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QuietOne
02-19-2011, 02:00 AM
The title requires a touch of explanation. Several months ago I was coming back from a lunch walk. There on the apartment pond were a pair of swans. The way they were moving around and bickering with the geese I knew they wouldn't be there long. The sun was blinding, the angle was lousy and they were moving away faster than I could walk. So I took what shots I could, expecting the worst. I wasn't disappointed. The highlights surrendered without a fight - the feathers on the body are really that pure a white, and with no time to adjust a camera, they never stood a chance.

Forward to late last month. I'd noticed a single swan on the pond in Julia Davis Park for about a week. No idea if it was one of the pair I'd seen earlier.

I figured, what the heck. I'll go practice. I wasn't expecting to get close enough for a decent picture, but I figured I could try for one where the highlights decided to stick around for a bit. I got closer from a couple of spots than I expected, and found that I could crop with not bad results. I didn't lose too many highlights. It helped that I wasn't fighting bright sun again. I did keep one shot of the original pair (shudder), which I will post if people are curious about how bad the results were.

This is a mute swan, which is an invasive species. They were imported starting in the 19th century to be decorative in parks, which they do well. They also compete directly with native species. The other problem is they are very aggressive when defending a nest or young (the native species are more likely to retreat). They're a big bird, and the blows from the wings are powerful enough to cause serious injury, especially to young children. There are reports of them knocking people off of jet skis.

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Bambi
02-19-2011, 07:37 AM
nice photos and nice story to go with. it's always good when you can redo

Marko
02-19-2011, 10:16 AM
Nice set and story Q.O!

Hillbillygirl
02-19-2011, 10:42 AM
Very nice QO, and glad to see you got some redemption for the first outing.

Iguanasan
02-19-2011, 04:43 PM
Love the story and these shots are nicely done. The big question for me now is, if you ran into same situation: "sun was blinding, the angle was lousy and they were moving away faster than I could walk". What would you do differently?

mbrager
02-20-2011, 12:40 AM
These are lovely. The shots are very sharp and textured. Strangely, we just came back from seeing Black Swan. Natalie Portman's character keeps trying too...LOL

QuietOne
02-20-2011, 01:30 AM
Thank you, folks. I was pleased to have some success with my original goal. The rest was a bonus. Mike, I might have had better luck with your movie!


Love the story and these shots are nicely done. The big question for me now is, if you ran into same situation: "sun was blinding, the angle was lousy and they were moving away faster than I could walk". What would you do differently?

It actually depends, Iguanasan. The pond at Julia Davis has more vantage points. At the apartments, you're stuck along one stretch. The rest of it is too hard to cut around and the banks are quite steep. And I wasn't kidding about the geese - the swans are quite a bit larger, but they were being chased by a dozen or so. So - if I can't get close enough, just enjoy watching them. I got tired of throwing away photos of "dots" quite some time ago. The rest? Well, I was spot metering for the ones I posted here, and it was barely enough. So probably try stopping down a full stop or so. On a bright day, it might be that not much of anything helps. On an overcast day, I might even be able to stop down a bit less. We'll have to see if I get the opportunity. The receptionist at work says they belong to the same folks that own the peacocks (they might try clipping wings if they're going to keep buying expensive living decorations).

Iguanasan
02-20-2011, 02:38 PM
Thank you, folks. I was pleased to have some success with my original goal. The rest was a bonus. Mike, I might have had better luck with your movie!

It actually depends, Iguanasan. The pond at Julia Davis has more vantage points. At the apartments, you're stuck along one stretch. The rest of it is too hard to cut around and the banks are quite steep. And I wasn't kidding about the geese - the swans are quite a bit larger, but they were being chased by a dozen or so. So - if I can't get close enough, just enjoy watching them. I got tired of throwing away photos of "dots" quite some time ago. The rest? Well, I was spot metering for the ones I posted here, and it was barely enough. So probably try stopping down a full stop or so. On a bright day, it might be that not much of anything helps. On an overcast day, I might even be able to stop down a bit less. We'll have to see if I get the opportunity. The receptionist at work says they belong to the same folks that own the peacocks (they might try clipping wings if they're going to keep buying expensive living decorations).

Awesome! For me, it's all about how you address these trials and tribulations. Choosing to take "mental photographs" is a great response. It keeps your photographic eye working away even if you don't have the tools (or toys) to capture it.

QuietOne
02-20-2011, 11:07 PM
Then there's the opposite, sort of. Lately I've forced myself out for a walk during lunch by giving myself permission to not take a single picture if I don't feel like it. And when I first go out, I'm thinking I won't. Somehow, I always come back with some. So far, the least has been 20.

Iguanasan
02-20-2011, 11:32 PM
Then there's the opposite, sort of. Lately I've forced myself out for a walk during lunch by giving myself permission to not take a single picture if I don't feel like it. And when I first go out, I'm thinking I won't. Somehow, I always come back with some. So far, the least has been 20.

You are starting to "let go". Awesome! It's an important step on the photographic journey.