Mute Swan, back-lit and keeping a wary eye on me; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 6 Apr 2015.

The common, resident swan of the British Isles, often tame – and especially so where regularly fed bread and other morsels by indulgent humans!

This is probably an adult male.  Adult on the basis of its white plumage, although its head and neck were stained dirty brown where it had been upending and reaching down into the muddy water to feed on aquatic vegetation.  And a Cob, a male, on the basis of its deep orange bill, and the large black knob on its forehead.

A formidable creature, and certainly not one to annoy.  He was keeping an eye on me, but I was keeping an eye on him too.

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

D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the High Key 2 preset.

UPDATE: they are not totally mute despite their name, uttering various hisses, snorts and even occasional gull-like cries.  But their large wings make a high, throbbing, singing noise in flight which, to me, is one of the most beautiful and ethereal sounds of this world.


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. Malin Ellisdotter H says:

    Such a beauty. Very well portrayed, my friend.


  2. bluebrightly says:

    What a sweet portrait of a beautiful bird, which can indeed be a difficult customer at times. Yes, singing wings are good magic!


  3. Sue Vincent says:

    Beautiful shot, Adrian 🙂


  4. Wonderful detail in this shot!


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you! Belinda, this shot was taken with what I call the lens I’m married to, which is the 70-300 VR Nikkor, which I have used for many thousands of images. I seem to see photographically at x6, which is 300mm in full frame format, and the vast majority of my images with this lens have been at 300mm – and as in this case, I often just leave this lens set at f8 – which is probably around its sharpest aperture and which gives some depth of focus – and then use aperture priority metering on the camera. Now starting to use the APS-C format X-T1 camera, I very much like the 55-200 lens, which gives the full frame equivalent of 84-305mm, and many of my shots are at 305mm. Adrian


  5. athyfoto says:

    What a wonderful exposure. Great portrait.


  6. paula graham says:

    Wonderful..white on white..not always easy to do..Truly beautiful.


  7. I love this! So beautiful 🙂


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