Gadwall In Flight And At Speed

Something a little bit different from me today. It’s “only” a duck…


1/8000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

but it’s my duck and it’s in full fast flight and sharp so I was very happy to get it. I was photographing fishing terns at Bear River MBR a week ago when this bird and a couple of companions unexpectedly buzzed me so I lifted my lens to see if I’d get lucky. Obviously I didn’t have time to adjust my camera settings but I took this handheld so a blazingly fast shutter speed actually helped to get the bird sharp. I wish the right wing was higher and better lit but otherwise I’m quite pleased with the image.

I seldom even attempt ducks in full flight at speed and it’s rare for me to post one on my blog. My reluctance to shoot them in flight is largely because I grew weary of soft or bird small-in-the-frame shots with little detail because they’re such fast flyers. I’m much more likely to attempt them at takeoff or landing than when they’re zooming around in full flight.

But this image gives me hope. Maybe next time I’ll get better light on that right wing.




27 comments to Gadwall In Flight And At Speed

  • Levi V.

    I like this picture! Honestly, I think the shadow on the wing is nice.
    Sorry I haven’t been commenting for a while. I still visit your blog when I can, and mornings are so hectic with school (which started three weeks ago for me). It’s hard to get in any photography time either.
    I made some pretty good bows lately, out of bamboo, and they fly straight and fast. The arrows are tipped with nails or whittled. The bow is maybe 7 feet tall.
    P.S. I hope temps are winding down for you! It was 116 or something today. And yesterday it was in the high 90’s with thunder and humid. Climate change I guess (the humidity).

  • How inconsiderate of that duck not to raise its right wing higher at the right time. Really, birds these days have no manners.
    A great shot just the same though.

  • Alice Beckcom

    What a good looking duck! The coloring on the head and neck that goes down on the chest is beautiful. I agree with the person who said ‘she’ looks like she is posing for you and happy to be doing so.
    Thanks for another magnificent photo, Ron.

  • Melanie Wells

    Incredible feather detail. Love it and hope you attempt more duck photos. I have never seen a Gadwall in person and only see most ducks in the water so the breast feathers are a mystery. I look for your email every day knowing that I will be delighted with your photos.

    • Thanks for noticing the detail, Melanie. In many sharp shots I have of ducks in flight they’re so small in the frame that there’s very little detail. That’s one of the reason I like this photo as much as I do.

      I’m very happy to know that you enjoy my posts so much. Thank you.

  • Susan Stone

    I’ve never seen a Gadwall that I know of. And while I’ve seen ducks in flight, I didn’t know how fast they were. They look very clunky in the air to me. So today’s post is a learning experience for me. I like the shot a lot, though I do see why you’d want the right wing to be different. It seems to me that you’ve eventually gotten a lot of the shots you’ve been trying for, so I’m sure you’ll get a better duck flight shot at some point.

  • Dick Harlow

    My, My, My what a GREAT shot Ron, I can see why you are happy with it!

  • Marty K

    Talk about grabbing one “on the fly!” 🙂 As Dick would say, VBG! (For some reason, autocorrect keeps wanting to change Dick’s name to Duck, so I think my ac likes your shot too. 😉 ) Yay for keeping your handheld close by!

    I also like the wing position and the interesting shadow it casts, as well as her beautifully fanned tail. She even seems to be smiling and saying, “Look at me! I’m gorgeous!”

  • Robert (RJ) Davis

    Striving for excellence as always! Nice rewards on this pic.

  • Very nice shot. I like the shadow from the right wing across the bird’s body in a triangle,then blending with the bird’s body’s shadow on the left wing. Those shadows give the picture movement that makes the shot exciting. IMHO, the right wing angle was fortunate.

  • Nikonsteve

    Great shot ,Ron…and handheld…..nice!

    • Thanks, Steve. Usually I’m using my window “noodle” to rest my lens on but these ducks came in unexpectedly and fairly high so I didn’t have time to raise my window – thus the “handheld”.

  • Judy Gusick

    I like it! 🙂 Great capture, Ron!

  • Charlotte Norton

    Fabulous flight shot Ron!