Walking on Water

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I don’t know where all the birds in Australia have gone. One things for sure, wherever they are it’s nowhere where we have been looking the past few weeks.  So this morning, not wanting to drive two hours somewhere and comeback empty handed we decided to hit a local pond on the premise that it would be as good a spot as any.

Under normal circumstances we walk past Swamphens and Coots. I mean, no one in their right mind eats in McDonald’s when there is a good Thai restaurant next door, right? But beggars can’t be choosers. When there is no decent Thai nearby, a Macca’s just has to do, and so today it was down to photographing Swamphens and Coots!

After standing around watching them for a while it became apparent that the real challenge in these birds is photographing them as they take off running across the water. All that was left was to position myself in a good spot and wait for the sprint to start. Easier said than done. These birds just don’t go when they should, and when they do, its invariably in the wrong direction. So, some incentive was required. But before I let you know the secret, take a look at the five only good frames out of a total three hundred and sixty four taken!

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The pond was fairly large. At one end there is a bridge over a spillway that gave a good perspective of the water below. Lower would have been better, but you make the best of what you got. Besides the Swamphens, Moorhens and Coots the pond is home to a whole bunch of Pacific Black Duck. All it took was a few handfuls of breadcrumbs and the ducks were zooming in. This in turn attracted the moorhens and coots. Once I had them all below me, the Boss positioned herself at the other end of the bridge and threw in another handful of crumbs. Not wanting to miss out on the duck rush the  moorhens immediately took off across the water, leaving me nothing to do but focus and shoot. Easy right? Wrong! The buggers you are focused on either don’t go or get blocked out by ducks or the water is all churned up and you don’t get the crisp trail of splashes. And, like all photography, the key is good light.

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Photographing these guys literally running across the water is interesting. Today’s test run indicates potential. But it requires a skill that has to be developed further. But I reckon with a bit of practice it will be possible to get some fantastic shots.

Watch this space!

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