Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ducks Unlimited

Canon EOS 20D with 70-200L-1.4 extender @ 450mm ISO400

In the last few days I had noticed that there were quite a number of ducks in the skies around Calgary and decided that I should check out the ducks down at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. The morning proved to be a beautiful morning with the sun not to far off of the horizon but warming things nicely. I made the short walk from my truck to the lagoon where I knew there would be ducks in the open water. I was prepared with my camera set up with extender and electronic flash to stop the action as the ducks came and went in the early morning sky. Actually not all of my photos this morning were against all that blue sky as some were shot against the brushy area across the lagoon from me such as the above photo.

So saying that, here is a capture that I shot as this flock of Mallards winged their way past me on the way out to feed. As I said the skies were that deep blue that shows these ducks nicely. I am using a ISO of 400 to keep my shutter speed up as to keep the photos sharp and stop the action. I also had my electronic flash in place for all of these captures. My flash allows me to set it up for high speed sync and allows it to fire in sync at all shutter speeds up to 1/8000 thousand of a second. Of course you need a lot of fire power to get a proper exposure when the ducks are doing a fly by at 100-200 feet away.

Canon EOS 20D with 70-200L-1.4 extender @ 450mm ISO400

I enjoyed my time this morning while in The Sanctuary and shot many captures of not only the ducks which were in great abundance, but the geese in attendance were subject to my camera as well. With a heavy frost over night, the trees, shrubs and grasses were beautiful as the covering of frost made them sparkle and shimmer in the early morning sunlight. I enjoy shooting photos of any of the grasses, or shrubs back-lighted against a bright background. Shooting with the lens-aperture wide open allows the photo to show nice Bokeh (check out labels). Remember, to capture images such as of these Mallard Ducks, use a high shutter speed and electronic flash to stop the action, use your camera motor-drive as well. I also use AI Servo which allows my camera to make changes to the focus as I maintain pressure on the firing button with the ducks moving towards or away from me. I also used matrix metering in combination with the nine focusing islands in my viewfinder for these captures. When you start shooting you should check and make the necessary adjustments for flash exposure and as in my captures of these ducks, I was making continuous adjustments to both the flash output as well as to the camera.

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