LaSalle Park Winter Visit

Yesterday I took a couple of hours out of my schedule for a LaSalle Park winter visit. With mainly overcast skies the conditions were far from ideal, but the outing did yield a few usable bird images.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. A note of thanks to our reader Glen Fox, for clarifying species identification.

Olympus TG-5, 4.5 mm, efov 25 mm, f/2, 1/2000, ISO-100

Readers will likely notice the use of a different camera for the above image… more on that in about a month.

If I have made any errors with my attempts to identify birds please feel free to provide corrected information!

Trumpeter swan, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1400

Various waterfowl favour different areas along the LaSalle Park shoreline. The trumpeter swans and mallard ducks tend to hang around each other along the northern shoreline.

Female mallard, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1800

Both the swans and ducks are used to being around people so it is possible to get quite close to them.

Male mallard, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 201 mm, efov 542.7 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1600

To get a more intimate perspective for these types of images it is often helpful to tilt the rear screen of your camera and shoot closer to the ground.

There were a good number of Canada geese in flight. Most fly-by opportunities were belly shots up against a grey sky. I was able to get a few decent captures with the birds closer to the water.

Canada goose, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-2000, 10 fps
Canada goose, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-2000, 10 fps

A few other species tend to congregate closer to the peninsula foot bridge towards the southern end of the LaSalle Park shoreline. I was able to photograph a couple of long-tailed ducks.

Male long-tailed duck, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1100
Male long-tailed duck transitioning to summer plumage, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1800

Sometimes the best that Mother Nature offers up are some photographs that may only be useful for potential species identification. The images of a white-winged scoter and a goldeneye below are two such photographs.

White-winged scoter, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-560, 10 fps
Goldeneye, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-560, 10 fps

My best capture during my recent LaSalle Park winter visit happened just shortly before I headed off for home. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a merganser swim out from underneath some ice-covered tree branches. All I had time to do was wheel around and grab a quick AF-C burst, before the merganser swam out of range.

Female red-breasted merganser, Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-1400

Even when the weather is not particularly good, going out with our gear to photograph birds is often a worthwhile endeavor. We may spot some birds we haven’t seen before. We may capture a few usable images during our outing. If nothing else, getting some practice and maintaining our shooting skills, may pay dividends in the future.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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6 thoughts on “LaSalle Park Winter Visit”

  1. Tom,

    Love all the images especially the detailed macros. Such beautiful creatures. I was away in the boondocks when your post on “to clip bird wings or not?” was published, hence my inability to comment but my two cents worth is that given the photographer/artist’s intent, clipping can make a strong image more powerful.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the images Oggie! Being able to photograph the birds using a long focal length zoom helps capture feather details… especially when the lens has a fairly short minimum focusing distance.
      Tom

  2. Thomas,
    You are becoming a skilled bird photographer, especially of birds in flight. Fantastic, sharp, detailed photos that really show what is possible with a 1″ sensor. I love the image you labeled “female Long-tailed Duck” ..its actually a male transitioning to his summer plumage. The merganser is a female Red-breasted Merganser.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Glen,

      Thanks for the clarification on the species identification – much appreciated! I will make appropriate changes to the article. I wasn’t sure whether the second long-tailed duck image was of a female or a male with transitioning plumage. The photo reference that I could find wasn’t definitive… so I made my best guess.

      Tom

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