The Swan’s Wings

You really only appreciate how large and imposing a swan is when they rear up out of the water and spread their magnificent wings. While at The Lough on Sunday there were a number of fights between swans. Guess it’s that time of the year again, eh?

The swans were fairly tame towards us humans, and allowed us to shoot quite closely, but I’ve had run ins with swans before and I’m always suspicious of them!

Katie caught me as I lay on the ground to get a shot of The Lough Church. Embarrassed? Me? Never, I’ve been in many other more compromising situations just to get a shot!

Ryan posted a whole set of photos from the day and Kevin has posted his first shot.

The lonely swan

A solitary swan swims on the calm waters of The Lough as the sun disappears at the end of the day.

Believe it or not, this is a 10 second exposure that turned out much better than I could have hoped! I balanced my camera on the edge of the Lough, set it to Aperture priority mode at f/11, dialed the exposure down two stops, flipped up the camera flash and took the shot.

How does this work?

  • By setting the aperture to a fairly high value little light is let into the camera sensor.
  • By setting the exposure down two stops the whole scene will be underexposed but bright areas will be exposed mostly correctly.
  • Given the above settings, any dark moving objects will be completely invisible so when the flash fired it picked out the swan swimming past and even created a nice reflection in the water.

Hope that helps!

The swans they are a coming

Swans rush to the bank of the Lough looking for bread from the crazy guy hanging over the water with a large black object…

This shows off one of my favourite night-time techniques. Long exposure with a flash. The long exposure captures the background while the flash illuminates the foreground objects, along with some nice movement blur.
It works really well at parties when people are dancing, especially if you’re lucky to capture a laughing face while the body is in motion.

Swan and Young

Swan and Young

A mother swan and her young offspring. There was a lovely sunset causing a deep red reflection in the water. The mother swan was very protective and aggressive and reared up and spat at me a moment after I took this shot!

Edit: This photo is hosted on Zoomr! Thomas Hawk is appealing to the greed and curiousity of bloggers and giving out pro accounts to those who host a photo on their site and blog it. Hey! What can I say? I bit!

The Swan Gang

Tough looking swans gather for bread at the Lough in Cork for bread.

The problem with shooting dangerous wildlife with a wideangle lens is that unless you stick the camera in their faces nobody will believe you were risking life and limb by leaning down right next to them when shooting. Well, I was that close. *gulp*

See how the swan in the background is lunging for his neighbour with a wicked looking snap? He wasn’t the only one doing that!