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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BIRDS 113 – MUTE SWAN 3

 

 


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

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 Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 421 – IN THE UNDERGROWTH, SWANSHARD LANE

 

 


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

Moving through early morning’s wet undergrowth in Swanshard Lane, and chancing upon this: motionless within an object of natural beauty that it has itself created, a predator waits.

There are other recent spider pictures here: 1 2 .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Landscape v2 profile; in the bushes beside Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 23 Aug 2019.
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BIRDS 111 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

 


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

Lesser Black-backed Gull – giving me quite a fixed stare!  The medium to pale grey upperwings are typical of this bird, and the dark markings on the white head appear in winter.

This is one of the common, larger gulls in the UK, being found around coasts and lakes, and also as a scavenger in towns.  I grew up alongside gulls in a seaside town and have always liked them and viewed them as a normal part of the landscape, but many think otherwise, both because of the mess that these birds can make around human habitation, and for their sometimes aggressive behaviour.  Walking around south Bristol, taking photographs for this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, I sometimes have these gulls come down to have a look at me, but as I’m never carrying/eating any food there’s no problem – although I do always invite them to come down and try their luck – if they’d like a spot of bother, that is …

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 Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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BIRDS 110 – MUTE SWAN

 

 


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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.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 417 – WILLOW 4 (MONO)

 

 


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These images are certainly best viewed enlarged – click onto each of them to open a larger version in a separate window and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.  These are mono versions of a previously posted colour image – see 3 below.

Technique:  these images, both captured by the Nikon Z 6, have been created in two different ways.  The one above was produced by in-camera processing of a raw file, using the camera’s Graphite picture control, and no further processing in Lightroom.  The one below was via the “traditional route”, i.e. via Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro 2,  using the latter’s Landscape preset.   They’re similar, but I have to say – purely subjectively of course – that I prefer the in-camera processing.  My reasons?  Well I think that the lower one is a bit too grey, with too many of the leaves visible; whereas the upper one has more of the leaves and branches burnt out, so focusing more attention on the gnarled trunk.  Which, if any, do you prefer???
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There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 3 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

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SOMERSET LEVELS 414 – SPIDER ON A BRIDGE

 

 


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A life spent hanging from the girders of Eastern Moor Bridge, a narrow structure crossing Cripps River on Liberty Moor.

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

Techniques: upper image – Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; 1000 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile;  lower image – X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens; 200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia Soft profile; Eastern Moor Bridge on Liberty Moor, on the Somerset Levels east of East Huntspill; 2 Aug 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 413 – WILLOW 3

 

 


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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.

Pollarded willow, old and leaning precariously, beside the River Sheppey in Swanshard Lane.

And to me there is something human here, someone leaning with arms outstretched, though whether perhaps performing gracefully in some dance or ballet – or distraughtly in pain, anguish or panic, I cannot say.

There are other Willow portraits here: 1 2 .

There is more about the ancient practice of pollarding here .

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 82mm; 6400 ISO; spotmetering for high key effect; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Portrait v2 profile; Swanshard Lane, on the Somerset Levels southwest of Wells; 13 Sept 2019.
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