02 July 2010

Putangitangi (paradise shelduck) female

During most of the year putangitangi (Tadorna variegata) can be seen in pairs (they mate for life) or in groups, which are sometimes large, but after the duck-shooting season, lone birds aren't uncommon. However, this particular bird, photographed in October 2008, was part of a family — her mate (the males have very different colouration) and chicks were swimming nearby at the Pohangina Wetlands.

[12 October 2008; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L + 1.4x teleconverter, ISO 200, 1/640 at f8. Heavily cropped.]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Anne-Marie said...

Such beautiful birds they are - and even more beautiful as part of a pair. They're so part of the New Zealand landscape. Great picture, Pete. I don't believe I've ever seen such a close-up shot of a putangitangi before.

Barbara said...

Another stunning 'wildlife portrait,' sir ;0 Her coloration is rich and yet soothing. It makes me yearn more for autumn here! I love the painterly effect of the ripples in the water. Thanks ...

Paul said...

Any thoughts about using teleconverters? This one appears (to my novice eye) as coming out very good. Is this because of the high-end “L” glass? Would it have turned out different had you used a 2x converter?

Only when you have the time to respond.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Anne-Marie. I'm not surprised you haven't seen a close-up photo of one of these, though — generally, they're extremely difficult to approach.

Barbara, they're beautiful birds. The details of the colouring usually aren't apparent because it's so hard to get close to them.

Paul, remember this is a cropped photo, and because the optical weaknesses of teleconverters are most apparent around the edges of the photo, it's not surprising this came out well. With a good lens and a good teleconverter (this was a Canon, not a cheapie), results can be excellent. The problem with a 2x converter is the loss of two stops — my f4 lens would become f8, severely restricting its use in many situations.