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Posts tagged “Ducks

Ducks on a cold Canadian morning.

Yesterday it was -28°C (-38°C with the wind chill factor), a good occasion to go to the St-Louis river in Beauharnois to photograph the Mallard Ducks that stays there all winter. At these temperatures it’s important to be well dressed if you want to stay warm and keep shooting, especially your hands, i did put hand warmers in my mitts to keep my fingers warm.

First, here is some photos of the river to show you the habitat:

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Here is a photo taken at the base of the waterfall, down the river there is less ice and the Ducks have access to open waters and foods. Taken with my Canon 7D and 10-18mm STM at 12mm.

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Taken with my Canon 7D and 10-18mm STM at 11mm.

Since it was very cold, there was a thick layer of fog over the river and it was difficult to get accurate focus on the Ducks.

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Canon 7D with my 70-200mm/4 L.

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Canon 7D with my 400mm/5.6 L.

 

 

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This Male is trying to stay warm in the water. Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6 L.

 

 

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Time to eat to get some fuel to stay warm, it’s tail was covered with ice. Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L

 

I also found Cedar leaves in the snow in the forested area along the river, so I took close-up shots.

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Canon 7D with my 24mm STM.

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Pentax K50 with DA 40mm XS

 

 

 

 


Common Goldeneye Ducks in a birdscape photography.

This morning it was cold for the month of March (-20C ), also the wind was blowing and with the windchill factor it was around -30C. I was seeing the shake  caused by the wind in my viewfinder, so a high shutter speed combined with good long lens technique was required to get a sharp shot.

I spotted some Ducks on the river and the rising sun added some life to the scene. I took some with them in flight but they were not beautifully placed or their surrounding was not as photogenic as the one below.

Here they are swimming on the fog covered river, they are small in the photo but i wanted to show them in their habitat, it’s what i liked when i saw the scene. I cropped the top and bottom of the photo for composition purposes.

Canon T3i with 70-200mm/4 L at 200mm, tripod.


Second outing for photographing Ducks in winter.

This time it was around -22C with winds from 40 to 60 Km/h, so the temperature with the windchill factor was around -32C. First thing, if you want to keep shooting and be comfortable enough to concentrate on your photography and not on your cold feet and fingers you need to dress for the conditions. So i was well dressed so i was able to stay out and shooting without any problems.

My goal was to show how hard it is for the Ducks to survive during winter, most of the Ducks were trying to keep their body heat by sleeping on the ice on the shore of the river. I’m always impressed that those Ducks stay here all winter in those conditions when they can flew south, peoples giving them food probably persuaded them to brave the long Canadian winter.

So, this time i finally concentrated my efforts on capturing the cold and foggy mood of that morning. The Ducks were covered with a thin layer of frost and some even had ice on their back.

A Male Mallard Duck on the ice, i wanted to show him in it’s habitat and included the frozen waterfall in the background.

Canon T3i with 70-200mm/4 L, tripod.

Bath time, a Black Duck covered with ice on it’s back, the sun hitting the fog added to the atmosphere. I let the Duck go darker in PP to keep the silouhette effect.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Male and Female Mallard Duck in the river, in PP i kept some of the blue cast in the snow to convey the coldness of the morning.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Stop it, your feathers are beautiful now !

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

Frosted Ducks.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, Tripod.

When i was walking down the trail to the river in the morning i found feathers on the ground and the remaining of 2 wings, i decided to wait and go for the Ducks first and get back to photograph the feathers later. So when i finished photographing the Ducks i walked back to my truck and was looking for interesting feathers to photograph when i felt that something was looking at me. Looked up and saw a Hawk on a branch, pretty sure that it was a Cooper’s Hawk, he found a very reliable source of food for the winter !

I probably interrupted it’s hunting session. I have to admit that it’s not a very good shot but  i managed to grab some quick photos between the branches before he flew away, missed the focus on the eye and cut the tip of it’s tail.

Canon 7D with 400mm/5.6L, tripod.

After 2 hours the sun was too high in the sky and the contrast was too much to make interesting photos, so i decided to end my photo session there. I wanted to take photos with my WA lens but it didn’t happened that time, maybe next week-end. I didn’t got “The Photo” of a frosted Duck i was looking for but i got some usable shots anyway and you always learn something about your craft and especially about the birds. By going often i will learn the habit of those Ducks and will eventually get better photos from that place.


Mallard Ducks in winter.

Went to a river that don’t froze during winter and  where Mallard Ducks stay all winter because peoples give them foods. They are easier to get close to photograph and the setting can be beautiful when there is fresh snow on the ground. There was around 30 of them last week-end when i went with my family, my 2 young girls love to observe the Ducks.

It was quite warm for a winter day, around -4C, it was cloudy with some periods of falling snow.  Since Ducks are easy to get close i was shooting with 2 cameras (Canon 7D and T3i), with my 400mm/5.6L and 70-200mm/4 L (with and without my TC 1.4X II attached). It was a good combination, i was able to switch rapidly between my 2 kit depending on the situation and distance of my subject.

Here is one of a female in the river.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L at 200mm, ISO 800, 1/500 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

Male taking a break in the river.

T3i, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 800, 1/320 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

The Vacuum Duck.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 163mm, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

Another female Mallard Duck.

T3i, 70-200mm/4L, at 159mm, ISO 800, 1/800 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

7D, 400mm/5.6L, ISO 640, 1/400 sec. at f/5.6, tripod.

I was there only 1 hour, my kids wanted to go back home, but this week-end i will go again on Sunday. The temperature will be around -20C in the morning so it will be good for photography, the Ducks will have frost on their feathers ! The 400mm was often too strong and the Ducks looked too tightly squeezed in the frame, will probably use more my 70-200mm this time, might even try to get a shot with my WA lens.