The low-down on the Ducks!

Well it has been a while since the last update and though I have been taking shots in the mean time, nothing has really stood out as amazing – but today I managed to at last get some boards down onto the pond and now I can take shots at water level! I decided to use a folded hat as opposed to my cushion in a binbag as the cushion was a little high for what I wanted in this case – it was fine for getting me above the grass on land, but water has nothing like that so I wanted to get as low as I could.

All taken with:
Cannon ESO 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
For settings save pic to pc and review properties

The boards:
IMG_0353
Balanced on the bottom of a stone step and the edge of a concrete sandbag wall that we had to put into the pond all the way round to keep the banks stable – the birds were destroying the bank into a mudslick and that made it hard for them to get out of the water

Carolina Wood Duck

IMG_0307 IMG_0309 IMG_0319
Well I need to go back and turn a few of these so that the water is flat, one downside of resting on a folded hat – less structure to the support. I am really gald though to have got another (better) shot of him swimming directly towards me – it was an angle I got before and liked, but the original was never a good enough shot for me.

Mandrin

IMG_0232
Well one step forward and one back still – really got to get out of the habit of snapping and start taking shots. A good shot of the mandrin, but the bird in front really detracts from the overall effect – a little twisting needed on this shot as well.

Cuban Tree Duck

IMG_0271 IMG_0285
This was a very intersting chap – standing on the concrete wall he was whistling rather than quacking and was looking right at me for a good while – so I took some head shots of him – a little work need in my composition, but I really like the background blurr that I got with these – a wonderful background.

Assortment:

IMG_0140 IMG_0167 IMG_0187 IMG_0261 IMG_0343
Overall I am really liking the effect this has done to my shots, the backgrounds have come up really well (considering I know what they look like in the clear sharp world!) though one person has suggested to me to blurr the backgrounds a little to remove distractions from them – something that I am keen to try. I always aim to get it right in camera, but I still have a long way to go and if a little work in photoshop can improve a shot then I will work on it to get there – but I will always know its a photoshopped result.

Well I learnt a lot from this first try:
1) I need a better support than a folded hat, way too many shots were blurry. I am thinking on using a sock stuffed with rice/beans tomorrow (weather allowing)

2) The evening light is not really ideal, I have to twist on the boards to get the light right, which leads to more wabble.

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3 Responses to “The low-down on the Ducks!”

  1. Willie Nisbet Says:

    Hi,
    Re your layer mask query (AP – not got round to registering yet). elements does not really have layer masks. but there a couple of frigs in How to cheat in photoshop elements 6. Ine involves painting in black and white in an adjustment layer and the other importing a document which already has layer masks (suitable doc on accompanying disk)
    Hope this helps

  2. Willie Nisbet Says:

    oh, also nice pics!!

  3. OR your photos just keep getting better and better.
    Love the ducks. šŸ˜€

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