Taken at Hardwick Park, Durham, 31st July 2011.
I saw this female duck sitting alone, almost asleep, in the shade of an overhanging tree, in the water of the Serpentine Lake that winds its way through Hardwick Park.
I attached my 55-200mm lens and lay down on the grass about 10 meters away. Using the bottom left autofocus point to get the focus on the duck, I selected my lens' largest aperture of f/5.6 for a shallow-ish depth of field, and adjusted the shutter speed to get a correct exposure for the water, 1/100sec at ISO 100.
However, when I checked the picture and the histogram on the camera screen, I could see that the duck had come out quite dark, but I was happy with the rest of the image.
I decided to pop up the built in flash.
I wasn't expecting this to make ANY difference at all. It was mid-day, the sun was out, and the subject was about 10 meters away. I didn't change any other exposure settings.
What do you know, it worked! The flash was enough to light up the duck by about 1 to 2 thirds of an f/stop.
After I took this I decided to try and get a little closer, but spooked the duck and it buggered off. Never mind, I had a shot I was happy with.
In Photoshop I used the healing and patch tools to remove a lot of the debris that was floating on the water and make the image a bit cleaner. I decided to leave the feather on the ducks bill as it was cute. I also sharpened the duck up with a high pass filter.
If any of you are passing through or visiting Durham, you simply must visit Hardwick Park. Its a very beautiful park on the left side of Sedgefield, County Durham. I highly recommend it. Here is more info.
Wildlife and nature