I did something a bit different this weekend, and it was the nicest time I've had in Kuwait for quite a while. I've decided to continue writing about my day to day stories for everyone to enjoy, so let me know what you think of this write up in the comments and maybe I'll make it a more frequent thing!
I was invited early last Thursday by a photographer friend to join them on a day trip to Khiran, in the south of Kuwait, where RedPaddleCo was hosting an event for anyone interested to come and try out their range of boards.
I snapped up the invitation and immediately went onto the DJI website to order a second battery for my drone - the last time I'd been to Khiran was around seven years ago so it's a rare occasion for me to venture that far south, and I decided it would be better to have an extra 30 minutes flight time to really make the most of the opportunity. It's essential anyway to have more than one battery, whatever job you're doing - often I would get to the end of my first battery, only to then think of some really cool shots once it was flat. Now I won't have that problem any more.
I wasn't really sure what to expect, I imagined the place would be a bit more developed than last time, but I was pleasantly surprised by how built up Khiran had become, and the amount of traffic driving up and down past the lagoon in which we were paddle-boarding was a clear indicator that it's slowly becoming a more popular Friday destination. We did a bit of off-roading off the 40 and eventually arrived at our location, parked up and started unloading the cars, pumped up the boards, assembled the paddles and last but not least got the flags in position. We were ready to go.
People started arriving right on time and were keen to get out on the water, while I on the other hand stood there generously applying sunscreen and keeping hydrated. It was still 42*C out in the sun, and I was thankful to finally get in the water – it was so cool and refreshing which was pleasantly surprising considering how warm the sea is everywhere else in Kuwait.
We all went out for a little paddle around the lagoon, and because I’m quite tall at 6ft 3in Alec recommended I use the 10’6 board - a good all round starter board that is quite wide and therefore relatively easy to keep stable. Although it was a few years since I’d last been paddle-boarding, I quickly got the hang of it and did a few laps before heading back to the shore to set up my drone. If you're wondering how many times I fell off, it was only when Alec showed me how to stand at the back of the board and turn 360 degrees on the spot that I lost my balance - it’s harder than it looks!
I flew the drone around the lagoon for about 45 minutes on and off and produced a 2 minute film that you can now watch on my YouTube channel. My iPad mini, which I run the DJI app on connected to the controller was struggling like mad in the heat of the midday sun, so I'm really happy with the results considering I barely had any video feed to monitor.
One of S J Photography’s dogs kept chasing the drone and barking like mad every time I came in to land which made things interesting! As you can see from the pictures, quite a lot of people showed up and tried out the boards, and I managed to get some cool photos and videos along the way. The doggies even came paddling too!
This was a fun project and I had lots of fresh ideas while editing this one. I wish now that I’d got some up-close clips with my camera and telephoto lens, such as a paddle dragging through the water or the dog that you can see chilling out on one of the boards in the film, or a drone shot tracking the cars as we drove through the desert landscape. All the more reason to go out again soon and take some more footage.
The beautiful sunset on the lagoon was a lovely way to end a day, dusty pink and orange hues taking over the sky and reflecting on the water as we packed the cars back up for the journey home. To all the people who say there is nothing to do in Kuwait, you're not looking hard enough. Put yourself out there and try something different every once in a while! A big thanks to RedPaddleCo for having me along for the day, hope to create some more content soon.