Swans, grazing
Swans grazing on pastureland; Westhay Moor, south of Wedmore; 2 April 2015.

Some see swans purely as waterbirds, and on or beside water is where they’re usually encountered, reaching down into the water’s depths with their long necks to feed on aquatic vegetation.  But they are often seen out on the fields of the Somerset Levels, quite at home grazing on short grass.

These are Mute Swans, the UK’s common and often tame, resident bird.  But in the winter they may be joined here by a few Bewick’s and Whooper Swans that have come south to avoid the Arctic’s bitter freeze.

And the pylon?  Well, 15 miles or so west of here, and in stark contrast to the Levels’ rural reaches, there is the Hinkley Point atomic power station, which sends lines of such gaunt metal towers snaking out across the surrounding countryside.  The two reactors there are ageing now, but a third is proposed and construction is underway.

And  – hot question! – am I in favour of nuclear power and especially, in this instance, so close to my favourite haunts?  Well, the jury’s out on nuclear, I guess, my only certainty being that we need to get power from somewhere – news stories talk of our electricity supplies being only just sufficient to cover winter demands.  Let’s hope that a way is found to generate power by nuclear fusion, rather than the nuclear fission used now – and that it is found soon!

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window.

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor at 300mm; 2,000 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Dramatic preset.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. smilingtoad says:

    Fantastic, haunting and very brooding image! Nuclear certainly is a source of power, and power is indeed needed. Like you, I would love to see nuclear fission come to be! Wonderful post! I get adopted by swans rather frequently over here in swampy Florida. They come barreling up and preen in my face and refuse to let me leave. All I can do is take photos as I choke on feathers. The ibises are even worse…

    All the best!

    Autumn Jade


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Autumn, thank you very much, I’m pleased the post got to you! Haha, yes, close encounters with swans, wonderful – but also not creatures to be taken lightly or for granted. Looking at this picture again, maybe it is symbolic of modern technology threatening the natural world – the pylon looming starkly and uncompromisingly above the huddled birds. All the best to you too! Adrian 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love this…so dramatic and intense. Wonderful 🙂


  3. mgrudniewski says:

    Great photo! Nice story too


  4. paula graham says: it lots, for me the power lines and pylons ‘make’ the photo..Nuclear? hmm , yes, we do need power . Sad, in the Netherlands, swans , a protected species and like in the UK, belonging to the King, are now on the hitlist…They can be shot, just like geese and ducks and others. Lesson…when a species is too numerous…bad things happen. Hmmmm


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Glad it gets to you, my friend, thank you! I’m sorry to hear about the Dutch swans – I imagine that their loss of protection may make them far more wary of humans, far less confiding. A


  5. Sallyann says:

    How nice of the swans to pose in line with the wires for you. 🙂


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