Move a little – Red-breasted Merganser

Resting Red-breasted MerganserResting Red-breasted Merganser – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/320, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm

Moving; even just a little bit, can change the background of an image even when the subject is stationary. One May morning I spotted a Red-breasted Merganser resting on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico at Fort De Soto, Florida and I knew I had to photograph it. The merganser wasn’t bothered when I slowly belly crawled up to it in the wet sand but after taking quite a few images of the merganser I wanted something different in the background besides the incoming waves. This image was taken looking due west.

Red-breasted Merganser taking a rest on the Gulf shoreRed-breasted Merganser taking a rest on the Gulf shore – Nikon D200, handheld, f8, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 370mm

So I belly crawled into a slightly different location where I could view the bird looking southwest and started photographing the Red-breasted Merganser again. Completely different background and completely different look.

I learned if I didn’t like the background or wanted a different look I could just move a little.


Another post about this same Red-breasted Merganser is here. See how the background changed because of the waves?


  1. Wally July 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Mia, great advice to always consider something different. I’m totally guilty of planting myself in one spot when a much different effect could be realized simply by moving around a bit.

    Hope your weekend is going well.

    (Was at the Fort yesterday, but no camera! Was fishing and managed to secure a delicious flounder dinner.)

  2. Frank (UK) July 19, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Excellent detail from both angles.

  3. Elephant's Child July 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    And how wonderful that while you were moving a little, they were happy to let you. Gorgeous images – thank you.

  4. Stu July 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Delightful images Mia!

  5. Liz Cormack July 19, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Hi, Mia. Is this a female red-breasted merganser or a male in non-breeding plumage? I usually see red-breasted merganser males in Canada with black spiky hairdos. Just wondering. I learn so much from your blogs. LC

    • Mia McPherson July 19, 2014 at 6:46 am

      Liz, I believe this is a female, in May I would expect the males to have started to molt into breeding plumage and this merganser doesn’t show any signs of that.

      Thanks for the question Liz!

  6. Lois Bryan July 19, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Beautiful … and very good advice!!

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