Duck pictures @ Jurong Bird Park
This series of duck pictures was not part of my original plan.
Still, I have so many photographs of ducks - many of them rather pretty. I thought it would be a waste to just feature one and not show the rest.
Well, if I have to select just one from my many pictures of ducks, it would be this one here, showing two ducks, er... kissing.
This was truly my lucky find, during my second visit to the Jurong Bird Park. They were just kissing and necking away, oblivious to the people watching.
I happily fired away. Actually, I did restrain myself and took just 16 shots, of which only two or three came out really nice. Otherwise, I could have used up an entire 2GB memory card just taking photographs of ducks sharing an intimate moment.
On my third visit to the Jurong Bird Park, the love ducks were again kissing and necking away - but at another corner of the pond. This time around, my pictures did not turn out as nice, because the background was too distracting. So I was really lucky to have captured this kissing duck photo.
So even though taking duck pictures is relatively easy, you still need luck and patience to get some great images.
It's quite easy because ducks can sit still - or, for that matter, kiss and neck - for long periods. Or if they do swim around, they don't swim too fast or too far.
On my very first photography trip to the Singapore Jurong Bird Park, I took a series of duck pictures showing a duck that was litterally swimming "around" - in circles:
As with the kissing scene, I had to take quite a few duck pictures before I managed only one where everything comes together just about right, like this one:
The other thing that makes taking photographs of ducks relatively easy is the fact that they don't seem too afraid of people.
Even in an enclosed environment such as the Jurong Bird Park, there are some birds that tend to keep a distance and some, like the ducks, that often enough come closer to us humans.
Of course, it helps to have a long zoom lens. For my birds pictures, I use my Nikkor 75-300 zoom which, on my Fuji S5 Pro digital SLR, has an effective focal length of 112.5 to 450. And most times, I had to use the maximum focal length.
These duck pictures, however, were mostly taken with the lens set at around 200 - 230 mm. So even if you do not own a super long telephoto zoom lens, you can get close enough - to take a duck photo such as this one, showing the duck preening itself and all curled up:
Of all ducks, the most pretty is surely the Mandarin Duck.
For some reason, I never took a lot of Mandarin duck pictures - maybe because there were not that many of them swimming around at the Jurong Bird Park. It was only on my third visit that I photographed this ornate beauty and I only managed four or five images.
UPDATE: I went back to take more Mandarin duck pictures, including quite many of them in action - swimming, bathing themselves and so on. But I realise that Mandarin duck pictures look their best when the duck is relatively still - that's when the Mandarin duck looks immaculate, like this one here:
I like this duck photo because the Mandarin duck appears to be stepping out of the picture, towards the viewer.
I have several shots of them "in action" but when they are all ruffled up, then the Mandarin duck pictures look not much different from ordinary duck photographs, except perhaps that there is a bit more color.
Plainer looking ducks, however, have their own beauty too,
Like this one with very fine feathers (now you know why duck feathers are used to fill pillows!) in subtle shades of brown:
Two ducks and two fishes. I rather like pictures that can be titled by numbers and I call this 2 + 2 (in harmony). When I posted this on Red Bubble one viewer commented, “I hope the fish did not get eaten. Great shot."
Ha ha. Those fishes are koi - Japanese carp - and they are too costly to be duck feed!
It's Sunday morning, 7.33 as I complete this page and I am wondering if I should go down again to the Bird Park - to use my season pass. Maybe I should ;-)
UPDATE: I did go again to the Jurong Bird Park in the end, and spent most of the day taking yet more photographs of ducks. Apart from changing the Mandarin duck picture above, here is one of my favorites from the day's shooting: