Tundra Swans lifting off from the water – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light
Last year at this time I couldn’t get to the auto tour loop at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge due to flooding caused by warm temps combined with early spring runoff that flooded parts of northern Utah including the roads on the refuge which meant I didn’t get many photos of the Tundra Swans before they headed north to their breeding grounds on the arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska.
I seem to be making up for that this year by photographing the swans as often as I can when I am out on the refuge. Yesterday there were plenty of swans out in the marshes, a few of them were resting on the thin ice that has formed after a couple a cold nights and chilly days, just a week ago there wasn’t any ice to be seen at all because of the abnormally warm temperatures we have had.
Pair of Tundra Swans in flight – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light
When the Tundra Swans lift off from the water I try to isolate just one or two birds to track because when there are any more than that I can almost predict with certainty that I am going to have out of focus swans in the photo. When I focus on just one or two I can usually have enough depth of field to get them in focus and sharp.
Two Tundra Swans flying over Bear River MBR – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light
Yesterday I was able to lock on to a pair of Tundra Swans lifting off and taking flight over brilliant blue water in beautiful light with the marsh and mountains in the background. I took 31 images of these swans as they flew towards the east and passed in front of me before they turned towards the north.
Tundra Swan pair in flight – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light
As I photographed this pair of Tundra Swans in flight I could hear the whir of their wings and the calls of the other swans that were still on the water and also getting ready to lift off.
Tundra Swan duo in flight – Nikon D500, f8, 1/3200, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light
Being at the refuge early is the morning is always a joy for me because I am filled with a sense of peace while I am there and that feeling is amplified when I can photograph the Tundra Swans that are at home in the marshes during the winter.
I wish I could package that feeling, wrap it with a bow and send it out to everyone today but I will simply wish you all a Happy Valentines Day instead.
Life is good.