Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 13, 2011

More Mallards on a log

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 6:50 pm
Mallard on a log

Mallard on a log

I spent another morning at the Gilbert Water Ranch last week at my favorite place teo shoot there – the western edge of pond 5. Most of the growing number of local and visiting photographers who come to the Water Ranch end up here. Water in this pons is usually kept at a fairly low level so the birds that use the pond are restricted to an area in front of a small flat area where the experienced photographers sit or lie on the ground to get as low of a shooting position as possible.

The early morning sun comes over the photographer’s shoulder and gives easy to use front light on the subjects. The biggest problem for photographers is waiting for a potential subject to move within shooting distance while the water surface is free of flotsam and other birds.

Mallard on a log

Mallard on a log

On March 11, 2011, I stayed around a bit longer than normal as I was hoping for some bird to hop up on this log. An American Coot made a brief stop there but got off quickly when another bird came too close. Not long after that this drake Mallard got on board and started to preen.

I took the 2x off my 300/2.8 lens and went with my 1.4x to give more freedom in compositions – too much lens can lead to clipping part of the subject if it does an unexpected wing stretch. With this cooperative subject I had lots of opportunity to play around with camera settings (primarily aperture to control depth of field, and exposure compensation to protect detail in the brightest feathers).

I took many shots that I like well enough to process, although I’ve only found time to do these two. I’ve composed and cropped each one to follow the composition guideline of having more space on the side of the image in which the subject is looking.

This was later in the morning than I usually work and the light is a bit more harsh than I like. But it is a realistic tradeoff to get an interesting subject in interesting poses.

Both images: Nikon D200, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S lens with TC14E (1.4x converter), ISO 400.

Top image: 1/320th second at f/11, -1/3rd ev compensation, 76% of full frame.

Bottom image: 1/400th second at f/11, -2/3rd ev compensation, 80% of full frame.



  1. Hi Rich !

    Really nice shots , once again…nice poses on the mallard

    We’ll be back at Gilbert early April ….coming in from Montreal.

    Might just cross paths with you ..


    Comment by Chuck Kling — March 14, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  2. Great pictures! The light is perfect!

    Kah Wai

    Comment by Kah Wai Lin — March 15, 2011 @ 7:00 am

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