Behind the Photo – Splashing Mallard

Published On: January 30th, 2022By Categories: Behind The Photo, BlogViews: 273

THE STORY

Whilst working at WWT Martin Mere at their annual North West Bird Watching Fair last year, I took some time to photograph some of the ducks in the reserve.

This surface bathing male mallard caught my eye as it churned up the water with its wings and splashed across the pond in some wonderful contrasting autumnal light.

SET UP

This behaviour often happens over a few minutes consisting of intermittent and very fast bursts of movement, albeit around a small area. As always, I opted for continuous focus as the duck would change its position on the pond as it bathed. This movement can be quite erratic as well as fast, so I also opted for a zone focus.

Mallard © Alan Hewitt PhotographyMallard © Alan Hewitt Photography
Equipment Focal Length Aperture Shutter Speed ISO
FUJIFILM X-H1 XF100-400mm 400mm f/5.6 1/2400 1000
1

11 frames per second continuous shooting and a fast shutter speed helped maximise the opportunities to capture as many shots as I could during the quick bursts of mallard movement and water action.

2

Taking the photographs is just the first part of the job, especially when using 11 frames per second. Once the raw files were in Capture One software I selected a few shots to process further. This shot made the grade, not just for the obvious reasons of exposure and focus but also as the light fell nicely on the face illuminating the irridescent greens and give a small amount of colour in the eye.

3

I don’t often opt for central compositions, but in this shot the action and shapes of the water on both sides of the subject were important parts of the behaviour photographing.

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