Wednesday, March 24, 2010

spontaneous morning photo shoot

It was exactly 7:15 AM when my sister and I headed out to feed the sheep and their three new lambs this morning. Speed was critical; we needed to be done quickly enough to allow time to eat breakfast, change, and gather up notebooks and pencils before leaving for a scheduled annual test at 8:15. There was a silver frost covering the ground and the sun rose into a shrouding haze of clouds.

The lighting couldn't have been better for a photo shoot, if I could find something to photograph.

I was about to pull on my rubber boots on the back porch when I saw a pair of Mallards gliding across the calm, metallic-golden surface of our pond. Perfect.

Five seconds of debate followed. Should I just continue with my morning and arrive at the test calm and unhurried ... or take advantage of the perfect lighting and impeccable subject matter?

On impulse, I dashed back inside for the camera and then hurtled myself into a hollow corner of the lawn sheltered slightly by pine trees--complete with an ideal angle of the shimmering pond. After adjusting the camera settings to fit the conditions, I snapped away about 150 pictures in 10 minutes. The ducks were dark silhouettes against the water, bathing and swimming and diving for food. I could hardly wait to sort through the photos and pick out the best ones so I could show them to you!

This one was an attempt to balance the duck with the reed in the right side of the picture. But the duck's stance, facing away from the reed, didn't work the way I wanted it to in this particular technique. So I tried again:
The duck's position seems a little easier to balance properly in this one because the head faces toward the reed. Unfortunately my precarious position forced me to photograph through grass blades which, though blurred, still seem to distract from the picture. On the bright side, however, they add a level of intimacy to the photo by giving you the feeling you're down on the duck's level--almost like you're spying on it.

 << This is one of my favorites.

 The spread wings, the golden water, and the other duck providing the balance makes for an interesting photo. I also have a partiality to the pinkish sunlight on the grassy hill behind.

I've decided to divide these and a few others between my "Scenes" and "Birds" photo galleries, since some of them speak more of the landscape than the actual Mallards.

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