Female Ring-necked Duck With Three Catch Lights

It’s “only” a duck but she’s a pretty little duck.


1/2500, 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

I photographed her six days ago at a pond near my home when she unexpectedly swam in close to me for a few seconds and I think she’s subtly beautiful. In this photo I like the nice light on her entire body, excellent detail, the low angle on the bird and direct eye contact. Here we see the uniquely peaked and angular profile of the short crest on her head that is unlike that of any other North American duck.

While I was processing the image something about her eye caught my attention.



She has three catch lights in her eye. The larger round one at the center of the iris is a direct reflection of the sun which was low in the sky so it was very close to the eye’s midline. The longer one beneath it is a reflection of the sun off the water and the catch light at the corner of the eye is probably another direct reflection of the sun. Double catch lights occur fairly often when birds are on or near water but I don’t get three of them very often. A few times I’ve even had four.

Sometimes multiple catch lights can be distracting but they’re usually natural so I prefer not to remove any of them. In this case they didn’t bother me one bit.




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