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Reviews on digital imaging, Nikon Cameras, Canon Cameras, Macro, Micro, Telephoto and Super Telephoto lens and all things photo optics and equipment, such as the D5, D500 and D850. My ambition is to provide useful and solid photography tips and information with the best real world reviews of all the photographic gear and astronomy equipment - that I use.

Wood Duck Photography
TrueToad / Tuesday, June 6, 2017 / Categories: The Blog

Wood Duck Photography

Great Find

It was like any other rainy day, kind of blah, but I had a day off work with previous hopes of going out for a few hours for some wildlife shooting, the rain as I saw it was coming down light and not all that persistent or steady.  So, a decision was made at 06:00 to make the move and pack up for a half day out.  My gear of choice that morning was my trusty D810 with a 600mm equipped with a 14 TC III, and for some reason I needed to carry a 8mm fish-eye. The choice for the D810 over my D500 was due to my desire to get a few full frame circular fisheye shots.

I have a "think tank" rain cover for my 600 and camera but failed to bring it along, instead as backup I maintain two large plastic bags - they come in handy on a number of occasions.  Lucky for me I did not require them as the rain was never more than a light sprinkle.

Things I screw up along the way: I normally goof up on a few things that ultimately blows a "perfect" opportunity or two on each of my outings, Like forgetting to follow my own advice such as being in stealth mode. I have for three years been trying to get a "great" shot of a Pileated Woodpecker, I have a couple photos in my woodpecker catalog but they are just so so.  It happens this way, I am making my way up this slight incline to an area overlooking a marsh and without considering what just might be ahead I come upon not one but two Pileated Woodpeckers perched on a log taking turns pounding into the wood digging for larva. This area was easily visible to me as I walked up the incline for at least 400 feet, but I was looking down at the trail and not taking time to stop and look around, and when I did stop and looked up - there they were pounding away, and it took about 30 seconds before the first one spotted me, paused, then took flight. The second took a few more strikes then realized his friend was gone, and followed suit. Yes, I kicked my self for that one.

On to the Ducks, Not having great expectations due to the rain, I made my way to the end and was doing a visual survey for wildlife - nothing.  One Eagle flew by up and over, so I sat, and sat. There were a large flock of Canadian Geese off to the left mostly standing on a beach with some in the water, they were content and not honking to alarm I was in the area, so I kept my distance to ensure they stayed quite.

First Spotting: I first spotted a duck of some sort fly up and out of the marsh area from behind some foliage, I was not sure the species but knew it was a duck. Afte another 25 minutes, 6 Wood Ducks made a pass and landed off in the distance, all outside my lens due to the angle where they were, as always birds seem to find a tree or branch that obscures them. I moved very quietly to my right and down next to a large oak tree giving me a better angle.  Eventually, I had an opportunity but the distance was quite far even for a 600 with a 14tc. But knowing from my previous mistakes, I took three photos then used the live view to ensure i had achieved critical focus from the distance I was at, even the best of systems my be fooled with such long shots. 

Until this day I never witnessed a Wood Duck perched, much to my surprise the group took flight and move to an adjacent tree all but one perching in it. I took a few more photos, and much to my surprise based on the distance the images came out acceptable.  I stuck around for another 30 minutes but the group just sat in the tree, I restraind myself from attempting to move down closer in fear of spooking the birds as they seemed to be just taking it easy while it rained, I packed it up and when home as my day was made with this encountered.

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Lens
  • Nikkor 600mm f/4 FL ED VR
Camera Body
  • Nikon D810
Accessories Used
  • TC-14E III

TrueToadTrueToad

I live at the edge of the forest in semi-moist locations, I enjoy larva, and other delights. Although I am toothless and mostly warty, I am a sight to see.

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