The challenges of photographing male Ring-necked Ducks


Many duck species present definite photographic challenges, mainly due to the the strongly contrasting colours of their plumage: Very often, their heads or backs are quite dark (with some sort of iridescent overtone) and their flanks and belies are very lightly coloured (but not pure white). As a result, it is quite easy to lose the subtle colouring in one or both of these regions.

The males of the bird featured today, the Ring-necked Duck (Fuligule à collier | Aythya collaris) is certainly among the most challenging of the lot: It feature a faintly streaked white flank that includes a vertical pure white bar in the front, an iridescent black head with purple highlights, a dark burgundy ring around the neck and a strongly contrasting grey, black and white bill.

The photo I have featured today is good, but not as perfect as I would like (the white flank remains overexposed). But I do like the fact that you can clearly see the peaked head. The female of this species (featured below) is somewhat understated compared to the male, but is still quite lovely and easier to photograph correctly.

Taken on the pond at Jericho Park on April 18, 2015, with a handheld Nikon D5200 and AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 & AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II. Not baited, called in or set up.

  • Top: ISO 560 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000
  • Bottom: ISO 500 | 420mm | f/5.6 | 1/1000



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