Thursday, November 25, 2010

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Originally uploaded by right2roam
Chain Lakes is at the top of my list of favorite photography destinations. An easy drive from Spokane in Eastern Washington State, this secluded lake in Scotia Canyon provides a rare refuge from the larger and noisier recreational lakes in the area. Paddle out on the water in the quiet of early morning, or just before sunset to get at eye level with the abundant wildlife living on the shores.

For this shot I got out on the lake in a kayak just before sunrise. Normally in the low light of early morning I would use a tripod for this sort of photography, but setting up with a tripod in a kayak isn't so easy. I used the fastest shutter speed I could manage in the dim light and braced my elbows against the cockpit to stabilize the camera as much as possible. The beauty of being on the water in a kayak is that you make almost no noise. And because kayaks set so low to the water's surface, you're already at eye level with everything roaming about the lake shore. You're often able to get much closer to your subjects than if you were walking, and a modest zoom lens can be used where a large expensive telephoto would normally be needed.

As for visiting Chain Lakes... the entire shoreline is privately owned except for one narrow walk-in access strip maintained by the Washington Fish and Game Department. If you want to visit this lake, get permission to use a resident's private dock, or be prepared to carry your kayak or canoe a couple hundred meters through the public access area.

Canon EOS 20D
Focal Length: 290 mm
Aperature: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/500 second
ISO 200


  1. I like how you capture the pictures of wildlife! You make it look so easy!

  2. A great picture of one of my favorite birds here on Chain Lakes. You can come use my private dock and kayak anytime :)

  3. Sweet! I'm still trying to swing a trip to Washington before the end of March. Hopefully the ice will have broken up by then and I'll be able to get out for a paddle.