Sunday, April 6, 2014

Middle Creek 2014 Part II-The Ducks

Ring-necked Duck: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 600mm f 4.0 IS + 1.4 extender-ISO 400-1/800 Sec. f  8.0
 I encountered several species of ducks during my recent trip to Middle Creek, but as is so often the case  they were too far to obtain the best portraits .  Most of the photos shown today are severely cropped in addition to using the 600mm F4 with 1.4x extender.  All of the photos were taken in the pothole across Hopeland Road from Middle Creek Lake. The first three were taken with  the 5D MK III, while the 70D was used for the last one.

Wood Duck: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 600mm f 4.0 IS + 1.4 extender-ISO 400-1/800 Sec. f  8.0
Most ducks at this pot hole do not fly at the sight of humans , but they tend to keep their distance when people are moving about on the roadside.  Human activity was so great on Saturday and Sunday that  waterfowl were usually some distance away, so I mostly shot video with the GH3 and the 70D, both of which can give good results on waterfowl in the far reaches of the pothole. This is because of the 3x Crop mode on the 70D, which  gives the 600mm and 1.4 extender a 35mm equivalent focal length of 4,032mm if my figures are correct.  ETC mode on the GH3 works much the same way.

There was much less human activity on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which made still photography more feasible and it worked quite well to park the vehicle along the edge of the road and use it as a blind.  I prefer to use a tripod when possible, but it worked well to shoot handheld, resting the barrel on the lens on the window sill of the vehicle and with image stabilization engaged.  Waterfowl came to decent range at times, but mostly it was still a bit on the far side.

Widgeon: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 600mm f 4.0 IS + 1.4 extender-ISO 400-1/1250 Sec. f  8.0
I have filmed and photographed waterfowl for years, but had not gotten a decent still photo of  a Bufflehead until Monday when several came swimming by and I took the photo below of a male with the 600mm and 1.4x extender on the 70D.  It is still cropped quite a bit to get the composition that I want.  The end result isa  257 dpi 12x8 file which makes an excellent quality print.

Male Bufflehead: Canon 70D-Canon 600mm f 4.0 IS + 1.4 extender-ISO 400-1/800 Sec. f  8.0
Tuesday brought a change in the weather with a mixture of snow and rain for most of the day.  I will try to post photos of  the activity that day within the next few days.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


FAB said...

Excellent series Willard. The Bufflehead is a beauty.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Beautiful images. I especially like the last one showing all those lovely colours on the head.

Unknown said...

Hi Willard. I love the Bufflehead too. I have been trying for a decent Wood Duck photo but haven't been successful yet. These are nice, sharp images. My Buffleheads seem to always come out soft focus; this one is great.

Lindsjö taxar said...

Hi WIllard!
Beautiful! Very special ducks.

Linda said...

Beautiful photos!

Roan said...

You found a fine variety of ducks. Great shots! My brother had a Ring-necked Duck on his pond here in Central Illinois. Neither of us have ever seen one around here.