Today’s post is about our web-footed friends, the ducks, grebes, mergansers and loons. It is meant for visitors to simply enjoy the pictures, or in some cases ID the birds. In some respects, it is as much about the water as it is the birds.
One of the things that always drove me to photograph waterfowl of all kinds, is the compositional choices, and color variations that come with water. Water can have waves of uncountable different designs, or glass like finishes that can reflect everything from the rising sun, to deep blue skies, to the rust colored finish on old brick buildings. Oh yah, the birds ain’t bad either. Our job is just to compose the bird and the water as if they were one graphic.
Remember, no geese, shorebirds, gulls etc. Just the type of birds I mentioned in the first paragraph, and with one exception, only in or on the water. I did not go into my film images looking for pictures. I only used what digital files were available in 5 folders on one external hard drive. I did not attempt to find individual species. I merely searched for handy pictures of ducks and their close relatives.
In reality, very few of these birds actually quack, but I needed a title for the post.
Male Greater Scaup
Male Northern Shoveler
Female Northern Shoveler
Male Northern Pintails
Male Redhead Ducks
Female Gadwall with ducklings
Immature Female Gadwall at sunrise
Female Mallard and duckling
Male Blue-winged Teal
Make Green-winged Teal
Pied-billed Grebes, mature and immature
Immature Eared Grebe
Western Grebe, winter plumage
Horned Grebes, both winter and breeding plumage.
Horned Grebe and female Red-breasted Merganser
Common Merganser male
Common Merganser female
Red-breasted Merganser males
Red-breasted Merganser females
Hooded Merganser males
Hooded Merganser females
Hooded Mergansers, male and female
White-winged Scoters, winter plumage
Ruddy Duck males
Ruddy Duck females
Female Canvasback Duck
Male Common Goldeneyes
First Winter Males
Common Goldeneye females
Male and female Goldeneye courtship
More Greater Scaup
Freedom of Spirit
The images above are just a fraction of those that I have in my files, that fit the category of this post. Like any smart photographer, I made it a habit of understanding my subjects. Knowing when and where we can find what we want to photograph, profits us greatly as photographers. I knew where to find flowers and when they would bloom. I understood bird migration. When certain species would appear in certain “types” of habitat, and where I could find that habitat. I knew where the rising sun would appear at certain times of year, at locations near home. Having said all of that, a fair number of the pictures you see above, in fact a fair amount of all of the images I made over the years, were found while practicing the art of wandering.
I am not against new technology. GPS (hardly new any more) can be a life saver when you need to be some where, and it is important that you are not late. I have in fact, used GPS to find an address in the city of Milwaukee. It was quite handy. Just the same, I would never use GPS when I am immersed in the “art of wandering”. If I did, it would not be an art. Every trip I ever took, included a time to wander. It is a freeing of the human spirit, to roam where the wind (or road) takes you, and fill yourself with what you find. There are times in my travels, when I did not even look at a road map for three days. When I made pictures, I used technology, and my knowledge of that technology, to create both images of substance, and what some would call images of art. Just the same, there was a point with those images of art, when I freed myself from the technology, and just let my spirit guide me. The same is true with the art of wandering. Traveling from one place to another, is merely a function of necessity, when you know down to 10 feet, exactly where you are going…….at all times. GPS and even maps, serve to muzzle my spirit, when I am steeped in the art of movement…….from one place to another……wherever that destination is.
Just imagine, that you lived for the art of wandering. It was both in you, and of you, and then you lost it. If that were true, the last thing you would have wanted, is to have spent the past ten years of your life, knowing exactly where you were headed, and exactly what you would find. You might as well have lost your freedom and mobility, ten years before it actually happened.
Stay free. Use technology and safe travel when you need to, but set yourself free whenever possible. You do not need to know exactly where you are every minute of your life. You might be surprised at what waits for you over the next hill in the road, or bend in the trail.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. Jesus Christ
Thank you, Wayne