Tundra Swan in a near white out – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, +1.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light
This Tundra Swan photograph was taken in February of 2013 from the causeway to Antelope Island State Park where a small flock of Canada Geese and several Tundra Swans feeding in some puddles that weren’t completely frozen over while some of the others swans and geese rested or stood around on the snow covered flats adjacent to the Great Salt Lake. There was a fog, falling snow, low light conditions and my subject was a white bird on a field of white. Just a tiny wisp of sunshine was getting through the clouds overhead which was barely enough to cause a shadow.
Some of the Tundra Swan photos I took that day in near white out conditions were flat and unappealing to my eyes but some of them I really liked because of the white bird on white snow. I remember in art class in school my art teacher had the class sketch a white egg on a white table cloth and I recall that it wasn’t an easy assignment to do at all but it did teach me about using my pencil to apply subtle shading. The only bits of color in this Tundra Swan photo are the yellow spot near the swan’s eye and the slight tinge of rusty staining on the swan’s neck. I always think of swans as pure white but they don’t look quite as white when they are in a field of snow.
Over the years since I took this photograph and images of the Canada Geese that were nearby that day I have wished to have the same kind of weather conditions with swans, geese, ducks and other birds because I liked the way the images turned out. Although we are now getting less snow in the valley than when I first moved here I keep hoping that I’ll have that chance again because it was fun and challenging.
Life is good.