This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

An adult Mute Swan rests beside the waters of Chew Valley Lake, Somerset – while keeping a watchful eye on me!  It was a stormy day, dark clouds, rain and bright sunshine following each other in quick succession, and I was drawn by the way the light washed over this bird, creating shadows and highlighting textures.  Adult swans have white plumage, but this one’s head and neck are tinged pale brown due to the bird up-ending in the lake’s muddy waters when feeding, and the underparts are also slightly darkened.

This is the swan commonly found in many parts of the UK, sometimes becoming semi-tame – as here – around inland waters and also harbours.  Two other species of swan are wilder and less common winter visitors.

Birds are big with me >>>  I was a highly committed birder 1967-2002 and, while a photographer of many things now, I have never lost my love for our feathered friends.  In this instance though, that love is tinged with respect: these swans can weigh up to 11.5 kgs (25 lbs) and have wingspans up to 2.2m (over 7 feet), and they can on occasion be distinctly aggressive.

One of the many fairy tales (aka imagined realities) that help provide the foundation of Our Great Nation is that all swans belong to the monarch.  Well, maybe there is actually some piece of legal paperwork somewhere stating just that, but having fairies at the bottom of my garden seems an eminently more realistic and desirable alternative.  However, for those believing differently, I do have an exciting range of bridges for sale/lease.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

8 Responses to BIRDS 110 – MUTE SWAN

  1. bluebrightly says:

    Ah, another of your fine bird portraits, with so much to like. 🙂


  2. Meanderer says:

    This is an interesting study in light, texture and colour, and enlarging it is highly recommended. It’s interesting to see how flat and close to the body the main feathers are. Today is cold and very grey; I want to do what the swan is doing 🙂


  3. Nice light and composition!


  4. Jeb says:

    You should check out ‘Swan upping’ its an old ceremony. Birds are marked, which ones belong to city of london guilds which ones to the Queen (she owns all unmarked mute swans) from back in the day when they were eaten.

    Trolls under the bridge may want to refer to the daily mail and its fireside tales of terror, which speak of thieving Eastern European’s feasting on the Queens swans.

    Of such things are nations made for good or ill.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      That’s interesting, thanks, Jeb – but to me royalty are imagined realities too! So many things exist only in our minds. And, very rightly, as you say, “Of such things are nations made for good or ill.”. Thank you. Adrian


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