Brian's Photo Blog — Article 33
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Shooting the Ducks
Wednesday 26 October 2011   —   Category: Shooting
I must really be taking to heart my own advice to pay more attention to the photographic possibilities right in my own neighborhood, because I found a great opportunity just a few blocks from my house!

On the entire west, north and east sides of the development we live in there is a continuous stretch of natural woodlands, swamps, streams, meadows, a river, and wildlife (and I don’t mean the party at the neighbor’s house down the block!). The City of Albany has set aside this land as the Oak Creek Greenbelt. Within a few minutes' walk from our house, you can feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere!

Having previously seen ducks in the Greenbelt swamps as I've walked along the trail, I decided to take my camera equipment to the swamp specifically to shoot the ducks. Disclaimer: no ducks were killed, injured or traumatized during this shoot!

I mounted my Sony G-Series 70-​200​mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens (with a 2x teleconverter) to my Sony Alpha α55 body, then attached the lens to my Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 carbon fiber tripod with its Manfrotto 322RC2 joystick head. Once that was all set up, I started aiming for the ducks!

As has become my habit when taking pictures of subjects that move or change from second to second, I set my camera for “continuous” mode, so I could just keep my finger pressed down on the shutter release and take 8 to 10 photos per second. In only 15 minutes of shooting I took just about 500 pictures! You never know when you are going to capture that magic moment, and if you wait until you see it to press the shutter button, more likely than not you’re going to completely miss it.

The photo shown at the top of this page is an example of this principle. I love it — these ducks really quack me up! The male looks like it’s talking, while the female looks like it’s spitting! There is absolutely no way I could have captured that fleeting moment even if I could have seen it, which I couldn’t because I was too far away. It was only when I was looking through my 500 photos at home that I discovered what I had captured. I applied this same strategy when taking the photos for the Shannon Modeling 2011 photo album.

The moral of the story is: sometimes you need to be deliberate in your picture taking, but sometimes you just need to let 'er rip, and sort the good from the bad later. You never know what photographic jewels you might find buried in your gigabytes of pictures! Computer storage space is fairly cheap, and you can always delete the unwanted photos if you really want to (I haven’t come to that point yet — I keep everything!).

Click on the duck photos to see them larger. If you want to see more pictures from the Oak Creek Greenbelt, check out my earlier Neighborhood 2009 photo album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 33
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