About Paul Jurak

I’m a kayaker who has fallen in love with photography. What I love about paddling and photography is that it provides me with an incredibly calm head space. “It’s my meditation”

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I began paddling on the lake as a way to rebuild both my body and mind after enduring an intensive three month bout of chemotherapy due to testicular cancer. I had never paddled a kayak prior to this and very quickly discovered how stunning it is to be on the water looking out – rather than looking in.

It's been a long time since I have experienced a sunrise like this!

You will find me paddling on Lake Burley Griffin most mornings and evenings, quietly snapping away at the unique seasonal and light changes that take place around me.

After leaving Newcastle 23 years ago, I missed the ocean and yearned to be around water. For years I spent weekends traveling back to Newcastle or to the South Coast, but paddling on LBG has re-united with the water.

The beauty about living in Canberra and paddling on LBG is that most mornings it is calm. The sunrises and sunsets are a kaleidoscope of colours and feature the best backdrops anyone could ever ask for. Why would you not want to experience it!

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No two days are the same, and each day provides me with a natural light show that sometimes leaves me gasping in wonder. It’s such a privilege to be able to witness and photograph the kaleidoscope of colours and seasonal features that Lake Burley Griffin offers me each day as a backdrop.

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No two days are the same, and each day provides me with a natural light show that sometimes leaves me gasping in wonder.

A friend of mine summed it up perfectly: “It’s a gift, the start of a new day and a great big thank you at the end. The universe is truly an elegant place”.

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I regularly upload my daily photos on my kayakcameraman facebook, twitter and Instagram social media sites and I have a regular column called ‘Lake View’ with The Canberra Times online paper.

I hope that you click on the links below to the ABC Video stories below, it will give you an insight into why I love photography and paddling. Paddling and photography are opposite ends of the spectrum but have so much in common. I hope that you like stories.

ABC730ACT Report Feature Story – Kayak Cam 

666 ABC Canberra Feature story – How art changed my life. 

ABC730ACT Feature Story – Lake Burley Griffin 50 year celebration

I hope that you enjoy the photos as much as I have enjoyed capturing them.

Paul Jurak, Kayakcameraman.

26 thoughts on “About Paul Jurak

  1. we just brought a kayak yesterday and cant wait to get out and use it. how great is your story today to now motivate us and get us going. we retire in 24 days. (Not counting) G&P

    • Hey G&P, you will love the kayaking! So many beautiful places to see and experience, it will take you to places that you never even thought existed and often they are on our door step. I’m so glad you like the article and that you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for clicking onto the site. Enjoy your paddling!

  2. Your photos are magnificent and I thank my Canberra friend for forwarding your link to me in Washington, DC, USA.

    • Hi Anne, It’s so nice to hear that you like the photos. Through the blog you will be able to come out for a morning paddle (virtual anyway) with me each day. We seem to experience some amazing sunrises and sunsets here. I also tour to a few different places here as well, so you hopefully you will be able to see a few other beautiful places along the way as well. Thanks for clicking onto the site and commenting. Take care…Paul

  3. Hi , great photos. Im wondering what sort of camera or camera set up you use to achieve these photos. I have a waterproof camera myself but dont get this quality of shot.

    • Hey Brian, I am using a Canon D20 PowerShot. Its a underwater camera. Very robust and takes a pounding. Well I have certainly put it through its paces (also note that I am note sponsored by Canon either). Tried but they were not interested. For a point and shoot camera it seems to take a nice shot.

    • Hey Nicola,
      It was great to meet up with you the other at the point. I hope you son snapped a few nice shots from the morning. I’ll definitely click on and have look at the site. I look forward to catching up again.
      All the best
      Paul

    • Hi Tracey,
      That would be fantastic to be featured on your Geokult Travel website. Thank you so much for getting in contact with me. We are definitely treated to many stunning sunrise and sunsets. It’s nice to be able to capture and share them on.
      Kind regards
      Paul Jurak

  4. Some fantastic and inspiring work here Paul, I came across your site looking for tips on photography from a kayak as an ankle injury is now hampering my bush travels. I have some of my early photos on my website but it really seems to be a bit of an art form getting steady shots. Any tips?

    • Hey Scott, I’m so glad you like the shots mate and it’s not good news about your ankle (hope it heals soon). Photographing from a kayak can be difficult as it is extremely unstable and ripple effect from the slightest movement can affect the shot. All I do is keep as still as possible, search for the right light, frame the shot and push the button. I use a $400 point and shoot Canon PowerShot D20. All the best and hopefully this was helpful 🙂

  5. Hi Paul
    I’m wondering how your photos might look on canvas. Have you tried this? Canvas prints are popular at the moment.
    Also, I’m having trouble deciding which print to buy! They are all so good! I need to hurry up and decide 🙂

    Elizabeth

  6. Hi Paul,
    I have a photography assignment for school and I had to choose a local photographer to use as inspiration and write a short biography on them. So i just have a questions if you wouldn’t mind answering them?
    how long have you been doing this kind of photography?
    did you have any prior experience with photography before your chemotherapy?
    and what kind of camera do you use for this kind of photography?

    thanks, Cate

    • Hi Cate,
      Thank you so much for selecting me as your local photographer, I feel very privileged!
      I have one been photographing for the past four years since completing an intensive bout (long story) of Chemo due to testicular cancer.
      I was interested in photography back in the early 90’s and my passion was for black & whites. My sister in-law Susan who is an arts teacher would allow me to have access to an enlarger every now and again. It was short lived though and my work as a plumber / gasfitter soon took precedence. I soon got married, started having kids and we toured around the place surfing and camping at every opportunity.
      I was in my third cycle (the hammer week) of chemotherapy and while I was sitting in the chair having the DDT (My chemo chemical) infusion I noticed an advertisement for 50% off all sea kayaks. I had always wanted to purchase a sea kayak so as I was driving home that afternoon I decided to swing by the shop. I ended up purchasing two kayaks so my boys would be able to paddle with me. It was funny the response I received from everyone, “are you mad”, “has the chemo gone to your brain”, these were the typical comments made.
      The idea was that the kayak would be an ideal way for me to rebuild my body and mind. The chemo just totally destroys you entirely, it strips you bare physically and mentally. I grew up in Newcastle and loved surfing my way up and down the coast line and as I was now living in Canberra the kayak would be a great way to reunited me with the experience of watching sunrises and sunsets while being on the water. I very quickly realised that being out on the water watching a new day begin and transform is mesmerising; truly there is no better way to start the day. The cancer has changed how I view few things and I now realise what is really important in life (to me anyway), I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
      For me, kayaking and photography is about escapism. I’ve dodged coal tankers in Newcastle harbour and gone up and down the north and south coast of NSW. I was kayaking in the wetlands on the mid-north coast and a guy came along in a canoe. I said, ‘Mate, it’s beautiful here.’ He replied, ‘Can you believe people have lived here all their lives and never seen this?’
      Photography and kayaking is my mediation, it’s my daily counselling session, out there I’m become immersed in another world and I have been treated to some of the most amazing natural light shows that ‘Mother Nature’ turns on each day. The thing I love about photography is that when you are looking through the lens you are always looking for the nice in the day.
      I consider myself one lucky man.
      On my first kayak outing with my eldest boy Tully, I turned around and snapped a quick photo using my mobile phone. The photos from that morning looked fantastic, so I continued photographing with my phone. This was the beginning of something that was truly brilliant!
      Photography and kayaking are opposite ends of the spectrum but yet they complement each other so well. I love it so much. It’s a privilege to be able to witness and photograph the kaleidoscope of colours and the seasonal features of so many wonderful locations. For me each sunrise / sunset has its own unique signature. I just love starting or finishing the day like this, the spectrums are sublime and often I am treated the most amazing natural light show. Why would you not want to experience this!
      I quickly realised that I was going to need a camera that will be able to provide me with a high quality shot but yet be able to withstand the elements in which I’m constantly exposed to. The Canon PowerShot 30D has been an outstanding camera. It’s amazing; I’m shooting in low light conditions and most of my shots are taken before sunrise and the image quality is excellent. The environment I’m in is so harsh, I’m surrounded by water (salt and fresh), high moisture, wind & swells, beach sand, silt and sometimes I find the camera rolling around on the floor of my kayak. I have now accompanied the 30D with a Canon D70 with an 18 – 200mm Canon lens and the image quality is superb! I am truly enjoying the diversity in which this package is offering.
      Photography and kayaking are opposite ends of the spectrum but yet they complement each other so well. I love it so much. It’s a privilege to be able to witness and photograph the kaleidoscope of colours and the seasonal features of so many wonderful locations. For me each sunrise / sunset has its own unique signature. I just love starting or finishing the day like this, the spectrums are sublime and often I am treated the most amazing natural light show. Why would you not want to experience this!
      I hope that this is helps you out with your assignment and I am more than happy to assist you more any more information. Just let me know.

      Kind regards
      Paul Jurak

  7. Hi Paul,

    I love your pics. I get to the lake as often as I can. Similarly, I have just moved here from Newcastle this year and miss the beach. Sunrise is my fav time and I’m very interested in buying a kayak. I’d love your advice, happy to catch up for a tea at Kingston Foreshore or even just advice on kayaks would be wonderful.
    Thank you
    Nicole

  8. Hey Paul,
    You took a photo of my daughter on New Years’s morning on the headland in Crescent Head. We never got down to see you at the caravan park but am wondering if you’d mind emailing us the pic.
    Thanks,
    Cheers, Sara

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