Wednesday, March 23, 2011

American Mink

What incredible luck to get a nice photograph of an American mink. I was positioned near a creek bank hoping to get photos of ducks descending into the creek. I spotted the mink when he climbed to the top of the bank about 20 yards away from me. He was in shade until he reached this spot about 10 yards away and stopped briefly to look back. I took this one photo and he was in motion again. I got one more image before he disappeared over the edge.
This section of creek is not far from civilization and the bank has been reinforced to prevent erosion. The mink is standing on stones that are held in place with a wire cage. The creek behind the mink and the far bank are both in deep shade, which is why the background is so dark.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ducks approaching with cupped wings.

The ducks are finally starting to get active after the long winter. The ponds are still frozen but I was positioned near a fast-moving creek with open water. These two mallard ducks are descending with cupped wings toward the creek. They came in hot and fast; notice that their feet are not yet deployed as air brakes. This is the last frame in a series I got with the motor drive running. After this shot they screamed over my head and I lost focus.
Setting the exposure can be tricky against the sky because the meter tells the camera to stop down too much, resulting in underexposure. This photo was taken shortly after sunrise on a cloudless day so the light was predictable. I metered against a neutral background of trees and manually set the camera to expose at 1/1000 second at f6.3, ISO 400 with a 400mm lens. Notice that the hen is sharply focused but there isn't enough depth of field for both ducks. The drake was following too far behind and is quite soft.