Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 12, 2010

Morning Mallard

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, weather — richditch @ 7:56 pm


After my previous two posts (Black Phoebe and Pied-billed Grebe) I figured I might as well give equal time to the Mallard photographed the same day at the Gilbert Water Ranch.

After spending most of my time indoors to avoid the high summer temperatures I was happy to get out for a couple hours on a morning with rare stormy skies. I didn’t expect much and would have been happy just for the exercise and time outside. I ended up working only one of the ponds at the Water Ranch, spending my time as a friend in Utah wrote: “I can envision you at Gilbert, sitting on the point of your butt, knees up, tripod legs spread, getting this shot at this angle.” No doubt he’d thought of this photo of me taken by another Water Ranch visitor taken at the same pond.

I admit I don’t pay enough attention to ducks in the summer, so I can’t really say if this is a young bird or an adult in eclipse plumage. But I do think it shows some amount of genes of the Mexican race, at one time considered a separate species the “Mexican Duck.”

Compositionally this is a lot tighter than I normally frame my subject. I was already set up pond side watching the grebe when this Mallard decided to climb on this log and preen. I didn’t want to mess around swapping the 2x converter off my 300/2.8 lens for the 1.4x in a belt pouch as I was more interested in the smaller more distant grebe. The Mallard barely fit in the frame.

The other concern was the low light level. I love the soft light from overcast skies, but that can be a problem for active subjects and a long lens. I could have used more depth of field from a smaller aperture, but I also had to worry about my shutter speed as the duck fidgeted. I compromised on ISO 400, 1/160th second and f/8.


1 Comment »

  1. What an attractive photo. When you take something as ordinary as a Mallard and it grabs my attention for several minutes, then you’ve created something special.

    Comment by Idaho_Birder — August 12, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

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