that you can land on in the harbor I suppose you guys could northwest from the Stony Brook boat ramp and land at Long Beach Park. I believe that there is a put in spot at the west end of the park. Going there and picnicking may give you that ‘island feel’.
    Also worth checking out is West Meadow Creek. It is east of the boat ramp. If you time it right, you can ride the tide in and then ride it out. A word of warning: The currents on the way to West Meadow Creek are VERY strong and can be treacherous, especially at low tide. For this reason I suggest planning any trips toward the creek around high tide. You should try to start your trip about 1.5 hours before high tide and plan your return within 1.5 hours after high tide. By the way, this warning concerning the currents holds true around Young’s Island. High water is your friend here.
    This link should lead you to a Google map of the area as well as a list of some put in sites on Long Island:
    I hope this has been helpful. JK.

  10. Dave,
    Step outside the box. And the campus. For an easy fix that’s close by, check out Avalon Park and Preserve. 200 Harbor Rd Stony Brook, NY 11790. Lots of nature and some great trails.
    I’m glad you like my pics. I take a good deal of them at Avalon. I think you’ll enjoy the place. JK.

  11. Hi Joe

    While looking for a picture of a slightly odd bufflehead to post on the Quinte Field Naturalist Facebook page I came across the picture from Aug. 13, 2008 in your blog. The idea is to post the picture as the newly discovered Great Lakes Penguin on Apr.1. Given your profile I thought that you might approve the picture’s use in this way. What do you think?


  12. Hi John,
    You can use the pic on the Quinte Field Naturalist Facebook page for April Fool’s Day. All I ask is that you give me credit a link to my blog. I could use more readers. You may want to check out one of my old April Fool’s posts from 2010. It’s a pair of pics of funny-looking Cardinal that spent a summer near my house.

  13. Hi Joe, I met you briefly earlier this year near Frank Melville Park and thought you might be able to guide me in the purchasing of a lens for my Canon 7D. I have a 70-300 mm and would like to add another lens for bird photography. I would like a lens or teleconverter that would allow more zoom. The issue is weight as I would like it for traveling and hand holding vs tripod use. Any recommendations?

  14. Hi Carole,
    I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I only rarely check this section of the blog.
    The quickest, easiest, and cheapest solution for you is a teleconverter. I don’t use one myself but I did try one out over thirty years ago when I still used film cameras. I remember being less than impressed but the reasons are no longer fresh in my mind. However, I did some research on teleconverters so I could give you a proper answer. Some folks swear by them and others complain about a drop off in photo quality. I do recall that a teleconverter will eat up some light and with your current lens, you are probably using a 4.5 to 5.6 aperture. On a bright sunny day and in an open (treeless) area a little less light may not be of much consequence but if you’re going to a rainforest for vacation, then even a little light loss may seem relevant.
    I don’t use a Canon system but Canon offers two different teleconverters or “extenders”, 1.4X and 2X. I suggest that you read some user reviews for a better idea as to whether or not a teleconverter is the solution you are looking for.
    Some of the better camera stores may have a teleconverter that you can try ouy out in-store. Here on Long Island, Cameta Camera in Amityville comes to mind. I would call ahead to see if they will let you try out a teleconverter before making the trip.
    Here are some links to user reviews and articles that you might find helpful:
    I hope that this has been helpful. Read the reviews, good and bad. Sometimes a reviewer can manage to answer a specific question you have and sometimes they can even answer a question that you hadn’t thought of. JK

  15. Hey it was great to meet you with or without the possum on your shoulder
    I’m Julia. The person who was very interested in possums.

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