ARCHIVE 527 – SWANS, GRAZING (MONO)

 

 


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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.  

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

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

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ARCHIVE 502 – SWAN, PREENING (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan at Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol; 6 Apr 2015.

The bird is preening, busily rearranging its feathers in a flurry of activity that is sending concentric ripples out across the surrounding water.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; -0.3EV; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Low Key 2 preset.

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ARCHIVE 498 – THE VIEW WEST AT SUNRISE

 

 


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Looking west along the North Drain from the Jack’s Drove bridge on Tealham Moor, at sunrise; 22 Nov 2013.

I’d raced to Tealham Moor to catch the sunrise, and just before the scene was blasted by the light of the rapidly rising sun (see this image), there was this beautiful soft light, with clouds that were faintly tinged pink, off to the west. 

A group of three Mute Swans are on the water at lower left, and I’m pleased because this whole scene is just as I remember it. 

Click onto the “early morning” tag (below) to see more images from the early hours of the day.

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

Technique: D800 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; Color Efex Pro 4.

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ARCHIVE 474 – MISTY MORNING, ALLERTON MOOR (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swans in the water-filled ditch – the rhyne (rhymes with seen) – that runs along beside the mostly single track road across Allerton Moor, on the Somerset Levels.

A misty morning.  The rhyne, which does duty as the field’s fence in this wet part of the world, runs on off into the distance before starting to bear off to the left, where a faintly seen fence beside the road keeps the unwary traveller from the deep and glutinous clutches of the dark water and ooze. 

Up right of the swans, cattle at the rhyne’s edge: there may be a place there where they can get down safely to the water’s edge to drink. And behind the cattle, in the murk, farm buildings.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film preset; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at Janice’s Infrared preset; Allerton Moor, west of Chapel Allerton; 22 Aug 2017.

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ARCHIVE 456 – SWANS OVER TEALHAM

 

 


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Mute Swans about to land on flooded Tealham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 7 Feb 2014.

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

Much against good sense, I ventured down onto the Levels recently, to my habitual haunts on Tealham and Tadham Moors.  Not daring to take my usual cross-country route because of the many places where even small amounts of flooding might cut it, I drove down the main A38 road south from Bristol to Highbridge, and then went eastwards into the flatlands along another, relatively large road.  All was well on these main roads, but as soon as I got onto the smaller lanes, problems with water appeared.

Tealham and Tadham were mostly submerged, with just just the roads sticking up above the waters and little traffic about, but the floods in this more northerly part of the Levels are nothing like those further south, south of the Polden Hills, where whole villages are being overwhelmed, main roads have been cut for weeks, cutting edge pumping technology has been brought in from Holland, and the Army has been called in to help the local people.

This image is starting to look rather unphotographic, more like a painting maybe, and I always feel good when this happens.  Henrietta Richer and Dave Battarbee have both made suggestions about this image, which I’ve incorporated.  

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO. 

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ARCHIVE 450 – THE BAY BESIDE BROOK COPSE

 

 


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Mute Swan in the bay beside Brook Copse, on the Chew Valley Lake’s northeastern edge; 15 May 2015.

An image almost without colour, with the marked exception of that beacon-like bill.  The various structures within this image are mainly horizontal – the wavelets, the areas of water plants – but the bird’s gentle bow wave is at a slight angle to this trend.

A popular path around the lake crosses a small stream or brook here via a small bridge, and walkers often feed the waterbirds from the bridge.  This swan spotted me on the bridge from some way off and, ever ready for food, came over – but I had not a thing edible on me!

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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BIRDS 121 – MUTE SWAN 7 (MONO)

 

 


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I have been posting images of a family of swans swimming quietly away on Cripps River (see links to earlier images below).  Here, the three young swans swim off slowly up river.  The nearest one’s head is seen in profile as (s)he keeps me cautiously in view.  The other two are looking to either side.

Albeit its my picture and I’m inevitably biased, I have to say that I find calm and beauty here.  So many things in this world are otherwise, but here, on an insignificant backwater in Somerset, three young birds – momentarily (in the UK sense) and quite unconsciously – have formed themselves into a tableau which to me is visually and emotionally attractive.  As is usual, really, the Natural World is always worth looking at, never boring.

Earlier pictures of this meeting with swans are here: 1 2 .

All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge itrecommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile and cropping; no further processing; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 119 – MUTE SWAN 6 (MONO)

 

 

The three young swans slowly and silently make their way down into the river

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In an earlier post (which you can find here ) I described a meeting with a family of Mute Swans on the banks of Cripps River, on the Somerset Levels.   I’d come upon a family of these birds on the river bank and, keeping quiet and still, started taking pictures.  I looked at them, they looked at me and then, unhurriedly and very gently, they made their way down to the water’s edge, and slowly moved off upstream.  Here are two more images from that quiet encounter.

Click onto each image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Two of the young swans, moving off slowly up river

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C format to give 450mm; in-camera processing and cropping of raw files, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Capture NX2; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 116 – MUTE SWAN 5 (MONO)

 

 


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Immature Mute Swans, moving slowly away while keeping me cautiously in view, on Cripps River.  I’d come upon a family of these birds on the river bank and, keeping quiet and still, started taking pictures.  I looked at them, they looked at me and then, unhurriedly and gently, they made their way down to the water’s edge, and slowly moved off upstream.

This is a jpeg generated and cropped in-camera from a raw file, using the Graphite profile, with no further processing in Lightroom.  Because my blog has a white background, I’d wondered about adding a thin black border in Silver Efex Pro 2, but then decided to leave these birds floating within a wider whiteness.

Other recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, including use of the Graphite profile and cropping; no further processing; Cripps River, at Eastern Moor Bridge, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 25 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 114 – MUTE SWAN 4

 

 


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Adult swan standing in the shallows at the lake’s edge, preening.  I’ve added a light vignette in Color Efex Pro 4.

Other recent bird pictures from Chew Valley Lake are here: 1 2 3 4 .

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Color Efex Pro 4; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.

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