Welcome to Exposure. My blog about the scenes behind the scenes as a news photographer in Winnipeg.
Wednesday 18 April 2012
Shooting some ducks...
To photograph ducks in their natural habitat, you have to be up early, and you have to be prepared to spend a long time kneeling in cold water. These are a couple of the things I learned at theDeltaMarsh. It was my first time photographing waterfowl in the wild, and it didn't take me long to realize it is something that is very rewarding. Fred Greenslade, fromDeltaWaterfowl, was kind enough to bring me along to learn the ropes. He had all the gear we needed, including the Chewbacca-esque ghillie suits we needed to wear to provide camouflage.
Three factors came together to make perfect conditions for photographing ducks. The first two factors were sun and wind. The wind was gusting south-east, which meant the ducks would be landing facing towards the sun, which wasn't hiding behind any clouds. The third, and most important factor is that there were plenty of ducks around for us to shoot.
There are lots of ducks now, because it is their peak migration season. Most of the birds here now use the marsh as a staging area, or a pit stop in the spring and fall as they travel all over.
Fred compared photographing ducks with sports. The comparison proved to be true, as you are photographing a subject with which you have little or no control. All you can do is put yourself in the right position to get the photographs you are looking for. You quickly realize, however, that ducks travel a lot faster than any hockey or football player. Many of my photos were back focused as I tried to track the birds while they zig zagged over the marsh.