Red-crested pochard during blue hour

I made a short article about the photo of a wing flapping Red-crested Pochard in the fog and why hours of observation and experience can make photography easier.

1/320 | f/ 7.1| ISO 1000 | 600mm

On that early Sunday morning I already set off in the dark. It was cold outside and thick fog hung over the village. I cycled to the lake where the fog got even thicker. I knew of a spot, where there were red-crested pochards in the morning. The colourful diving duck winters on the Lake Biel and it is also a rare breeding bird. Interestingly, however, most of the wintering red-crested pochards come from the south from Spain.

As in the weeks before, I found a group of Red-crested Pochard at my location. I laid down on the shore and waited until the Red-crested Pochard got used to my presence. In the meantime, the sky became brighter and brighter. A light fog layer hung over the water. The water was absolutely calm. Because of my low camera position, I got an interesting gradient as my background. Now I only had to wait until a Red-crested Pochard would swim a little closer to me...

For once it did not take very long until the red-crested pochards swam slowly in my direction. Again and again some individuals dived down to search for food. Others were busy with feather care. The ducks finished their feather care with a strong wing flap. Because I had been observing this duck species for hours, I was able to foresee the wing flap with relative certainty. Now all I had to do was find a duck that would make the wing flap at the right angle to me. So the wings would’ve been symmetrical. I noticed a male red-crested pochard with its head pointing straight towards me. My experience told me that this duck was about to start flapping its wings. And indeed! Before the duck even had spread its wings, I had my finger already on the shutter release. When my camera finished to write the pictures to my XQD-card, I knew: this picture was in the can...

Camera settings

Exposure: 1/400

Aperture: f/ 7.1

ISO-Sensitivity: ISO 640

Focal Length: 600mm

Lens: Sigma 150-600mm F5-6,3

Camera: Nikon D850

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Nicolas Stettler

Weyernweg 27

2560 Nidau

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16.8.2022

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