Elk River, Minnesota
Steve Oehlenschlager did not have to go far to find suitable subjects in his quest for dramatic waterfowl images. "I photographed this wood duck on a seven-acre pond right in my backyard," Oehlenschlager says. "Woodies are about the only ducks we get back there, but we have a lot of them. I'm literally surrounded by wood ducks."
This photo comes complete with a scintillating mirror image. "It just happened," Oehlenschlager says. "The pond was dead calm and that wood duck drake just kept swimming right at me. It was like he was a new duck in town. Normally, they stay away."
Oehlenschlager put up a blind for three weeks last spring. Each morning, after returning home from work, he'd head for the hide with his camera. "The pond is at the edge of a mature red oak forest. There are many natural cavities in the hollow trees—so many, in fact, that the wood ducks don't often use the houses I've put up for them. In the spring, the wood ducks fly from tree to tree. It's a lot of fun just to watch them."