Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 2, 2009

Observe, Apply, Anticipate

Filed under: behavior, Birds, composition, favorite places, light, Veterans Oasis Park — richditch @ 6:15 pm
Redhead drake

Redhead drake

I’ve already written about the benefits of going back to good locations, and this is anothe example of how that can pay off.

Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, AZ, hasn’t been around for very long, and it obviously needs more time for the planted vegetation to get established and the population of birds to build and get used to visitors. But I’m trying to work regular visits into my photography outings and get a better feel for what can be found there and the best times and locations for bird photography.

I’ve written before that it was the only reliable spot around Phoenix to find Redheads this winter, and I posted photos of Redhead here from previous visits. On this trip I wasn’t planning on shooting the Redheads again, and I actually expected the remaining pair to have departed to cooler places to commence breeding. So I was surprised to find the male and female still at VOP on 3/31/09 after I’d checked another pond for a reported Black-bellied Whistling Duck that hadn’t stayed around for me. As I approached this main pond (kept full for the fishing crowd) I saw the pair of Redheads were still around. What’s more I saw they were patrolling the shoreline in a clockwise sweep just as they had done on my last visit. So instead of rushing around trying to get close to them I simply sat down at the edge of the water with the light behind me, got my tripod low to the ground, and waited for the ducks to come to me. It didn’t take long and I was ready for this drake with a good position, the right optics, and good light. I’d applied what I’d observed from this bird at this location before and anticipated what it would do again.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 and TC20E (2x), Gitzo G1325 carbon fiber tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head, Wimberley Sidekick. ISO 200, 1/250th at f/8.


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