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Friday Slide Show: Mallard Lake Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

30 August 2019

It was one of those weeks. We started out bravely with a couple of features and then, late one night, Canon introduced two lenses and two cameras. We stayed up until midnight to get the news out. Only to awake the next morning to find Sony doing the same thing.

We rushed over to Mom's house to do a little work on her list before putting her garbage out and the next day we had to do a little work around our place before returning to Mom's to bring the garbage bins in.

And since we were out and about anyway -- with a new battery in the car (after six years) -- we ferried the off-site DVDs we burned this week to our secret offsite location.

In short, one thing after another.

At the offsite location, we thought we might walk around the neighborhood to look for a slide show. But there isn't much to see there.

We would have been the main attraction, in fact. And you like to be unnoticed when street shooting.

So we got back in the car and headed home through Golden Gate Park.

The car was uncomfortably hot from sitting in the sun at Mom's and driving down Sunset next to a beautifully restored cream and green Indian motorcycle with cocoa leather saddle bags.

We pulled over at Mallard Lake and parked in the shade, confident our new battery would not leave us in the lurch.

We pulled over at Mallard Lake and parked in the shade, confident our new battery would not leave us in the lurch. We'd been worried about the old one for a few months now.

So we hopped on this liberated feeling to get out of the car for our last shoot with the Olympus 12-100mm f4 Pro zoom. This time without the circular polarizer.

Mallard Lake is a favorite spot of ours. Our parents would herd us four boys into the station wagon, drive down Sunset and let us feed the ducks there with crusts of stale bread. For some reason it delighted us that the ducks would swim over, quack for bread and not complain if it was soggy with lake water.

We felt essential to the ecosphere.

It's hard to feel that way now, frankly. Superfluous perhaps. All the essential people are busy annoying each other with their incompetence. We just plod along as unnoticed as a street photographer.

The first thing we saw at Mallard Lake were the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks. How there are a few rocks higher than the water level, we don't know. But we suspect someone designed the lake that way. It had, long ago, been nothing but sand dunes, after all.

There were a few ducks further down, descendants of the ones my brothers and I had fed (well, not really), so we walked over there.

We heard an odd sound at our feet and stopped abruptly. There in the path was the most unlikely sight. A crawfish.

He posed. We took his photo.

Someone had probably brought him home as a pet from Tahoe but decided to release him into the wild here. He was not impressed with Mallard Lake, however.

We did find the ducks. The mallard resting under the tree. The hen and large ducklings swimming nearby, making iridescent ripples in the strangely green water.

They didn't mind posing for photos either. We even got down low for a few.

And of course we snapped some atmospherics. The tree branches hanging over the water. The sunlight coming through the leaves. Reflections on the surface of the lake.

We walked back toward the car but went a little further just to see what lay beyond our line of sight.

There through the trees we spied a great blue heron taking a break. We took a shot, manually focusing so the branches wouldn't intercept the heron's image.

We walked past our blind into the open. The heron could not have cared less. A small turtle stood guard on the branch below him. We lined up the composition just a few yards away, filling the frame with him. He was bigger than any little brother we ever had.

You never know what you're going to see until you stop and take a look, we thought as we got back in the car and returned home.

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