Flappin' Redhead

On one of our many trips around The Black Point Wildlife Drive on The Merritt Island NWR I caught this redhead duck out of the corner of my eye.

He was very close to the road and seemed to be relaxed and very tolerate of all the photographers.  He was intermingling with all of the coots and blue-winged teal that were also in the area.

I am much more knowledgeable of waterfowl than any other kinds of birds, so I was super excited to get a chance to photograph this guy.  We spent about 15 minutes with this guy and I got some images I am very pleased with.

This image is out of a series I took of him doing a wing stretch.  Although their feathers are practically waterproof, this is just a way that helps them to dry off.   It is fun to watch and pretty photogenic, too.

ISO 800, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/320th second

Hover over the image to see the camera settings.  Also, click the image to see an enlarged version.

If you look closely at the image you can see the water beading off his head, neck and chest.  It amazes me how different birds are equipped with the proper equipment they need.  If you look at a wet bluebird, for instance, it looks like a hot mess.  While waterfowl have feathers that just allow water to roll right off.

I normally try to go with a shutter speed of around 1/500th second when photographing birds, in this instance I wanted to show a hint of motion in the wings, so I went with a touch slower speed at 1/320th second.  Not only does this show motion in the wings, but it also takes your eye straight to the duck's eye, which is super sharp thanks to that Tamron Lens.

This image was made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All mounted to a Sirui P-324S Monopod with L-20S Monopod Head.