Snowy High Key Mallard Drake Portrait

/, Mallards, Salt Lake County, Utah/Snowy High Key Mallard Drake Portrait

High key Mallard drake portraitHigh key Mallard drake portrait – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I enjoyed all the snow we got here in the Salt Lake Valley Friday night and throughout the day on Saturday. It might be the one big snowfall we get this winter so I took advantage of that and visited the local ponds several times throughout the day and although the light wasn’t great I still took quite a few images of the ducks, geese, coots and gulls I found there.

My favorite image of the day was this high key Mallard drake portrait that was taken in the late afternoon which was the only time I could see the sun behind the clouds the whole day. The duck had gotten out of the pond and waddled up onto the shore and I might not have photographed him but I noticed that he had a mound of snow behind him and that the iridescent green plumage on his head seemed to glow against the stark white background. How could I resist photographing him? As you can see I didn’t. I love that I can see the cold looking, winter sun in the eye of this bird.

Mallards are pretty abundant throughout the U.S. and there are people who wouldn’t have raised their lens to photograph this bird simply because of that. Sure, it would have been wonderful to have a less “common” bird as a subject under the same circumstances and lighting conditions, a Redhead duck would have been fabulous, or a drake Common Merganser or the even more colorful drake Wood Duck but I photograph birds, all birds, and try to do take the best photo I can with the subject I have in front of me.  Even the most “common” birds can be uncommonly beautiful.

Snowy trees and the Jordan RiverSnowy trees and the Jordan River

It felt like I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one photo of a snowy scene that I saw yesterday so I wanted to include this picture that I took using my cell phone of the snow-covered trees along the Jordan River. The snow sure was gorgeous.

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte January 22, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Wonderful pic of the Mallard. But the snowy riverbank is really gorgeous. Reminds me of where we used to live in No. Calif. Thanks Mia.

  2. Marty K January 21, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    He’s a beaut! That beautiful green head. And thank you for the bonus shot. I wish my camera shots were as good as your cell shots. 🙂

  3. Denise January 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I love that you’re not above photographing so-called common birds. I see beauty in all birds, even the ones that are abundant or not as colorful as others. The Mallard drake portrait has to be the most beautiful shot I’ve seen of a Mallard. I, too, appreciate the bonus photos. That sort of heavy snow that clings to branches is so gorgeous. Along with the river, it makes for the perfect snowy scene.

  4. Elephants Child January 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Oh my. Love the drake (of course), but that pristine chilly beauty is balm to my sweaty overheated self.

  5. Patty Chadwick one of my favorite birds January 21, 2018 at 7:44 am

    TWO incredibly beautiful photos this morning!!! I always appreciate the close-up portraits for all their detail, but that snow scene can’t be beat!!! So glad you included it….Thanks! (I love your “bonus” images of clouds, landscapes, flowers, insects, animals…thank you for them)….

  6. Bob mcphersons January 21, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Cool pics ,.mia

  7. Liz Cormack January 21, 2018 at 6:11 am

    That is one gorgeous Mallard drake portrait. The snow looks light & fluffy. 2 great shots.

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