Ducks by Forty Mile Creek

Every now and then we all need a short break and a bit of relaxation. So it was for me this afternoon, so I grabbed a camera and headed off to Forty Mile Creek in Grimsby to see what I could find.

I’ve been trying to get some images of a kingfisher the last couple of times that I visited the creek without success. The birds are extremely skittish and as soon as I’ve gotten almost close enough to try to capture an image they dash off. Just in case Lady Luck was going to smile down on me today, I set my camera to try to capture one of these little beauties in flight.

*sigh* Once again I failed to get any images. The only reason I even mention this is as an explanation for some of the fast shutter speeds you will see on the EXIF data for some of the images.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 819mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-160

I have always preferred to take images of ducks along creeks and rivers when possible as it is a more natural setting for the birds.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 250mm, efov 675mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-900
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 250mm, efov 675mm, f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO-900

These types of environments often have more interesting light to help make images a touch more dramatic. I often look for ducks in shade or part shade to help avoid getting highlight details being blown out by strong sunlight.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-220

Quite often there are some trees and low bushes along the shoreline which can act as a natural blind and help get a bit closer to the birds.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-400
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-400

While some ducks were landing on the creek sporadically, there simply wasn’t enough clear shooting angle to get any images of them in flight. I did manage a few AF-C runs at 15fps when the occasional duck would flap its wings rapidly and rise slightly out of the water.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-200
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-200

I love the assortment of images that my Nikon 1 V2 creates during these types of photo opportunities as there are always a range of wing positions from which to choose.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 212mm, efov 571mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 212mm, efov 571mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-3200

With a bit of luck I managed some images of ducks scratching their necks…that type of action tends to happen really quickly!

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 229mm, efov 618mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-2800
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 229mm, efov 618mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-2800

Having fairly calm and smooth water in the background often helps create nice image separation and I always look for this type of composition.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-560
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-560

As is often the case, where you find ducks there may also be cormorants.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO-1250
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO-1250

Unfortunately they were a fair distance away and I wasn’t able to get any good, close-up images.

Nikon 1 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO-720
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO-720

In terms of camera settings I shot in Manual with 160-6400 auto-ISO. Depending on the lighting I used either spot or centre-weighted metering.

Overall, it was an enjoyable hour or two spent at Forty Mile Creek.

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10 thoughts on “Ducks by Forty Mile Creek”

  1. Great shots! I love cormorants, they have such a primal dino look. I’d love to capture one, but it they are always too far away, or i see them when I didn’t bring my camera.

  2. Lovely images! There are a few of the images where the water actually looks like a bed of soft feathers … Plays nicely with feathers on the ducks!

  3. Hi Thomas
    Nice pictures, got inspiration to make my own duck pictures better at by little pond, with ducks two cormorants and a pair of Great crested grebes with chicks. I also use the CX 70-300, but the lake is to wide even for this very nice lens.
    Bent

    1. Hi Bent,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article – thanks for the positive comment! Hopefully you’ll find some specimens closer to the bank of the lake and capture some images!

      Tom

    1. Hi Mike,

      Yeah…those kingfishers are beautiful birds and I’d love to get some good images of them. The ones along the creek are so skittish I haven’t had any luck. They dart around like crazy and I can hear their calls up and down the creek…by the time I try to quietly get up to where they are perched they dart off again. I did see one drop straight down out of a tree and nab a fish but couldn’t catch him with my camera. *sigh*…I will keep being patient. Thanks for the positive comment.

      Tom

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