Graceful

Actually, that title should be “Swan Pond,” since these images were taken at Fords Pond, a favorite nearby location. This is the latest addition to the family of wildlife I have photographed at the pond, which includes Red-winged Blackbirds, a Great Blue Heron, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers and common Snapping Turtles.

On inspecting this swan more closely and doing some research online, this appears to be a Mute Swan. This shot was taken at f/5.6 with a shutter speed of 1/500 at ISO 400.

I had never seen a swan at Fords before, although I understand there have been a pair at a nearby pond. (Perhaps there has been a domestic dispute and this one has taken up temporary quarters elsewhere until things blow over.) They are usually an introduced species.

Lazy Saturday Afternoon

Swans are such graceful-looking creatures. This one circled one corner of the lake in first a widening arc and then narrowed the arc to return pretty much to the position I originally observed him in. He seemed content to just cruise the surroundings — almost saying, “Look how graceful I am” by his slow, peaceful movements. This was taken at the same ISO and f-stop with a 1/500 shutter speed.

I caught up with the swan again about 10 days later and this time his behavior was a bit different. It was early morning, as opposed to afternoon on the day I first saw him. It was foggy and warmer; this is the same day and time that the “Foggy Morning at Fords” images post of mine were taken.

Taking A Sip

The fog had begun lifting, and although the swan did cruise as he had in our early encounter, he stopped frequently to preen and to dip his beak into the water. I’m not sure if he’s just having a little sip or whether there are some insects and small fish in this mouthful.

Satisfied?

You may be able to see some of the drops of water as he withdrew his beak from the water; the lifting fog adds some depth and perspective to the shot. Both these shots were taken at f/8 and ISO 400; the beak-dip at 1/500 and the final one at 1/640. The strong side-lighting of these shots made balancing the exposure more difficult, but it seemed more dramatic than the more placid lighting conditions of the previous encounter. In both cases, the lighting matched the action, I believe. All four shots were taken with the 300mm Sigma.

I’m looking forward to seeing the swan again.

Staff Writer Paul Sevensky is a communications specialist and amateur photographer.  When he isn’t shooting, he covers advertising and PR on his own blog, at www.paulsevensky.com. View all of Paul Sevensky’s posts on The Roving Photographer.

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