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In the shadows

In the shadows
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-02-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Digital ISO 800, Hoya UV-Guard (77mm)
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/40 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Birds of Southern Africa [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-02-09 3:58
Viewed: 5682
Favorites: 5 [view]
Points: 71
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Fulvous Duck Chicks
Dendrocygna bicolor

Breeding season starts in July in SW Cape, December to March in the Free State, November to March in KwaZulu-Natal and August to April in Transvaal; mainly summer months in South Africa, also in winter further North.

Their nests is a bowl of grass or rushes in marshy ground near water's edge, in tall grass or aquatic plants which may be pulled over to conceal it; trace of down sometimes present. The base up to about 30 cm thick on tramped-down vegetation.

They lay 6-13 white, darkening to pale brown eggs. Incubation takes 30-32 days and the eggs are incubated by both sexes. The little ones are attended by both parents for about 52-63 days.

I had to get flat on my stomach to manage this shot. Every time I crept closer the parents reared the little ones to a safer distance in the water. After 5 minutes they returned. I crept closer and they took to the water again. We kept on playing this game until I could get this shot. As you can see by the dark exposure of the photo the weather was not on my side. I shot this at ISO 800 with the flash. I will post a capture of the adult birds later. Please let me know what you think.

Your input needed:
I considered cropping the compo to 800X400 because of the empty space at the top. Do you think I should have done this or leave it as is?

cafecrem, red45, coasties, Luc, Janice, elizemeijer, sAner, ellis49, LordPotty, hasboy, marhowie, PDP, livios, azulu, extramundi, willie, liquidsunshine, Lesley, Signal-Womb, sergegagne, deud, danbachmann has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To livios: Choices...gerhardt 1 02-09 10:32
To PDP: Noise..gerhardt 1 02-09 09:18
To Nico: Thank for the critique...gerhardt 1 02-09 04:12
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Critiques [Translate]

!!!!! I would like to see that!
So cute! Wonderful :-)

  • Good 
  • Nico Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 199 W: 1 N: 335] (1321)
  • [2005-02-09 4:02]
  • [+]

Cute. Need some additional DOF, I think.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-02-09 4:08]

Very soft and with nice colours. Cutness Award of The Day, for sure :-) Great poses. Superb work Gerhard!

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2005-02-09 4:15]

Toute ces couleurs froides, gris acier, brun, noir donne une jolie composition. Bonne prise de vue vous aviez surment les deux pieds ŕ l'eau. FÉLICITATIONS ! Merci pour l'envoi.

What a cute bunch you have captured here. I love the overall colour in this image. The droplets of water on the ducklings look like little jewels. Very nice. Great works as always. TFS.

  • Great 
  • AmiBe (68)
  • [2005-02-09 4:19]

Very nice picture, I like the position of the ducks. For me, the DOF is good. Nice colors, too !

I like this, but it looks a bit too soft.
I posted grownup ducks too, I think they are so cute.

I made a workshop based on your request for input. Hope you like it

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-02-09 4:33]

Personal assessment of the photo: a great shot, Gerhard. The DoF is good but the two litlles ducks from the right were moving their head very fast and at 1/40 you do not freeze them IMO. But I can have it wrong, you know.
Great visual impact.
Aptness of the photo for the site: excelent.
Personal assessment of the note: excelent as usual.
You work hard for this one, Gerhard. The PoV is at its best and the cute factor is at the rendez-vous.
Thanx a lot.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-02-09 5:01]

Gerhard these little ducklings are beautiful. Thank you for your patience and playing games with the parents. You definitely won. I think I would have cropped off the top as you suggested. Still excellent work.

  • Great 
  • puffy Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 289 W: 0 N: 339] (1351)
  • [2005-02-09 5:47]

wonderful shot.. they are sooooo cute!!! the colour is great and the ducking is fantastic, after all your hard work, this is well worth the effort to play the game with the parents ducks. Maybe just crop the top a bit, but I like it how it is. Thanks for sharing.

Ah sweet Gerhardt,
Very nice shot I like the point of view, the good composition is there, the fantastic pof and the great dof. Schitterende foto, geeft me een lentegevoel

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-02-09 6:13]

Very cute. I love your POV. Excellent. :)

Very good Gerhard.
It's a little soft, but you have explained.
ISO 800 in SA ?? I'm think it's good for you see what we in the dark northern hemisphere have to use during the winter.;-))
Great pov, composition and colours.
Very well done.

This is great,Gerhard,even if it is of ghastly ferocious creatures.They terrify me!
Reluctantly,I have to put these fluffy ducklings in my favourites. I swore I'd never become a sucker for the cute factor. This is a very good photo,though.
Well done!

wow..its so cute!
the tone is wonderfull.
great work.

Gerhard, One word - FANTASTIC! Huge visual impact. There are at least a dozen superlatives I could use..I think it's artfully composed & this POV pulls it all together. Yeah it's got the cute factor. BUT much more than that a photo should move you, strike a cord so to speak. This capture has done this superbly IMO. A top favorite!!! PS - Leave it as is!

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-02-09 8:53]
  • [+]

They are like blobs of cotton wool, their beaks look way too big for them, it's a very nice shot Gerhard. I think the colours are great, maybe a little more DOF would be good and I think one moved a bit. I liek the space on top and for ISO800 @ 1/40 it's pretty darn good, did you use noise reduction? Great shot.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-02-09 10:05]
  • [+]

Gerhard, as for the cropping, it's okay to me; leave it just like it is.

Despite the difficulties you mentioned, I like the photo a lot.

The shot is a cute one.

I read the reply to Nico. As for the noise, in a picture like this, do you think it would be a good idea to use, maybe ISO 1600 and then try to clean the photo on Neat Image? I'm asking you this because my camera only goes up to ISO 400. Even though, ISO 400 produces very noisy pictures, so that I avoid using it. So, which is better: not to use a high ISO or, in case of using it, to run NI?

Sorry for the long question.

Kind regards.


  • Great 
  • azulu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 111 W: 0 N: 75] (374)
  • [2005-02-09 10:33]

I like very much. This photo is beautiful. Excellent composition, colors and sharpness are very nice. The DOF in this photo isn't a problem for me. Nice note. Great moment. Good job.



Well, Gerhard, I think you got a very cute scene with a great atmosphere. The general softness and excellent colours work perfect this time. Very good 1/40 handheld. About the cropping, it is nice like this, but I think that if you cut a bit on the top, you would give more impact to the super water texture you got. But is a personal opinion, it works very well like this too. Yours, Felipe.

  • Great 
  • willie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 61 N: 648] (2083)
  • [2005-02-09 12:33]

Whether you cropped it or jnot Gerhard, it is still a great shot. The moment caotures here is exquisite. Very nicely done. The look like like metallic robots. Great job.

Very cute shot Gerhard,
Well worth the effort I think. I don't think it needs cropping, looks fine as it is.
Great shot, Thanks for posting

  • Great 
  • puciu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 16] (2631)
  • [2005-02-09 13:23]

¦liczne te kaczuszki, fotka bardzo przyjemna w odbiorze.

  • Great 
  • Lesley Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 297 W: 13 N: 913] (2988)
  • [2005-02-09 13:53]

AWWWWWWW....I have such a soft spot for baby ducks, infact I had two domestic ducklings in my room when I at prep school many centuries ago. This is a wicked cute photo, Gerhard. Well done and I am so glad you got down on your washboard abs to get this POV! :0)

Another very nice shot Gerhard . Focus maybe a little soft but what a great capture this is. I would clone out any blue fringing on the eyes due to CA. well done.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-02-09 14:28]

Cute! I would have to go. I do not know how to fix or beter this with the light condition you had. However, the nearly mono colour and silver here works for me. As to your question, Yes, crop off the top, It adds nothing, and without that area, the overall impact of the image soars immediately imo.
Mooi gedoen Gerhard.

Just flabbergasting IMO, Gerhard! You had a great idea capturing those cute little fellows. To answer your question about cropping the image, I would keep it as is provided that I could render the upper part of the BG, just above the butts of the chicks, somewhat less blurred. It looks overblurred to me. But at f5.6, I guess it's hard to have a wide DOF. Great work. TFS

Gerhard, I think it's lovely just the way it is. I can't think of a thing I would change. Excellent photo....definitely the "Awwwwww" factor times 10!
I think this one is at least a 100 pointer! I love the dark color, and the fuzzyness of the little ones, also the water droplets on their back really set them off. Their shiny bills are somewhat unreal looking, but that only adds to the charm of the photo. I think your focus is perfect and the contrasts interesting.

This is an excellent close up of these little creatures. I commend you on your patience, as I know being this close is disturbing for the mother.
As you asked for opinions on the cropping, I will suggest mine. As the ducks faces are looking in the direction towards the water, I would suggest placing more of the water in front of them when composing the shot. I will try and do a workshop today to explain what I mean.

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2005-02-19 8:30]

soft and tender!!

Tones, colors are really impressive. I like the design of the photo, it is really strong to emphasize the mood of it.

Lovely soft image of these little ones. We will always have a soft spot for furry baby animals. I think you did well leaving the empty space on top because it is correctly exposed and beyond the focus range. If it were cropped, it might feel like the ducklings were in a box - a bit clusterphobic

Great shot, they are very cute. I would crop the empty space on top.
Well done.

the tone is wonderfull
This photo is beautiful
Great shot
Good capture
Well done

very cute, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • akazemi (111)
  • [2007-06-25 18:19]

lovely shot.great composition.

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