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My 10 best images of April

This March I had rather less time for photography. Besides school, I am also busy learning to drive. I used the free time mainly to look for birds in the region. I also went out a few times with the Floating Hide, but also a few times with the underwater housing - both projects I want to work on a bit more this year.

1. Mute swans underwater

1/320 | f/ 11 | ISO 800 | 16mm

Like the month before, I spent some time with the underwater housing again. At the beginning of the month, I soldered together a remote trigger from various cables. This came in very handy with these two mute swans. Thanks to the remote release, I was able to photograph the birds from land without cold fingers. The two birds would never have remained so calm if I had also been in the water. Although I couldn't change the image composition, with a focal length of 16mm this wasn't such a problem.

2. Blue rock thush in its habitat

This spring I unfortunately never had much time for bigger trips in Switzerland. But one saturday I made it to the Valais, where I found this blue rock thrush in a big rock face. It was quite shy, but I am very happy with this photo. It doesn't necessarily correspond to my usual style, but it suits this bird very well. As the bird was quite mobile, I was able to photograph it in front of various rock structures. In this photo I particularly liked the structure of the rock. Especially because of the yellow rock, which creates a certain colour balance.

1/500 | f/ 4 | ISO 320 | 500mm

3. Eider from above

1/400 | f/ 6.3 | ISO 100 | 59mm

After never really having any luck with the eider ducks throughout the winter, I was able to photograph the large ducks quite well a few times in April. On this afternoon I was out with Levi Fitze. However, the eiders were at the beginning on a section of the shore that could only be seen from a bridge. This prevented the possibility of taking pictures at eye level, but because the eiders kept swimming under the bridge, we were able to photograph the birds from a slightly different perspective. By underexposing the image a little, the water became completely black and only the bright plumage remained visible.

4. Eider Silhouette

1/640 | f/ 4 | ISO 125 | 500mm

As the light gradually improved, the eiders swam a little further along the shore. Eventually they reached a section of the shore where we even had the opportunity to photograph at eye level. As the birds were right in front of the setting sun, we were able to photograph them in silhouette against the orange glowing water.

Once I was sure I had a good photo of a silhouette, I wanted to try to photograph some behaviour of the birds. So, I increased the shutter speed and waited until one of the birds would do something exciting. When this bird lowered its head into the water to drink, I knew that with a bit of luck I could get a picture with some water drops. I pressed the shutter button and hoped that the water drops would make an exciting shape. In this case I was lucky, and the picture came out quite well.

5. Red-crested pochard before sunrise

1/200 | f/ 4 | ISO 800 | 500mm

In April I spent quite a lot of time with a group of red-crested pochards, which were quite trusting. This photo was taken just before sunrise. The sky had a wonderful colour gradient which complemented the colours of the lake in the background very well. To show as much of the overall colour gradient as possible, I chose to crop the picture in portrait format. As the cob ducks were quite mobile, I could also try different distances to the bird. In this picture, the bird was just far enough away so that it was not too small or too large.

6. Pochard at sunset

1/1000 | f/ 4 | ISO 360 | 500mm

This pochard was surprisingly trusting and I was able to photograph it on a stretch of river on several days. On this day the weather was particularly good. A cloudless sky and a complete lack of wind made for perfect conditions to photograph.

The reeds in the background were given a golden hue by the setting sun. This effect was enhanced because the bird was already in the shade.

7. Red-crested pochard portrait

1/250 | f/ 4 | ISO 125 | 500mm

The red-crested pochards were so trusting that I was also able to take some portraits. I find red-crested pochards particularly interesting for such portraits because they can create very simple shapes in the picture with their plumage. Depending on the posture of the bird, completely different shapes can be created. This portrait was one of the photos in which I particularly liked the construction of the different shapes. I also have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos where the posture or perspective is slightly different and works rather less well as a photograph.

8. Mute swan underwater

1/200 | f/ 13 | ISO 220 | 16mm

On that particular weekend it was relatively warm and so I was able to stand in the water with the underwater housing for the first time. I was not able to stand it for long, but the time was enough to take this photo of a mute swan. Because the sun was very high in the sky, I had to underexpose the photo quite a lot, which resulted in this very dark photo. I think the dark background works very well and gives the image a mystical feel.

9. Beaver

1/320 | f/ 4 | ISO 3200 | 500mm

As in previous years, April is the first month for the beavers. This year I was again able to find the beaver family and take some photos. Just recently one of the beavers fell asleep next to me. At a distance of about half a meter!

If you also want to take pictures of the beavers, I recommend you to have a look at my workshops. These workshops allow you to observe and photograph these large rodents from a few metres away.

10. Coot underwater

1/320 | f/ 11 | ISO 320 | 16mm

Many young birds can now be seen on the banks of rivers and lakes. The young coots have hatched and the parents are busy finding enough food for them. While I photographed this family with a telephoto lens the eveningbefore, I took the underwater camera with me this afternoon. Although I wasn't able to take exactly the picture I had in mind, I am still very happy with this photo.

These were my 10 best photos of April. As in the month before, I unfortunately didn't have that much time for photography. I didn't really have time for the website either. The Matura exams are coming up soon, which is why I will probably have less time to take photos in May. With regard to the time between the Matura and my studies, I already have some plans that I hope to be able to carry out despite Corona.

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Nicolas Stettler

Weyernweg 27

2560 Nidau

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