The Arctic freeze has begun to break here in the Denver area.

A bit colder and more frozen than a typical year in the Central Rockies has contributed a great deal to my laziness.  Sooner or later the laws of physics will take hold and it will warm up.

Yesterday was a warm day and a friend of mine and I decided to go investigate the local lakes to see what waterfowl had migrated into the metropolitan area.  While we found plenty of frozen lakes, there was an obvious change of season in progress and with that change of season comes the normal migratory species of ducks.

Here is a quick look at a few of the ducks we found.

It was good practice too, as I’ve been lazy with the photography and this change of weather has allowed me to get my photographic eye back in tune with bird photography in preparation for my upcoming trip to Monte Vista.

These will all be uploaded to the stock photography catalogs, as duck photos do sell from time to time.

The day of exploration was also a good opportunity to grab lunch with a friend.

Mostly, we spent the day “Duck’n Around”

Common Goldeneye
Lesser Scaup Male
Lesser Scaup Female
Mallard Drake
Mallard Hen and Mallard Drake
Gadwall Male

Mallard Drake and Hen Wading in a Stream Near a Rock

I’m back to my normal office routine for a few days. This time of year, I typically wait for shifting weather patterns before planning a photography outing. I like to get out before or after a snow storm as the clouds and general environment tend to add to the esthetics of wildlife photography.

While I wait, I sift through my catalogs for stock photos. I have enough material to keep me busy for a couple of years.

What I normally look for is nicely lit, sharp images of animals and such that I’ve skipped over on my first reviews. I tend to take my photo editing in stages. Find the standout photos first, develop them and then move them out into circulation as soon as possible. When one has catalogs that contain 10,000 or more photographs, it’s quite easy to glide on by good shots so for me, re-examining these catalogs is like going through the couch cushions looking for loose change. I have lots of loose change in those couch cushions too. These little hidden gems are plentiful and it’s a great way for an old guy like me to turn them into coffee cans full of quarters.

Here’s a shot from 2013. I was working along Clear Creek near the Coors brewery in Golden, Colorado for a few days. Lots of waterfowl along the creek, I managed quite a few usable photos of ducks and other birds.

Mallards are probably the most common waterfowl to find in these parts and as such they tend to be a little less exciting to photograph. But, one thing I’ve learned is that any nice photo of wildlife is a potential earner as buyers aren’t interested in my subject selection bias, they are simply looking for a good photo of something they need.

Before I kick the bucket, this photo could earn me a hundred bucks or so.

I uploaded this image and several others to the Stock agencies this morning.

It’s pending approval.

Northern Shovelers are a common waterfowl here in Colorado.

The shoveler is a fairly skittish duck, tending to keep its distance from people.

It’s easiest to catch them in flight as once hey hit the water they will move into an area of the lake that will give them a safe distance from the camera toting photographers. On occasion, they will paddle by and when they do I grab the best lit scenes as targets of opportunity.

Canvasback Duck by Gary Gray
Canvasback Duck

Back to the tree in the lake this morning for bird action.

Not much bird action. It was fairly cold this morning and the Great Blue Herons weren’t in much of a mood to mingle.

So, I worked the other birds instead.  This is my first photo of a Canvasback duck.  Go figure.