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I’ve been knee-deep in inventory (gotta love tax season), so I am forced to dig into the photo archives. Since it has been raining for two days straight (with no end in sight), a duck image seemed appropriate. They are the only ones who would favor this kind of weather! 🙂 

Though these birds are native to Australia and the near-by islands, I didn’t have to travel that far to snap this shot. Luckily, a small tribe make their home on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (a favorite place of mine to visit).

Unlike our local Mallards, this species prefers the grasslands but will congregate during the day with other waterfowl on the margins of rivers, swamps, marshes and lagoons.

“Duck à l’Orange” (Plumed Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna eytoni) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/9, 1/320s, -0.3EV, ISO 400

Looking back, I am not sure why I photographed the bird at such an irregular angle. But somehow, I think it works! 🙂

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16 Comments

  1. What beautiful plummage this duck has and such a gorgeous capture of it. Sorry to hear about your long rainy days. Hope you get some sunshine soon 🙂

    • Thanks, Amber! Do you have some California sunshine to spare?? If so, please send it quick! Overnight, we are forecasted for 60 MPH wind gusts along with the rain – yikes!

  2. The second I saw this photo I just wanted to reach out and touch him… wonderful color and the different angle actually helps you focus on the colour, texture etc…and then as a last focus, you realize that this little creatures eyes are looking at you, half at you and half not. You can be sure he’s keeping tabs on us as we are on him…

    It’s raining here too (hard) so yes I agree, a very suitable photo for a wet and cold day. Now would you rather be the duck out in the rain, or inside and cozy but up to your armpits in tax forms? Hmmm… Let me think about that one for a bit.

    • Awwww, thanks so much, kiwidutch!

      Can I choose option (C) where I am lying poolside in the warm sun with a drink in hand? 🙂

  3. Cute little duck! See any swimming past your house yet? 😉

    • Thanks! Yeah, very funny, Michaela. It is a mess out there. HUGE tree fell down across the street, narrowly missing a house. Took down the power lines, tho. We have Scoth pine branches strewn all over and the wind took out some outdoor lights of ours. Not fun. Oh, and I don’t know how much rain we actually got, but it looks like swampland in our back yard! And, another storm arrives tonight. Good times.

  4. It really works, trust me. I’m such a fan of ducks, this one seems softy. Hope you some sunshine in the next days. 😉

    • Thanks, Babs. 🙂 Sun came out this morning, but another storm is on its way. Sigh.

  5. On my last two visits to Animal Kingdom, I made time to wander the paths around the Tree of Life. Lots of beautiful flora and fauna to stop, watch, photography and enjoy.

    You got rain, eh? We got two feet of heavy snow over night. Thankfully my snowblower didn’t break or my back would have!

    • Boy did we get rain! Along with strong winds that raged all night long. Not fun. I think I would have preferred snow.

      We love to wander Animal Kingdom. It is very peaceful and beautiful and those areas are typically void of crowds as they are all too busy with the attractions. Their loss! 🙂

  6. Bird is the word, after all …..

  7. I would have preferred no storm at all. But we survived.

    Just curious Tracy, how much post processing do you do? Or is this a straight out of the camera shot?

    • Me, too! Glad you are alright. There is damage all over our city. Lots of downed trees, broken fences, broken signs. I didn’t see any house damage but I didn’t drive all over. I will need to watch the local news tonight to see what the worst of it was. I actually got yelled at today by a guy because I was photographing a tree that was down on his property! (I wasn’t on his property, I was in the road). I tried to explain that I wasn’t photographing his house and that I was a nature photog, etc., but he wanted nothing of it. So, I just left.

      Anyways, to your question: When I processing my images, I am typically thinking ahead to how they will appear printed. Therefore, that is a huge influence on my finishing process. All of my images are run through Nik Dfine (plug-in for PS) to remove contrast and color noise. The amount varies. Makes digital images appear less, um, digital. 🙂 Next, I will check levels and make adjustments if needed (most often, I do not). If there is any clean-up work to be done (ie, unexplained spots or what have you) I remove them. Again, I am always thinking about the print process and strange spots can appear as though the print is bad. After this, it really depends upon the image. Some images require nothing further but a bit of sharpening. Others, I may dodge and burn to bring out areas of importance. I also may bump up contrast (typically, using the Tonal Contrast tool in NIK Color Efex Pro), and saturation. If I am feeling particularly artsy or I feel the image needs it, I have other Nik filters that I like to use: Vignette Blur, Darken edges, Polarization (great filter for removing glare), in addition to some toning and B/W filters. I really hate to do alot of post processing, and try to do the minimum I can.

      For this particular image, I know I applied some tonal contrast to the birds feathers to make them more textural. There was a double highlight in the iris so I removed one and brightened the other. I also dodged and burned around the eye, beak and head areas to make them stand out as well as bumped up saturation in these areas. (People like pretty, colorful bird images). Then a bit of sharpening for the web. I believe that was it.

  8. I feel compelled to have photos as-is, with only slight adjustment of levels, but started to feel outdated, if you know what I mean.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I used to feel this way until about 4 years ago when I attended a photography workshop run by some really successful photographers (Moose Peterson, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, etc.). They walked us through their photo finishing process and right then I was like, “A-ha! That’s why my images don’t look like theirs!” For quite sometime I was dismayed until I wrote Moose personally and he explained the limitations of digital and that what my goal should be is to render an image like I saw it. So, that is what I try to do. Of course, there are times, I do utilize my artistic license! 🙂


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