Ray HennessyComment

Waterfowl of the Choptank River

Ray HennessyComment
Waterfowl of the Choptank River

Photographed in Cambridge Maryland

One of the major benefits of sharing photos online aside from seeing other's photos, is the amazing locations they share. One such location is found in the city of Cambridge Maryland along the Choptank River. A few years ago I began seeing some amazing photos consisting of mostly ducks from a few of my online friends and acquaintances. Shortly after I found out these photos were all coming from the same place. It turns out that during the winter in Cambridge, Maryland the locals really enjoy feeding these birds and the ducks become really used to people, allowing photographers some amazing opportunities.

During the past few winters I have wanted to make the 2.5 hour drive to check out this location but never got around to it. There was always something it seemed, uncooperative weather or just a busy schedule. Finally in March of 2015 I made my first trip and I can't wait to visit again!

The majority of the flock consists of Canvasback and Lesser/Greater Scaup. There are also good numbers of American Wigeon, Mallards and a few Redheads mixed in as well. During my first visit I was lucky enough to have a pair of beautiful Tundra Swans fly in and provide some wonderful photographic opportunities.

The winter is a great season due to the arrival of the waterfowl from places further north and the occasional ice accumulation on the Choptank River. When I visited almost the entire river was frozen over except for this one spot near the park which is why hundreds of ducks were all gathered in the one small area. A photographers dream.

I mostly photographed the birds sitting on the water. At times they would come so close to me that I couldn't even focus on them. I was able to get photos that shoed multiple birds as well as photos that were mostly the head of a single duck. The variety of birds and opportunity were marvelous. At times I would take a break from taking photos but it was really hard to stop since they were all so beautiful and cooperative. A situation that doesn't come up often for me.

It didn't happen too often while I was there but occasionally some of the ducks would fly which allowed for some great chances to capture these ducks in flight. A much more difficult challenge than photographing them sitting in the water but totally worth it when I would get a nice sharp photo. I was also lucky enough that the sun cooperated perfectly for me on that day. It was a mostly clear sky and the location of the birds had the sun behind me which was wonderful for the lighting. By the end of my roughly 3 hour visit with the ducks I had tallied up over 2,000 photos! It took a few days to edit through them all but even that part was fun.

If you happen to be lucky enough to live anywhere near this location I highly recommend taking the time to visit the beautiful and very friendly winter waterfowl in Cambridge Maryland.

Nature photography has become a very passionate hobby of mine and whenever I get a chance I love to get outside and enjoy being outdoors. I am also the co-owner of KGM Expressions, a wedding and portrait photography business, with my wife Kim. This is how we make our living and I love that we get to do that together.