Coot portrait in front of icy blue water, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I’ve written before that I love American Coots and I guess that will never change, I will stop for coots any time I see them, I will photograph them and enjoy their antics.
They are a challenge to expose properly because of the high contrast between their very dark feathers and their ivory white bills. Photographers have to work to show fine details in their dark plumage without blowing out the whites of their bills. When they are exposed properly they really can be quite lovely.
American Coot shaking its feathers after bathing, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
American Coots can look a bit goofy at times but I like that. We can all be a bit goofy at times so why should birds be any different?
I never know what kind of behavior I might photograph when I stop for coots.
American Coot either nesting or resting, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Box Elder County, Utah – Nikon D500, f9, 1/400, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
American Coots can be found in Utah pretty much any where there are lakes, ponds and marshes. In the winter they just need enough open water to be able to find food below the surface.
An American Coot standing on ice at Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, Utah – Nikon D810, 7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
And then there are their feet, those ginormous, greenish, lobed feet. However do they walk on those things? Or run across the water with them?
Chasing another Coot, Salt Lake County, Utah – Nikon D200, 7.1, 1/640, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light
They are feisty little buggers too, they chase each other quite often at certain times of the year. I love watching and photographing those chases, the action happens so quickly that I really work at tracking with them with my lens.
Solitary Coot in the morning mist of the Lower Lake, Red Rock Lakes NWR, Beaverhead County, Montana – Nikon D200, f9, 1/350, ISO 250, +1.7 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm at 70mm, natural light
And at times just watching them feeding quietly on calm water is flat out relaxing and soothing and I feel at peace with the world.
Yes, I’ll stop for coots.
Life is good.