January 08



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Flying Pintail 1




Many ducks and other birds migrate south during the winter and the San Diego area seems to be a pretty good place stay.  As a result, many lakes and ponds are loaded with birds, although most just seem to be relaxing and not doing much flying.  Life is good. 


Photographing ducks in flight is an incredible challenge; they are moving in excess of 50 MPH.  At first sight, it seems like it might be easy but when you point your camera (and telephoto lens) at a flying duck, you realize that there is a lot more going on.  The ducks don't fly straight; they make course corrections constantly.  Their dark feathers and rapidly flapping wings will challenge almost every auto focus system.  I've been photographing ducks for several years and capturing a close-up image of a duck in flight involves high end digital equipment and a lot of luck.


I don't believe I could have taken the image above only a few months ago.  Why?  Equipment limitations.  The image above was taken with a newly introduced 12 megapixel digital camera with state-of-the-art auto focus mechanism.  The lens used was another state-of-the-art 200-400 F4 auto focus lens with outstanding optics.  My previous high end DSLR and 80-400 would not have captured this image.  I hate to say that equipment can be limiting factor but, in this case, it's true.


To view additional images:

Ducks 2