Winter American Coots

/, Birds, Salt Lake County, Utah/Winter American Coots

American Coot head turnAmerican Coot head turn – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Rain, snow, low light, clouds and cold temps have found their way to the Salt Lake Valley and the forecast looks pretty dreary for the next week. The mountains look whiter than they have since last winter and that is a good thing because the snow pack means water in the reservoirs when spring run off comes.

During the winter I can often head down the hill to a local pond and actually get out on foot and photograph birds on the pond with my camera mounted on a tripod.

I’ve been having an issue with the swing arm knob on Jobu Gimbal head not locking down tight which has concerned me but since it was still covered under the warranty the good people at Jobu Design have sent me a new swing arm replacement which should arrive today just in time for photographing the winter birds like these coots close to home. I don’t use my tripod much but when I do I want to know the tripod head is functioning properly since my gear is attached to it and the gear is pricey.

American Coot vertical close upAmerican Coot vertical close up – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f9, 1/500, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 235mm, natural light

Photographing American Coots is a challenge because I want my exposure set bright enough so I can capture fine details in their dark plumage without being so bright that their white bills are too light and blown out. At the pond near where I live I can practice exposing the coots properly to my hearts content because there are plenty of them now and there will be until the pond freezes completely over so I should be able to test out the new swing arm on my gimbal head on the coots and ducks at the pond when there is enough light.

American American Coot in multi-colored reflectionsAmerican American Coot in multi-colored reflections – Nikon D200, tripod mounted, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 250, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Winter is a great time to photograph these coots close to home because they seem more approachable plus the water picks up wonderful reflections from the snow on the ground at the edge of the pond.  When there are breaks in the clouds and a bit of blue sky overhead this winter I’ll be heading down to the pond to photograph them and the other birds I find.

Life is good.


P.S.: I finally fixed the issue where some people in Utah on Comcast could not get to my site or could not see the images and only saw text, it was the server firewall that was blocking one of the CloudFlare servers that covers the area Utah is in.



  1. Corine December 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Hi Mia,
    I was caught in the server mess in FL and was unable to see your posts! I missed them and glad to tell you I’m back on and your pics make my heart soar!! Thx so much.

  2. Pepe Forte December 10, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Love the eye of the coot. Wonderful color contrast and his(?) reflection captures the movement of the water perfectly. Great pic Mia.

  3. Humming bird lover December 10, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Hi Honey!

    Love the coot photo’s this AM! It is cold, cold and sunny today in Va. Maybe snow flakes coming Wed. I sure miss the snow of Michigan! Have a great Day! and send more photo’s I can print/ One pretty, snowy, Birds or critter in it? love ya’s much mom

  4. Elephant's Child December 9, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Happy practising.

  5. Patty Chadwick December 9, 2016 at 8:43 am

    As much as I love your images, I think I like your comments even more…your prose is almost poetry….

  6. Bob McPherson December 9, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Beautiful photos, Mia.

  7. Liz Cormack December 9, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Beautiful photos. I get really excited when a coot or two show up in Niagara as it is a rare occasion. Love the feet!

  8. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver December 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Some of the prettiest coot shots I’ve ever seen, especially the resolution on the bill. Those bills! I love those silly birds! Thank you.

Comments are closed.