Sunday, March 15, 2009

Boating for Photos: Bufflehead Hen

Last year, for the first in my many years of fishing & boating, I decided to try combining it with waterfowl photography. The results were definitely worth the effort and I have been looking forward to open water and the spring waterfowl migration with considerable anticipation. I have been anticipating the migration photography much more so than fishing.

Although I did take a couple of rods along Saturday morning the main objective of my trip was waterfowl photography. Putting out a couple of trolling lures, I searched the lake for birds. With the cold 36F water temp I didn’t find any fish willing to bite.

At one point during the morning I spotted a couple of duck on open water. As I attempted to approach they would slip under the surface and soon pop up quite some distance from where they had submerged. Once I was within about 200 yards I was able to identify them as Bufflehead hens. Before I could close the distance to within photographic range they swam towards shore and disappeared.

Some time later while rounding a small point I discovered this Bufflehead hen sitting in a small cove. Approaching with the boat, I began pressing the shutter button half way every few seconds to keep the focus set for when the duck would begin her take-off. When I was within about 30 yards the little duck began to patter across the surface in a frantic burst of action.

When shooting take-off shots I find that it is very important to keep the focus set very close to the distance of the subject as you approach, otherwise the camera will frequently hit focus on the background or some other unintended object when the action does occur.


Shelley said...

I love hearing your camera tips and hope you continue to share!! Beautiful shot!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Well worth the effort Coy.

In Zimbabe I had a small hide which I built out of shade netting (no roof, just the sides with holes cut out for the camera). I would anchor the boat in a place which they seemed to favour, set up the hide and wait. Sooner or later they would get used to the boat being there and come close enough for photography. It does take a lot od patience though, then agai, what else is there to do sometimes. :) I wish I could scan those slide to post, but it is not worth the ffoert of taking them in as the color has gone on most of them.

Anonymous said...

Great take off shot Salty and all the harder from a boat.

I love how you caught it walking on water.

Manz said...

I just became a follower of your blog... looks like you're becoming the master at this type of photography - great image!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

You're a great photographer indeed :)

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Kerri Farley said...

Another fab capture Salty!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photo. I really like the trail of water in this shot and in the shot of the goose.

Leedra said...

I enlarged to see this duck because I have never seen one. The shot is so clear. Thanks for the tips.

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