I was starting to think about heading home from the bird sanctuary on Sunday. There were a lot of people there and lots of kids making noise, so many of the birds just passing through were staying away or at least out of sight. But there were a few interesting shots to capture. Some of the mallards and some of the coots were a little irritable, squabbling over food resources (the vegetation kind, not the handouts) and in one tiny corner of the sanctuary the reflections on the water resembled liquid gold. For the most part I was amusing myself by working on scenic images of the ponds and pathways in the sanctuary.
As I was strolling along one of the paths next to a small slough, out of the corner of my eye I thought I caught a suggestion of movement under the overgrown bank on the other side of the slough. Finding a clear spot that gave me an unobstructed view of the far bank, I gave my eyes time to adjust to the gloom under the bank. Yes, there was a pair of wood ducks hiding over there. I could just see the white markings on the drake and the hen’s eye patch. The people near me finally moved away and the wood ducks decided to move out from under the darkest part of their hiding place, but turned their backs to me. I knew that if I could capture them in that light I would have an image that I would count among my favorites. But I needed them to turn their heads. I waited… Finally the hen turned a bit, I held my breath…and then the drake turned a little, and as he did he positioned his flank into a spot of filtered light from the late afternoon sun infiltrating the grass and branches hanging over the bank. He didn’t stay there for long but I was ready, I just hoped I had the focus right! I could hardly wait to get home to take a better look at my image…but phew! It was fine. It was a RAW file so of course it needed basic processing, but essentially nothing beyond that. And yes, it is definitely one of my favorite images! I couldn’t have planned the image any better. Like my Fairytale Swans image, it was a gift!