Home Birds – the waterfowel

Right this marks several big changes to my photography methods;
1) This is the first time that I went out and purposefullyaimed shot using manual focusing the entire time = however an accident with settings meant that my manual efforts were ruined, so I went back and shot some autofocus shots
2) As I was shooting home birds in our collection I was not forced to be far from them as I have been before – so I could get right up close to them!

Well the day started out well and though I was shooting in late morning (missing the golden hour!) I was in full spirits. The pond was covered in part with a thin layer of ice (appears in some shots) and the ducks were all about the pond. In fact I found it difficult to get the birds on their own and not as part of a group, which often comprised of several difference species.
However in my eagerness to shoot I made one fatal flaw! I was shooting in the sun so dismissed the bright look of the images on the LCD – major mistake for I had switched into full manual mode rather than apature priority mode; and overexposed all the shots. After noticing and with both time and the battery against me I went out and took some more, but this time for speed using the centre auto focusing sensor – it was that or miss my train!

Taken with:

Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
For settings save pic to pc and review properties
The results of the day:
the first lot – overexposed!

Red Shoveller Drake

Ring Teal
smallg smallo smalln

Phillipine Duck

Well there ends the best of the overexposed shots – a shame many were decent barring the single camera setting – but its one important lesson well learned – check the camera settings before shooting!
Following there is a selection of those images that were not so damaged by the setting and others taken in the quick burst before the train!

Carolina Wood Duck
great coming at you shot – I just wish that at the time I had got his eyes and not his chest in focus – that and the lighting!

smallp IMG_0608abs smallk
Well this little guy was a pain to try and capture – he was zooming all over the pond – made for some interesting angles though. In retrospect some of the above could certainly look better with some more detailed cropping. Most of the crops were removing other birds from the shot.

Hottentot Teal
I really like the smooth nature of this picture – though the background detracts from the overall appearance, the duck and soft water I liked

Blond Burmudan Pintail

Puna Teal
ITS NOT A RUDDY DUCK! Yep its really not —
Another that I liked the look of, a shame about the lighting not being quiet right for this kind of shot

Pintail – female
I had several pics like this one = really good overall, but with the last sections of the tail just missing – a real shame and a lesson in taking a better look at what I am shooting and not just shooting for shootings sake


Red Shoveller Duck
two busy shots here, just an example of the number of ducks that can try to push in to get within the cameras eye — showy little devils!

Phillipine Duck
I liked the lighting on this one, though I would now prefer a little more on the right-hand side.

Australian Shell Duck – female

This first image I went out and tried to get his head in better light by changing the lighting settings in photoshop, but the difference between his head and the rest of the pic made it impossible without running the effect of the rest of the photo. So I went and used the selection brush and highlighted only his head – I think it came out well

smalle smallb

Well not too much to say about this chap – certainly a pain to try and capture in this lighting – his dark feathers blurring into a basic lump of black.

Lessons learnt:

1) Do check the camera settings more than once!

2) Lighting works best when the light source is behind you (and your shadow is not in the pic;))

3) Watch all of the bird to make sure it all gets in

4) Take more care with the backgrounds – concrete and destroyed bird houses are not attractive


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