Juvenile Barn Swallow Portraits

Whenever I am able to take portraits of my subjects without disturbing or harassing them I will eagerly accept the opportunity because of the incredible fine details that can show in close up images. I believe it is a mistake to pass up opportunities like I had three days ago with some juvenile Barn Swallows perched right next to a creek where they have become acclimated to vehicle and foot traffic and do not seem to be disturbed by it.

Juvenile Barn Swallow portrait, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahJuvenile Barn Swallow portrait – Nikon D500, f11, 1/320, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’d driven up into a Wasatch Mountain canyon and was patiently waiting for the sun to rise over the mountains when I spotted several juvenile Barn Swallows perched on a fence right next to the road in lovely morning light. I slowly moved towards them using my Jeep as a mobile blind and I was thrilled that not a single swallow flew off when I was within range to take close ups of the young swallows.

The thick stand of willows across the creek gave me this wonderful green background, green backgrounds are something I treasure especially at this time of the year because down in the valley so much has dried out and turned to tans, beige and brown from the dryness and heat.

In this juvenile Barn Swallow portrait I enjoy being able to see the dirt on the bill of the swallow, the fleshy gape that indicates that this bird is young plus all of the fine feather details.

Barn Swallow juvenile up close, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahBarn Swallow juvenile up close – Nikon D500, f11, 1/320, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This is a close up of the same juvenile Barn Swallow where it had turned towards the south, in the full resolution image I can see the silhouette of my Jeep in its eye.

After I’d take about two dozen images of the juvenile Barn Swallows I drove away slowly and left the young swallows to enjoy the warm morning light.

Life is good.


Note: With my cropped sensor Nikon D500 and 500mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter attached I photographed these young Barn Swallows at 1050mm, I want it to be clear that I wasn’t up in their faces when I took these images.


  1. Elephants Child August 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    What a heart melting charmer.
    Thank you.

  2. April Olson August 18, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Beautiful. I don’t know the name (without looking it up) of the fluffy underfeathers that protrude on the chest when the birds are cold, but they are one of my favorite. It gives the bird such a soft cute fluffy look.

  3. Pepe Forte August 18, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Move over Annie Leibovitz…there’s a new portrait master in town! Great , great shots Mia. Thanks.

  4. Patty Chadwick August 18, 2018 at 9:36 am


  5. Nikonsteve August 18, 2018 at 7:44 am

    Really awesome shots…great close ups…Beautiful!

  6. Marty K August 18, 2018 at 7:24 am

    He looks so serious in the first shot! The feather detail is something else, along with that yellow gape.

  7. Liz Cormack August 18, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Oh, wow! The detail of the feathers is awesome.

  8. Bob mcpherson August 18, 2018 at 5:59 am

    A boy howdy on the portraitMia.s

  9. Kathy August 18, 2018 at 5:54 am

    Beautiful portraits! It is nice to see the details! 😍

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