Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 20, 2010

Gadwall and the Light

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 4:54 pm


I’ve never had much luck with Gadwalls. They don’t occur here in AZ in the large numbers of American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, and other winter residents. When I do find one it almost always stays much too far away for good photography.

I was lucky with this drake at the Gilbert Water Ranch on November 27, 2010. A courting pair showed up on a small pond where I’d been working an Eared Grebe, so I spent a morning waiting for the Gadwall to come closer and move into the light.



These two images were taken close in time from the same position where I sat low on the bank of the pond behind my lowered tripod. The Gadwall made small changes in position as I watched through the camera; I made exposures when the duck’s alignment suited me and I saw good light on the face.

I enjoy directional light as I find it brings out lots of texture in the subject and makes the photos look very sharp. But strongly directional light can create problems and cast strong shadows, so pay attention when shooting under such conditions. Had the Gadwall turned just a little bit more clockwise I would have lost the light on the duck’s face.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/500th second at f/8.


1 Comment »

  1. I like both presentations but I think I prefer the top one where I can see the plumage on the back. Beautifully done and excellent techs as always.

    Comment by Mia — December 21, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

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