The Thieving Duck Photoshoot

Many moons ago I posted the infamous Thieving Duck that went viral when someone robbed it, added a funny story and emailed it around. Apparently it’s been seen all over the world which is kinda cool. It even made it to snopes.com too!

Thieving Duck

Anyway, I can finally reveal a few more shots from that photoshoot in Chicago. All the talk about the new Batman movie got me digging into my old Chicago photos and I found these shots I took on State Street way back in 2005.


Aperture ƒ/5.6
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/80s

Snow on the runway

On the way back from Arizona I flew via Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. I had a long wait but I have a laptop, a spare battery, DVD and Mame to keep me amused.

I took a few photos too but I discovered shortly after taking this that photography in most parts of the airport is banned!

From what I remember, it’s ok to take snapshots of family or friends beyond the security checkpoints, and possibly only with a compact camera. I can only imagine the fuss if I had been discovered taking photos of the runway and service areas with my big chunky Canon 20D!

I know for a fact that photography in Heathrow is banned. It’s a good thing too. The flash might set off the dangerous liquids left by disgruntled and thirsty travellers before they go through security.

Have you noticed this is a wide angle shot? I didn’t get my Sigma 10-20 back yet and no news from the camera store. I took this with a Canon 10-22 USM stuck to my camera. Matt very kindly gave me his lens because he’s buying Nikon kit. Thanks Matt!

The most sent around duck photo

I would love to know who made an email attachment of my thieving duck and thank them. The Aflac Duck seems to be a well known part of American insurance marketing and people got a kick out of these ducks stealing money from a lady on the street!

Apparently my thieving duck has become “the most sent-around-ha-ha-look-at-the-duck photo evar” but I wish I had watermarked the image with my blog url. It has appeared on:

To those that linked back here, thank you. To the rest, shame on you, why didn’t you use Google and find my blog?

I’m still chuffed that an image of mine is now an “urban legand” of sorts. Not many can say that! More comments on flickr but please link here if you’re going to link anywhere!

Update – welcome visitors from the Zefrank forum!

Update on June 14th. It appears the News of the World newspaper used the Thieving Duck last Sunday. I sent them off an email this afternoon so hopefully I will hear from them within a day or two.

The Brown Line to Kimball

Aboard one of the trains of the Chicago L, the elevated and underground train network in Chicago. I think this was taken near the south end of the Loop, possibly around the corner from the library.

The last time I was in Chicago I took the L for nostalgic reasons and because it’s not a half-bad way for a tourist to see the town. The stations of the Loop are all elevated above street level and some afford a good view down the main streets of downtown Chicago! Maps and schedules are posted in each station, on the trains and online too making it very easy to find your way around.

Here’s a tour of the Loop with pictures if you’d like to know more.

I like this: Real Esteli played its best match ever – couple of great football shots!

Wrigley Building Sky Bridge

This is the sky bridge between the two sections of the Wrigley Building in Chicago. We were walking through when I looked up and immediately noticed the leading lines of the buildings and the walkway.

Way back in 2003 I photographed the Wrigley Building a few times and I’m pretty sure it featured in the film Batman Begins too.

Wrigley.com has a page dedicated to the history of the building and it makes for interesting reading.

While searching ocaoimh.ie for those pictures, I came across this little nugget about Bill Gates from 2002. :)

Something else from the archives for you street shooters – A face in the crowd, tips from the Street Photography List on capturing the elusive face in the maddening crowd.

I like this: Cow & Gate, never mind the baby food.

The Thieving Duck

A duck robs a poor innocent woman as she’s distracted by the cute ducklings. Moments later they all rush off with their ill-gotten gains!

What you don’t see is the camera crew, make-up and lighting people and a small crowd watching from behind them. This was for some advert and of course the woman in question is a model.
I shot this on State Street, Chicago after stumbling upon the shoot by accident. They didn’t seem to mind, and I even got a dazzling smile from the model!

I like this: xtreme (login may be required)

2006-10-03 – Welcome visitors from snopes.com, thanks Kathy B for linking here, I appreciate it. Please feel free to leave a comment!

Snopes.com have now published this picture and the joke description on a separate page linking to this blog. Thank you!

2006-10-07 – John Marguess pointed me at Organized Crime which uses the same image in another joke email! Thanks John!

Here’s the text of the joke email (via snopes) for those of you who go searching for the origins of it. I’d love to know who concocted it in the first place!

Seems the Better Business Bureau got a complaint the other day about a scam in which AFLAC allegedly was taking advantage of women on the street and stealing their money.
Now we all at one time or another have thought that INSURANCE Companies have stolen from us; however, this scam is netting COLD HARD CASH from unsuspecting individuals.
The way it works is the thief uses children to distract the target. While admiring the cuteness of the kids the target is robbed of her cash and never knows what hit her.
I’m sending this out for all to be aware that this is happening and it’s right out on the streets in front of the general public.
A passer-by with a digital camera phone happened to capture the photo attached.
Review it carefully and use caution when distractions like this come along.
Good Luck, and don’t say you weren’t warned.

According to Snopes, it was an advert showing how safe Western Union money transfer system was. I really should have asked someone..

Children, wait in line

Children wait for their teachers in down town Chicago last year. They were standing on the pavement (oh ok, side walk) near the Chicago Board of Trade. I presume on a school outing, hope they enjoyed themselves!

I’ve been holding on to this photo for months now and since I don’t feel like working a shot this morning, this image finally sees the light of day!