It’s the photographer’s quandary. You’re in a great location with a great new camera. The light is still good. But the ducks that you came to Lake Mirror to photograph are not cooperating. They’re either swimming across the lake, hanging out on the island in the middle, or sleeping on the shore. What to do? Well, there are always some birds around who will cooperate…and my friends do tease me that I have a strange attachment to American Coots! So it was morning of coot glamour shots…
The American Coot is one of the most common ducks in Florida in the wintertime. My friend Michael laughingly refers to them as “eagle chow.” They cover the wetlands in “rafts” of thousands of birds. They are a photography challenge. Expose their black feathers properly and you blow out the whites in their beaks. Expose their beaks properly and lose the details in the feathers. And sometimes, when you’re in the right place at the wrong time, you just take what you get. I had a great time seeing how fast my 7D Mark II focuses on coots!
This one was swimming right at me. Then he started fussing. Perfect! I got several frames with his mouth wide open. You can see the colors of the holiday decorations reflecting in the water.
I found a wonderful place where I could lie down and get eye-level with the birds. The coots were the most cooperative in swimming by. But a Ring-billed Gull also gave me a nice view, with the glow of the lake behind him. What a difference a few inches make! Lying down gives you a much better perspective on the birds.