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The Swans of St. James



I use the plural because the other one was outside my frame, making a slow advance while he thought I wasn't looking.

Silly swan ninja....
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I use the plural because the other one was outside my frame, making a slow advance while he thought I wasn't looking.

Silly swan ninja.
Read less

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4 Comments | Report
leslieeaston
 
leslieeaston May 12, 2014
Absolutely gorgeous.
Pjerry PRO+
 
Pjerry November 24, 2014
Vote (ioY)
Beautiful....
acglock PRO+
 
acglock September 11, 2015
Dramatic and beautiful! Well done! (My #1 vote!)
CarolParcell Premium
 
CarolParcell August 28, 2016
Beautiful! This photo is definately my favorite.

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was shot from the shores of the lake in St. James Park, just within catapult range of Buckingham Palace in central London.
Time
This was taken around 1 or 2 pm.
Lighting
Lighting was a fine, balmy, overcast London afternoon in midsummer. No hard contrasts, some form of mosquito or related flying pest, and otherwise soft lighting.
Equipment
This photo was shot with a Canon 5DmkII, mounting a Canon 70-200mm 2.8L zoom lens.
Inspiration
I love swans, they're very graceful on and off the water, and the lines of the neck are just fantastic. They're also not cranky jerks like drakes, which can double as a guard dog whether you like it or not. This particular swan was ghosting across the water, just being a swan, which was more than enough for me. Out of frame is one of his buddies, perhaps his mate, was approaching me at a rate I describe as 'about to get me featured in a viral video', so I had to shoot quickly. I was crouched down to use the trees lining the lake to remove as much reflected image from the surface as possible, and I think he interpreted that as bringing or being lunch.
Editing
Post processing is a crop, to provide an aesthetically acceptable amount of negative space, shifting the black point to enhance the blackness of the water's surface. There's a set of selective burning on the swan's neck, to balance the white levels against his wings, and a rash of retouching the various bits of trash floating on the water, to remove distractions and leave the swan as the dominant element.
In my camera bag
On a photowalk, I'm carrying a Canon 5DmkII, a Canon 70-200mm 2.8L, and Canon 24mm 1.4L prime lens. Occasionally I'll pack a 50mm 1.8L or Lensbaby Composer, for grins and giggles.
Feedback
Mind your background! Make sure subjects don't have poles growing from them, accidental photobombs, or other distractions. Work to be familiar with the fundamentals of exposure, so you can adjust settings quickly to capture fleeting moments effectively. Fast moving subjects may need a faster shutter speed, others may need aperture changes to adjust depth of field on the fly.

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