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Photo Workshop:  Waterfowl In Natural Habitat NW Ohio​



Why join the Waterfowl in Natural Habitat Workshop?   Northwest Ohio is home to numerous waterfowl species during spring migration.  Participants will be led to the best locations on any given day to photograph waterfowl in the marshes and lakes of NW Ohio.  Make no mistake; this workshop is not about photographing birds in the sterile environments of your average duck pond or zoo.  It is about entering the birds’ natural environment and working hard to blend in with that environment to get close to normally wary species on their terms.  The inclusion of cattails and other marsh plants can add much to your compositions of wild waterfowl.

The sights and sounds of the marsh at pre-dawn are a spectacle to behold.   Geese, swans and ducks calling to announce their presence.  Wings whistle as divers glide in to settle on the water.  Slowly the scene begins to brighten and the visual over takes the other senses.  A variety of waterfowl will be seen swimming, flying, diving, feeding and displaying.

The leader will work extremely hard to get you into the right position to make the best images possible.  But this workshop is about more than getting close to your subject.   You will learn how to use the light and wind angles to your advantage.  You will learn how to transport your expensive camera gear in relative safety and gain the knowledge, experience and confidence to attempt this type of photography on your own.  Participants will learn techniques to successfully capture action images as well as see first-hand the benefits of water level shooting.

Equipment:  Bring your longest telephoto lens and matching teleconverters for this workshop.  A 400mm lens will be enough length for some opportunities but a 500mm or greater will offer more frame filling opportunities.  Bring your tripod, hand holding is really not a viable option as there may be no place to set your lens down for a rest.  Chest waders are mandatory for this workshop as we enter the water to join the ducks in their domain.   A shorter lens may come in handy for silhouetted flock in flight shots in the pre-dawn or for shooting marsh scenes to fully document your outing. 

Insurance:  As a matter of course everyone should consider insuring their valuable photographic equipment.   This goes doubly so for anyone who works in and around water with their gear.  I have never had a major incident while working in the water but I have dropped a cell phone and had a close call or two with a teleconverter.  Rand Insurance has a reasonable plan for NANPA members, check the benefits page.

Physical Activity Requirements: Brief periods of strenuous activity will be mostly unavoidable but will be interspersed with longer periods of remaining hidden in a blind.   Wading even short distances in thigh to waist deep water with thick mud under foot is very tiring.  Some situations may require walking on a rocky shoreline.  Being nimble on your feet is a plus but not mandatory.    If you have knee or back problems, or otherwise have difficulty with off-trail walking while carrying your camera equipment, then this workshop may not be for you.   Do inquire about the availability of lower exertion options.  Getting up early enough to be in the marsh well before sunrise, can be tiring in and of itself.   With the added strains of cold water and some amount of physical exertion I can guarantee you will sleep well the night after this workshop.

Likely Species on the NW Ohio Waterfowl Workshop – Special effort will be made to seek out the species you most desire.

    Blue-winged Teal

    Green-winged Teal
    Northern Shoveler
    Ring-necked Duck
    Lesser Scaup
    Common Merganser
    Hooded Merganser

    Canada Goose
    Trumpter Swan
    Tundra Swan   

Detailed Itinerary will be provided upon further request or upon confirming a reservation.  Do communicate any specific wishes or goals you may have.  The timing of your workshop will determine what species and locations are most readily accessible.

© Copyright Information - All images on this page are the copyrighted works of Brian L. Zwiebel and as such are protected by both United States and international copyright laws.  None of the images of this site may be used in any manner without the expressed written consent of Brian L. Zwiebel.

Dates:  March through early April, call or email for availability and rates for this private offering.


Leader:  Brian Zwiebel