My challenge for the last two weeks has been to catch a flying duck with clear and crispy wings and large enough that it does not look drowned in the rest of the photo. For some it may be easy, for me it was not. I had to go back to the river a few time, change my technique, do things differently, change the setting of my camera. Seagulls are much easier to catch because they fly slower than ducks; it’s too bad they are as colorful as ducks.
So my conclusions are speed shutter no less 1/750 s if you want to “freeze” the duck and 1/1000 s if you want to freeze the very tips of the wings. Sunny days are better because you can get than fast speed without sacrificing a low ISO. Set the autofocus of your camera on continuous mode and dynamic zone, burst mode and be patient. All the photos below were taken with my Nikon 70-300 mm 4.5 and no post production changes were done except light adjustment from the RAW file.
Since the ducks won’t help you and will not take off at your command, unless you are God, sit, wait and watch. Bring something to sit on, a tarp or a camping mat. It won’t take long before you can “guess” what they will do next. You will scared them if you get too close, just sit and make no noise. They will come back. Remember if you stand up, for those birds, you are a tall and dangerous beast.
If you go during the love season, you’ll probably be able to see some duck porn. The final note but not the least if you are around seagulls, watch for what’s coming from the sky. Fall back from a bird photo shooting come in different format.
First try, pfotos were all out of focus because of a slow shutter speed (1/500 s).
Second try, faster shutter speed (1/750 s) and autofocus on continuous mode. Since it was a cloudy day I had to rise the ISO which is not great but still the tip of the wing is not crispy clear and I had to crop to make the duck larger.
on the fourth try , finally, (speed shutter @ 1/1000 s)
Now with seagull, caught at my first attempt (speed shutter 1/800 s)