Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Early Morning Swans

The most important aspect of photography is of course light and without light you simply can't take a photograph!
Different light conditions can be the difference between a good and bad photograph and sometimes the right light can make for some quite magical images.

Some Landscape photographers chase light to the point of obsession and have an uncanny knack of knowing where the best light will be at a particular place, at a particular time of year.
A bit nerdy then?
Well no, I don't think it is really...I think all photographers of all genres can benefit by studying light a little more closely.
I think it's especially important to the wildlife photographer and even more so if you're like me and you rely 100% on natural light.

Over the years I've learnt by trial and error where the sun will rise and fall at my regular locations and this is particularly important when you have a shot in mind that you would like to try and capture...It's no good waiting 12 hours for that Golden Eagle to fly by carrying it's prey, only to realise when it's too late that you're shooting straight into the sun!
Sounds very basic, but it happens and I would say it happens to all of us from time to time too.

In April, I payed a few visits to Poynton Pool in Cheshire to photograph amongst other things Mute Swans.
On my first visit, I walked around the lake to the far side so the sun would be behind me and this allowed me to get some rather pleasing shots.
On my way back I noticed the sun over the top of the trees and thought that this might be quite interesting at sunrise when the sun starts to break through the trees.

I waiting a couple of days until the forecast was favourable and returned early in the morning and waited for the sunrise.
A beautiful almost misty light soon developed and to my delight 5 Mute Swans decided to fly by...

I'm not 100% sure or not whether this was the effect I was after but I must admit I'm quite happy with the results.
A little bit more predictable a lot easier to pull off was this silhouetted Swan...Just a case of waiting for the bird to swim into the right position (just before the reflected sun) and then firing away!


  1. You are absolutley right there Anthony and many is the time I "got the light wrong". Your last one illustrates your point perfectly, a photograph first and a bird second.

  2. What a beautiful set !
    The last one is really stunning ! What a light :)

  3. I think you nailed them all Anthony, like Phil said " a photograph first and a bird second" I like the 1st image best but they are all really stunning!!!!!

  4. Lovely reflection shot,well captured.

  5. Thanks very much everybody for your kind words and I'm pleased that I managed to get the point across...Summed up a lot better than myself by Phil.