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A Trio Of Ducks
Photo By Marietta Schlumpf

  • Title: A Trio Of Ducks
  • State/Province/Region: Oregon
  • Country: United States
  • Nearest Area: Tualatin Hills Nature Park
  • Nearest Town: Beaverton
  • Brief Directions: Directions to Waterhouse South Park, Beaverton, OR From Portland: Take Hwy 26 West Turn Left at SW 185th Ave Go through several lights to Baseline and Turn Left at Baseline Turn Left to stay on Baseline at point where Baseline becomes Jenkins Rd. (If you go straight you will be on Jenkins Rd.) In a short distance Waterhouse South Park will be on your left. There is a paved bike/walking path that comes out to the road. Go a short distance on the path and you will come to another residential road. If on a bike watch out for the curb! Cross the road and get back on the path. The pond is further down the path on the left.
  • Notes: The camera settings were manual f/5.6 and 1/500 second. This allowed a shallow depth of field to create some blurring and impressionistic effects in the background and a fast speed to compensate for movement of the ducks and birds and my handheld camera positions. ISO was set at 200, and white balance was auto. I manually focused each photo. Processing was done in Photoshop CS5.
  • GPS Longitude: -122.846342
  • GPS Latitude: 45.515532
  • Best Season: Spring
  • Description: I love macro photography, and I don’t do it often enough. So I decided to take some new photos just for the macro assignment. I rode my bike a couple of miles to a park with a pond where I was pretty confident there would be subjects for this assignment. The pond is nestled down a little grassy slope from the bike/walking path. Some tall trees form a background behind the pond, and small trees, bushes, cattails, and various kinds of tall and wild grasses surround the pond. It was a partly sunny to overcast early Sunday evening about 6:00 p.m. The lighting was variable, not too bright to be glaring, yet bright enough to give interesting light, texture, and patterns to the scene. When I arrived, there were three ducks lying in the grass on the little slope, one duck lying on a tuft of grass right next to the pond, and several kinds of birds chirping and flying around in the bushes and foliage surrounding the pond. There were a few people hanging around the pond and passing by. All in all it was one of those times when you could just feel and hear the joy of spring in the air! The pond seemed to be a magnet pulling all of us creatures into a little pond community. And the chirping of the birds added a magical note to the scene. I parked my bike and went halfway between and path and the pond so that I would be close enough to get some macro shots, but not too close to disturb the ducks or birds. I was drawn right into the scene, so I didn’t feel as much like a spectator as like a participant in this captivating spring setting. I used my Nikon D40 with a Sigma 70-300 mm telephoto lens set to macro at 300 mm, with a Tiffen circular polarizer. I didn’t have a tripod, so I used my knees to steady my arms, yet I had the flexibility to follow the movements of the ducks and birds. At first these ducks were just resting on the grass next to the pond. Eventually, they got up and started walking to the pond for a snack, and then they came back again. They did this routine several times. I kept taking photos of their movements, trying to get all three together. Eventually they rested for a few moments in this configuration. I liked it because of the symmetry of the two mallards’ heads and curvy tail feathers and their dramatic coloring, and contrasted by the single female with the muted pattern in her colors. The camera settings were manual f/5.6 and 1/500 second. This allowed a shallow depth of field to create some blurring and impressionistic effects in the background and a fast speed to compensate for movement of the ducks and birds and my handheld camera positions. ISO was set at 200, and white balance was auto. I manually focused each photo. Processing was done in Photoshop CS5.
  • Gear: Nikon D40, Sigma 70 - 300 Telephoto zoom with macro at 300 mm, Tiffen circular polarizer
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