Day 31#: Quite Common! So What?

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Photo of the Day. Best Nature and Bird Photos.Mallard duck in flight,Grayslake,Illinois. Best bird sanctuary in India. Nature, Wildlife, Bird, and Landscape Photography by Prathap.

The Photo

A Mallard Duck landing in a pond in Grayslake, Illinois.

Story Behind the Photo

Mallard ducks are quite common in North America and makes for a very good photographic subject. The male mallard ducks have amazing plumage and makes for a fantastic portrait photographs.

As you might be already aware, I never think twice to make a photograph of any bird. I don’t run behind the rare species instead I love all birds. That’s the core principle I have used while writing my free bird photography ebook 15 Incredible Bird Photographers Tips for Beginners.

On this occasion I set myself up to a lower position to get a cleaner background and get the approaching mallard duck photograph. It is generally not very easy to get an approaching shot as they avoid landing in front of humans. They can swiftly change their course of flight in case they see someone close.

It was a very long wait until this mallard duck flew towards me. I was so delighted to see it coming towards me and I didn’t want to miss a chance like that. It took quite a long time until I could get the autofocus system lock onto the incoming mallard duck.

Read more on Day #16 story to get an idea about how to track the incoming bird in flight.

Quick Tip

If you are a beginner, you should never underestimate the potential of photographing a mallard ducks. They are your best friends.  They allow you closer like no other birds. You could take superb photographs with virtually any lens longer than 50mm.

Why not use that opportunity to make some memorable photographs thereby learning all the skills necessary for pulling out some amazing bird photographs?

Facts from Wiki

The mallard or wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and subtropical Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The male birds (drakes) have a glossy green head and are grey on wings and belly, while the females have mainly brown-speckled plumage. Mallards live in wetlands, eat water plants and small animals, and are gregarious. This species is the ancestor of most breeds of domestic ducks.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Photo Story. Have a Great Day Ahead!

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2 Responses to Day 31#: Quite Common! So What?

  1. richard warren July 27, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    Prathap, the bird may be “common” – but there’s nothing in the least bit “common” about your photo.

    It wins at every level.

    When I was younger and photography was all “analogue”, we were told there was a triangle we had to know – aperture, shutter speed and film speed. Your selection of the right aperture has given you wonderful bokeh, concentrating the viewer onto the subject matter of the photo and providing a perfect background (more on that, below). Your shutter speed seems absolutely perfect – short enough to arrest the movement of the bird, long enough to leave a faint touch of movement in the feathers of its left wing, and just right to capture the sparkle of the water beneath its feet as it lands.

    The composition of your photo is also perfect. Back half a century or so, we were taught composition in a purely black & white context – starting with the so-called “rule of thirds” – though quite why it was ever called a “rule”, rather than a “guideline”, I never understood. This photo ticks all the boxes. But further – it picks up where that kind of guidance on composition left off – because of the subject matter it bends the “rule” of thirds slightly, giving the bird the right degree of prominence in the field of view. The composition gives the bird “room to move” – a sufficient border of foreground & background – and perfect balance, emphasising the perfection of the bird and its movements. And the reflections on the water, from whatever was in the background, give added emphasis to the composition, subtly underscoring the “thirds” in the field of view. Magic!

    And you have captured the next phase of composition perfectly – composing not merely shapes, but also colours – the background & foreground colours are a stunning combination of colours which are perfect for the bird which is the subject matter of your photo. Composing colours is harder than composing shapes, because we don’t always have the same control over what’s in the field of view – you must have planned this shot for ages!

    Recently, thinking of the aperture/shutter/film speed triangle, I was struck with a thought. With digital photography, we now have another “triangle” – white balance, exposure & focus. To some degree this overlaps the traditional triangle – but the emphasis shifts with digital.

    In the past we often used supplementary lighting to shift “white balance” but now, we can “dial our own” – so there’s more of a tendency to go with “what is” than to bring on the photo floods or whatever. In any case, I doubt you can make a huge amount of use of artificial light in bird photography, so you are very reliant on your skills at choosing the right white balance at the time you press the shutter button. I haven’t seen the original of your photo, of course, but I was immediately struck by the colours when I saw your posting and at once thought you have really “nailed” the white balance for this shot. And of course, focus and exposure are really covered by my earlier comments.

    Without getting these three right, digital photos often fall away. Incorrect exposure and/or white balance can – to a small degree – be “corrected” in post processing, but they immediately bring with them the risk of “noise” – which is I suppose a bit like “graininess”, but adds other negatives when it is present in a photo. However, there’s not much scope for error before the quality of the photo starts to suffer.

    So the bird might be common – but your photograph is far from “common” – it’s outstanding!

    Thanks for sharing it.

    • Prathap July 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      Hello! Richard Warren. I am spell-bound by your comment. What an eye for detail! I wouldn’t be able to ever describe it in this detail. Thank you in all respects. Hats off to your patience and encouragement.
      It really means a lot to me.

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