Common Loon (no.1)

January 18, 2012
Common Loon (no.1)

1/800sec @ f/6.3
300mm, ISO560, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-S 300mm f/4

Last summer I had the good fortune to be able to spend some time on Lac St. Pierre near Wakefield, Quebec. The lake is stunning and is quite large with lots of bays to explore. An aerial view shows that the lake is in the rough shape of an anchor. The only way to really explore the lake is on the water. It happened that this summer I had my boat operators licence and had access to a boat. I would have liked to kayak but the boat got us places quicker!

Every time we have visited the lake there have been Common Loons floating out of reach in the centres of the bays on the lake. Having A, never had 24/7 access to the boat and B, not having the correct lenses and cameras etc. the loons have always been a little too far away for good shots. This year was different! We didn’t go out with the intention of photographing the loons, however by chance we happened across them. They played ball for quite some time and didn’t fly away. In fact at some points they got so close to the boat that my 300mm was too long for a good shot. We went out again and again over the period of three days and just got better and better at anticipating their actions and also where they might be on the lake.

Moving onto the critique of the shot I have to say I am extremely happy how this one came out. If I remember correctly it was an overcast day which made for great lighting. The angle of the shot is low, maybe could have been lower, however any lower and the background would have been different. Obviously it would have been nice if the loon had looked at me over its shoulder as it flapped its wings, although I love the detail on the back feathers and down the side of the neck. As always I would have liked a little more depth of field so the far ends of the wings were in focus. With a 300mm and being as close as I was it would have meant a much smaller aperture and a much slower shutter speed, so the depth of field is good enough for my liking.