Three wood ducks swim surrounded by fallen leaves on a serene morning in late October 2017. A few days later my team would get laid off, this was not only my last visit to Crystal Springs but I only went hiking once more before we moved to Arizona in March 2018. Partly because I didn’t feel like it at first, partly because the job search was time consuming, partly because I took Ellie for a walk each morning. I had romantic ideas about taking one last hiking tour of many of my favorite places in the Northwest but all I managed was one last visit to Ridgefield. I wish there had been more time but I wouldn’t trade those walks with the pup for anything.
On a sunny afternoon, this seemingly happy wood duck raised his head to stretch before resuming preening some of the hard-to-reach areas. I don’t often see wood ducks in this part of Long Lake so it was a treat to watch him. Five minutes later the clouds rolled in and changed the lighting as he paused during his preening ritual. I love shooting on both sunny and cloudy days and on this day got to do both frequently, but the constantly changing light levels made it challenging to correctly meter the scene and I often didn’t keep up fast enough.
I don’t even know how it happened.
I was happily photographing ducks back in the fall when I pointed my camera at the confluence of yellow and green reflections and suddenly a white spot appeared in the water and I felt the universe start to come apart at the seams. This wood duck drake swam by and its wake seemed to close the disruption and life as we know it was spared. All hail the mighty wood duck, silent guardian of all that we hold dear.
Today’s temporal disruption comes courtesy of an out-of-focus downy duck feather in the foreground