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Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots #6124318 01/07/16 08:56 PM
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Blue Moon Offline OP
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Buffleheads are North Americaís smallest diving duck; similar in size to a Green-winged Teal. The ancients called Buffleheads Spirit Ducks for their mystical ability to disappear just as you pull the trigger. Besides diving, they launch into flight with fewer steps compared to other divers.



From a photography standpoint, size, speed and ultrafast wingbeats make the Bufflehead one of the most challenging ducks to capture in flight. While I shoot with both a Canon and Benelli, I know firsthand that all ducks are significantly easier to shoot with my Benelli. On the other hand, just about any flight shots of Buffleheads are trophies for wildlife photographers. Female Buffleheads are smaller and darker with less white war paint on their cheeks compared to drakes.



If hunters or photographers are looking up, they often miss approaching Bufflehead. These tiny ducks tend to fly in low, right on the deck low, and wicked fast. The inbound drakes have fat white bellies. They remind me of playing baseball and look like low fast balls hurling toward the plate.

Drakes appear white and black in overcast or indirect light conditions but close-up shots captured in direct light reveal the drakesí iridescent purple and green forehead and throat feathers. These shots were captured in January 2016, along the Central Flyway in North Texas.


__________________________

Over the Christmas holiday, on a dark, overcast day in Oklahoma, I managed a few Canvasback shots.



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As the most common duck in North America, I tend to shoot a lot of drake mallard landing shots. Just like hunting, the trick to getting a good shot is to understand the role the wind and sun play on the outcome. Besides setting up for great light, my goal is to capture wing motion but I also want sharp bills and eyes. After thousands of mallard shots, having a goal in mind keeps the thrill in the chase. Drake Mallard landing in twilight; Central Flyway, Christmas holidays 2015.


__________________________

Iím not a fan of overly processed images with unnatural, oversaturated colors. On the other hand sometimes the sunrise is dreamlike when the first rays of light chase the night away. This was the 2015 winter solstice sunrise over secluded water a few weeks ago.



Blue Moon

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124330 01/07/16 09:04 PM
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Leonardo Offline
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Amazing pictures!

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124335 01/07/16 09:05 PM
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UTMallard Offline
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Great pics! What camera/lenses are you using in these?

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124356 01/07/16 09:17 PM
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Love the pics !

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124392 01/07/16 09:38 PM
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clap clap clap

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124514 01/07/16 11:10 PM
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Outstanding



Take a kid Huntin
Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124595 01/08/16 12:17 AM
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Deputy T Offline
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Wow. Best pictures I have seen in awhile!


In God we trust, All others I run through TCIC/NCIC
Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6124625 01/08/16 12:34 AM
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ken starling Offline
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Those are simply amazing pictures

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6125020 01/08/16 04:21 AM
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Fantastic. I always enjoy seeing your posts


Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6125041 01/08/16 04:43 AM
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Wow.


Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I just turned it on . I was looking bird dogs in the butt this morning.


Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6125061 01/08/16 05:07 AM
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scubaarchery Offline
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Those pictures are amazing. Do you sell prints???


Catch more hybrids, sand-bass and striper with the Thumpíemup Thumper!
www.thumpemupfishing.com
Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6125548 01/08/16 04:20 PM
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ndhunter Offline
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Incredible pics Blue Moon

If my memory serves me you used to post quite a bit on THF but not so much lately

I hope you keep posting these pics

Thanks

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6126485 01/09/16 02:52 AM
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The best


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Originally Posted by bill oxner
Loved my 4 inches. Well needed.

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6127071 01/09/16 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted By: Blue Moon


Those are all incredible pics, but I really like this one. Can that wing get any closer to the water without touching it?

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6127177 01/09/16 06:22 PM
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Beautiful


ďI hump the wild to take it all in, there is no bag limit on happiness.Ē Ted Nugent
Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Guy] #6127190 01/09/16 06:36 PM
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Blue Moon Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Guy
Those are all incredible pics, but I really like this one. Can that wing get any closer to the water without touching it?

Many thanks to the tribe for all the encouraging words, theyíre always appreciated. Regarding UTMallardís question about the camera body and lens, these were captured with Canon pro bodies and glass but you really donít have to spend a fortunate to capture world class waterfowl shots. Mastering the craft is much more important than shooting with the latest gear. I honed my bird in flight skills with my first dSLR when I switched from film, a Canon 30D. Canon has since replaced that body with the 40D, 50D and now 7D series.

Currently my normal outfit for waterfowl and most wildlife shots is a Canon 1D Mk IV body and 500 f/4L lens. If Iím really close to the landing zone shooting from either a pit or floating blind sometimes Iíll shoot with the 300 f/2.8L or 100-400L depending on light conditions. If I have to handhold for any reason when shooting bird in flight shots then Iím likely shooting with the 100-400L.

If youíre interested in trying your hand at waterfowl photography, this is a good time to find a great deal on preowned pro glass. Canon recently released upgrades to most of their big white wildlife lenses so there is a large inventory of really good preowned glass for sale. A Canon 7D and 100-400L or 400 f/5.6L make a really good waterfowl/wildlife combo to get started with. If budget allows the newer Canon 7D MkII and Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS USM II is an outstanding combo for capturing bird in flight images plus itís also a good combo for capturing your childrenís daylight outdoor sporting events if you need an excuse to help justify the purchase.

Ndhunter, many thanks... I look forward to posting more in the future. The last few years have been a roller coaster so not much time for personal social media. Seems ironic to write that because I spend a lot of time helping companies tell their story as Iím most often trying to help startups get off the ground or established companies reach the next level of success. At the moment Iím unemployed and looking for my next gig so I took a break from the job hunt to chase some images over the holiday.

Guy, you have a really good eye... That shot is what inspired me to share. Itís a crazy difficult shot to get. Wing composition and focus was exactly what I was shooting for. The depth of field, the small area of the image thatís sharp, is always very shallow when shooting action shots. The lower wingtip perfectly dissects the small area of the image thatís in focus. This is apparent if you look at the water in the foreground and behind the bufflehead. I cropped the shot tighter than Iíd print it because thereís a size limit for images on THF. This one would look better if it was a tad bigger if youíre viewing on a big monitor, on a small device it really doesnít matter.

Again, many thanks again for all the encouragement. Much appreciated.

Happy New Year,

Blue Moon

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6129223 01/10/16 11:39 PM
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Dave Speer Offline
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FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

And also, the reflections on that bufflehead's wing in that water-touch photo are amazing.

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6129887 01/11/16 12:12 PM
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about 20 yrs ago on a small tank in a mesquite pasture, I shot a few buffles...
yes, in the sun they are not just B&W...
grilled the breasts, flattened and rolled w/jalapeno and bacon...

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6130252 01/11/16 04:25 PM
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Wow, those look great.

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Dave Speer] #6143360 01/19/16 06:56 PM
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Blue Moon Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Dave Speer
FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

And also, the reflections on that bufflehead's wing in that water-touch photo are amazing.

Just wanted to say thanks again for all the kind words. I really don't like to bump my own posts other than to say thanks and respond to direct questions. In this case I couldn't let the opportunity pass without shouting out kudos to Dave and all the decoy carvers on THF. I'm a huge fan and always amazed when I see the works of art these masters create.

In the past, I somewhat dreaded the twilight of each waterfowl season. The good news for guys like Dave that carve, there is no end to the season. Same with waterfowl photography. The plumage only gets better. While I'll keep shooting, at least with my Canon, it's also just about time to get the airbrush out and dust on some custom paint or photofinish a few lures. Spring will be here before you know it.

Thanks again,

Blue Moon

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6144314 01/20/16 03:59 AM
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If I had a spare minute to give I would get into some post season photography as well. It would be nice to take my own reference pictures. More hobbies is just barking up the wrong tree for me right now. I know some guys that throw decoys and shoot with cameras from end of Jan-Apr or so and it seems like a fun way to make it last.

Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6144320 01/20/16 04:02 AM
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Outstanding photography, you have a true gift. Thank you for sharing cheers


Re: Blue Moonís Bufflehead and Canvasback Shots [Re: Blue Moon] #6144336 01/20/16 04:22 AM
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Blue Moon.

Awesome work my wife loved the mallard as did I. Thank you very much for sharing!!

4W


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