I seldom photograph waterfowl. It’s not as challenging as getting quality shots of other birds, plus it gets a bit boring shooting Canada geese and Mallards every day. When I see waterfowl in Central Ohio it’s almost always Canada geese or Mallards. They hang around here all year.
But spring and fall, when a wide variety of birds migrate through this area, often brings surprises on the water. I never know what I’m going to see when I hike near an area lake or pond.
I found this male Hooded Merganser swimming on Schrock Lake in Sharon Woods Metro Park north of Columbus, Ohio, on a late November morning in 2012. There were several Mergansers, male and female, on the lake that morning, along with some Buffleheads, Ring-necked Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes and Lesser Scaup. It seemed like several groups of migrating waterfowl thought Schrock Lake was a good place to take a break before continuing south.
The warm brown color of the water is caused by the reflection of late-fall leaves on trees along the edge of the lake.
About the photographer
I’m a photo hobbyist who lives in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. I typically spend several mornings each week in the woods of local parks, photographing birds and other wildlife. I also enjoy shooting sporting events and photographing different cities when I travel around the country.
I began doing photography in the pre-digital, pre-autofocus, pre-Internet 1970s. I had a color darkroom in the basement of our house in our hometown, Ashland, Ky., and on occasion would shoot for the newspaper where I worked first as a sports writer, then as city editor. But I put the camera away in the 1980s after burning out from too many of those "hey can you" photo jobs – “hey can you shoot my son's Little League team," or "hey can you shoot my daughter's wedding." I reached the point where I dreaded picking up the camera.
After taking a vacation from photography for more than 20 years, I was using my daughter’s point-and-shoot digital camera to get some photos of her first college tennis match in fall 2004 (she played four years at the University of Akron) and realized how much I missed photography. After doing the “Nikon or Canon” research, I bought a Canon digital SLR, started adding lenses – that’s my Canon 600 f/4L, the lens I use for wildlife and some sports photography, in the photo above – and have been shooting ever since.