Green head of a mallard duck in the sun

Duck Shoot

Last Saturday really looked good for a duck shoot. Golden hour came and went before I surfaced. It was a great sunny day, great for collecting the gear and heading for the local lake

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A Flypast of Ducks from The Travels of the Hairy 1

Duck Flypast

Flypast of Ducks

A bit more luck with those ducks! But this time the luck was made by a bit of practice, and perhaps a few years experience.

Classic photography is often about giving careful thought and planning to the shot. Shooting in the African bush taught me something different. Very often you may be moving through the bush, either on foot or on a road in a vehicle, and a photo opportunity will present itself. Often it will be an animal of some kind, which will react to your presence. Assuming that your first instinct is not to be somewhere else in a big hurry, you need to grab the shot and then stop and think about the next shot. To do this effectively means carrying the camera ready to shoot, with some care that the settings are right for the situation at any time.

The ducks, above, were exactly that. The camera was set at aperture priority, one stop from wide open on ISO 400, with some certainty that it could deal with most conditions at that moment. The ducks flew over and it was virtually a point and shoot situation. Luck came into play in ensuring that at least one focus point found the right mark. ISO 200 may have been fast enough, and given less noise in the cropped image, though that can be fixed.

You help make your own luck… .

 

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A mallard drake duck just touching the water on the lake.

A Duck and Some Luck

Safe Landing

It is said that you make your own luck. One way or another luck often seems to play a part in wildlife photography, whether we are talking about the plains of central Africa or just the local lake. Here’s a lucky catch of a duck, wings flared for his landing, just millimetres above the water, with a nice reflection in the ripples.

This was taken a couple of years ago, and needed a bit of re-processing. Since this shot I have never been able to repeat it in better lighting, despite being there with the right lens and settings. But, come spring, there will hopefully be good reason to try and catch the ducks AND swans landing.

Let’s see how lucky I can be.

For the photo fiends, the duck was shot with a Canon EOS 450D and Sigma 70-300mm f/4 – 5.6 APO zoom at 263mm, 1/500 @ f/10 at ISO 400.

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