Posts Tagged ‘Trumpeter Swan Society’

December 9, 2012
Trumpeter Swan © Nichole Beaulac

Trumpeter Swan © Nichole Beaulac

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Niki’s close-up of the immature Trumpeter Swan shows how the use of flash provides an increase in depth of field and area in optimum focus.  As with some wildlife, when found in close proximity to people, they become accustomed to close approach and allow for a more intimate photograph.

Depth-of-field (DOF) is the area between nearest and farthest points in the photograph that are acceptably sharp.  Depending on your camera and lens, there is always only one precise focal point at a time.  There is a gradual decrease in sharpness from the focal point as you move towards the front and the back of the photograph, so that within the DOF, the decrease in sharpness is imperceptible in normal viewing.

Niki followed the golden rule in photography, if your subject’s eye is in the photograph, it has to be the focal point and also has to be tack sharp.  Follow the focus both forward and away from the eye and you will see where the sharpness falls away.

In her photograph, Niki chose a composition (she got her camera lower so the only areas behind the swan’s face were well out of the acceptable DOF) which provided a foreground that was mostly in focus.  She could have elevated her lens to get more of the far side of the bird in focus and then cropped out the unfocused foreground, but this a composition question that is always left to the photographer.

We have all visited parks or gone camping and found that wildlife living in those areas, are much more approachable and easier to photograph!  It is a surefire way to get close-ups that might only be otherwise available to those that have some of the bigger, faster lenses.

Featured Photographer for December, 2012 – Nichole Beaulac, State of California and Province of British Columbia

Niki’s  residence is her motorhome where she spends six months of the year in British Columbia and the remainder in Southern California

From Niki:

I have been very interested in nature photography for a few years and now that I am retired I seek out places to go to photograph birds and animals and all other types of creatures but mainly birds. I have photographed birds at the Esquimalt Lagoon a few times. The swans are easy to approach and so beautiful.

See and find out more about Niki’s photographs at  http://www.nicolebeaulac.com

We are pleased that Niki was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society.

The Trumpeter Swan Society Urges Action: 200 Groups Object to Lead-poisoning Provision in Sportsmen’s Bill

December 3, 2012

http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org/images/swan-information.jpg

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/294/632/199/stop-lead-poisoning-legislation/

Every signature counts, please pass this on!

In late November, 2012, The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) joined more than 200 citizen groups in objecting to a provision in the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 3525) that would create an exemption under federal toxics law to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from evaluating or regulating lead poisoning of wildlife and humans from hunting or fishing activities.

A wide array of public-interest organizations called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow debate on the lead-poisoning exemption. Such debate has never occurred in Congress despite the serious environmental and public-health problems caused by spent lead ammunition and lost lead fishing weights and the availability of nontoxic alternatives to lead. The organizations support an amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to block the exemption and study the human-health and environmental effects of lead poisoning from lead in ammunition and fishing sinkers.

“It’s outrageous that the Senate can’t find 10 minutes to allow any debate before voting to prevent our federal environmental agency from regulating, or even evaluating, a deadly toxic substance that we know is killing bald eagles and other wildlife — a toxin that causes neurological damage to humans and hinders mental development in children,” said William Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are good reasons we got toxic lead out of gasoline and home paints. The irony of this bill, preventing any regulation of lead used in hunting ammunition or fishing weights, is that it will harm hunters and anglers.”

The Sportsmen’s Act, which could be voted on as early as today, would create an exemption under the Toxic Substances Control Act to block the EPA from ever regulating toxic lead used in hunting ammunition and fishing sinkers or even evaluating the impacts of lead from these sources. The bill also contains an exemption that would allow imports of threatened polar bear parts from Canada despite the Endangered Species Act’s prohibition against such trade.

“Why would the Senate bow to the National Rifle Association’s anti-science views on lead poisoning and pass a special-interest legal exemption to promote further lead poisoning?” said Snape. “The amendment offered by Senator Boxer would actually establish a moratorium on any regulation of lead in ammunition or fishing sinkers until federal health and environment agencies prepare an objective study that all Americans could trust.”

Toxic lead entering the food chain from spent hunting ammunition and lost or discarded fishing sinkers poisons and kills bald eagles, endangered condors, loons, swans and more than 130 other species of wildlife. Hunters risk lead poisoning from ingesting lead fragments and residues in game shot with lead ammunition. Recent studies and scientific reports show elevated blood lead levels in hunters eating lead-infected meat, as well as dangerous lead contamination of venison donations to low-income food banks.

The Boxer amendment is reprinted below in its entirety.

Boxer Amendment to the Sportsmen’s Act:

SA 2902. Mrs. BOXER submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 2875 proposed by Mr. REID (for Mr. TESTER) to the bill S. 3525, to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

Strike section 121 and insert the following:

SEC. 121. NO REGULATION OF AMMUNITION OR FISHING TACKLE PENDING STUDY OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS.

(a) No Regulation of Ammunition or Fishing Tackle.–The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall not issue any proposed or final rule or guidance to regulate any chemical substance or mixture in ammunition or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.) during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on the date of the publication of the study required by subsection (b).

(b) Study of Potential Human Health and Environmental Effects.—

(1) IN GENERAL.–Not later than December 31, 2014, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Secretary of the Interior shall jointly prepare and publish a study that describes the potential threats to human health (including to pregnant women, children, and other vulnerable populations) and to the environment from the use of—

(A) lead and toxic substances in ammunition and fishing tackle; and

(B) commercially available and less toxic alternatives to lead and toxic substances in ammunition and fishing tackle.

(2) USE.–The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall use, as appropriate, the findings of the report required by paragraph (1) when considering any potential future decision related to a chemical substance or mixture when the substance or mixture is used in ammunition or fishing tackle.

This text is from a public press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity, a group coordinating the effort on this vital issue. The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For quick and immediate action, you can sign a petition online at

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/294/632/199/stop-lead-poisoning-legislation/

Every signature counts, please pass this on!

 

The Trumpeter Swan Society and Trumpeters Say Goodbye to a Great Friend, Joe Johnson

November 2, 2012

Joe Johnson at TTSS’s 22nd Conference, Polson, MT

On October 9, 2012, the Society lost Director and friend Joe Johnson. W. C. “Joe” Johnson wrote and implemented the restoration plan for Trumpeter Swans for Michigan and served as the State’s Trumpeter Swan restoration coordinator. He led the very successful effort to restore the magnificent Trumpeter to part of its historical nesting range after over a century.The native of Kalamazoo was best known for his waterfowl and wetland expertise, but his interests and experience were much broader. Joe was an avid hunter and served on the National Board of Directors of Pheasants Forever for 16 years. He was elected to the Board of Directors of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 2003 and was an active member and TTSS Conference participant for many years prior to that. Since 1987, he has been the Chair of the Mississippi Flyway Council’s Swan Committee, continuing to serve even in retirement. At the time of his swan song, he was leading the Flyway Council’s effort to revise the management plan for Trumpeters.

Joe worked at Michigan State University’s W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary for 48 years. He retired in 2007 after being the sanctuary’s Manager since 1985. In addition to his excellent work with swans, he was instrumental in the successful return of Giant Canada Geese to Michigan.

Joe spent his last days at Rose Arbor Hospice Center that is surrounded by a natural space with ponds frequented by flocks of Canada geese. As Joe’s family left Rose Arbor all of the geese took flight hours earlier than their normal routine to escort Joe to the his next Sanctuary. We will sorely miss his friendship and good counsel. We will have to search for someone else to keep us in line according to Robert’s Rules of Order. He was truly one of kind!

When he retired the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary established the Joe Johnson Endowment Fund for Wildlife Conservation Fellowship. This fund provides support for students who want to study and work with wildlife conservation and habitat preservation or restoration at the Sanctuary. The Directors and staff of TTSS are going to make a contribution to the fund to honor Joe for his outstanding contributions to swan conservation and his leadership in TTSS. We invite you to do the same.

You may contribute to the Joe Johnson Endowment Fund for Wildlife Conservation Fellowship online.

The Trumpeter Swan Society Members Share Creative Work Inspired by Swans

August 9, 2012

THE TRUMPETERS

A Poem by Peter Meiring, TTSS member

A Young Trumpeter Takes Flight, photo by Tammy Wolfe

 

Look towards the north to Cepheus;

Seen next to Polaris in the early Spring,

Pointing there towards the east is Cygnus,

With long neck and graceful curve of wing.

-

Deneb lights its tail, it can only be a swan.

The ancients surely knew their natural world,

When their gaze upon this constellation shone

And Cygnus the Swan it was thenceforth called.

-

In April, going north to breeding grounds,

Many swans are resting on the lake;

Their honks on taking off are thrilling sounds.

Flying in skeins and lines, their way they make.

-

A huge and lovely bird, all gleaming white,

With long and graceful neck and jet black bill

The Trumpeter Swan an unforgotten sight

And sound, the memory to thrill.

-

We appreciate recieving and being able to share Peter Miering’s inspired words. If you are inspired by Trumpeters, please share your work with us.  You can submit copy to our main office: The Trumpeter Swan Society, 12615 County Road 9, Plymouth, MN. 55441-1248.  Or send it electronically to ttss@trumpeterswansociety.org.

The photograph, of a juvenile Trumpeter in flight is by Tammy Wolfe, author and photographer.

Restoring Grayling and Trumpeter Swans, a Growing Management Challenge

August 5, 2012

Image

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (RRL) in Montana’s Centennial Valley is the most important nesting area for Trumpeter Swans in the western United States.  In addition to the vast refuge marshes, there are also 30+ historic nesting territories on nearby federal and private lands.  Greater Yellowstone’s nesting swans are the most vulnerable breeding Trumpeters in North America and the only nesting group that escaped extinction in the lower 48 states.  Swan habitat management decisions in the Centennial Valley will have a substantial impact on the viability of these nesting swans.

Last year, through our Centennial Valley Project, we produced a detailed report summarizing the off-refuge territories and providing recommendations to correct problems and increase nest success. This year, we are working with landowners to improve conditions at priority territories.  Thanks to grants received from the Cinnabar Foundation and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, we are also expanding our efforts to focus on a very important issue – ensuring that efforts to restore lake-dwelling grayling are planned with the utmost care to avoid significant damage to important Trumpeter Swan habitat.

Although this beautiful fish is widespread in Alaska and Canada, grayling in Montana are a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  The Centennial Valley is home to one of the last lake-dwelling populations in the lower 48 states.  Recently, fish managers have proposed restoration actions that would drain both Culver and MacDonald Ponds on RRL.  These spring-fed man-made ponds have provided much of the late winter/early spring foraging habitat for the valley’s nesting swans for over 100 years and TTSS is asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to carefully reconsider this action.

Careful integration of grayling and Trumpeter Swan restoration needs will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.  Our goal is to build a vital partnership with fish managers and conservationists to explore all possible management options and find ways to minimize and mitigate swan habitat damage if at times it is unavoidable.  We are hopeful that this situation, involving the restoration of two iconic, vulnerable populations, will become a showcase effort of integrated management for vulnerable species with overlapping ranges that have differing habitat needs.

This article by TTSS Board Member Ruth Shea appeared in the July 2012 issue of Trumpetings, Vol. XXII, No. 2. Members of the Society receive this publication three times each year.

Find the detailed report summarizing TTSS’ recommendations for the Centennial Valley and more on the Greater Yellowstone Initiative (GYTSI):

http://www.trumpeterswansociety.org/GYTSI.html

The Trumpeter Swan Society July 2012 Photograph of the Month

July 11, 2012

Trumpeter Swan Family © Tammy Wolfe

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Tammy’s capture of the Trumpeter Swan pair with their three cygnets on the nest shows the how the use of a long lens, while factoring in subdued lighting produces a well exposed photograph.  Finding the nest early on, watching how the pen and cob interact and setting up on the appropriate day shows how planning can create the desired effects.

This nest was on private property and Tammy had the opportunity to watch the nest being constructed and the subsequent laying of five eggs.  Not that all swan nests are on private property, but photographing nests on public property is subject to disturbance from other folks out recreating.  Having access to private property allows you to practice ethical photography without having to worry about those outside disturbances.

A number of photographs we have reviewed have a consistent theme when photographing swans – fog/overcast conditions diffusing the light and minimize contrast between the white birds and darker areas/shadows of the scene.  Tammy utilized light, overcast conditions to remove these potential challenges and to take the photograph under optimal conditions.

Take a closer look at the lighting.  All of the swans are exposed with lighting from the front, not overhead.  If the lighting were overhead, the underside of the breast of the bird on the left would be darker than the rest of the bird.  So it was a photograph taken late in the day.  This is where knowing your subject, the setting and then planning your photograph gives you the right results.

Most very good wildlife photographers use a long lens when photographing wildlife.  You can get frame-filling shots as in Tammy’s photo, and you can control the focus of the background.  In this setting Tammy also used her lens to stay far enough away to prevent any disturbance to the birds, the ethical path to an outstanding photograph!

The Life History Moment

Tammy had been monitoring the nest long enough to note that the eggs had hatched two days prior.  The young were still using the nest two days subsequent to hatching AND that now both parent were now on the nest.

During incubation the pen does all the brooding, while the cob does not take part in this activity.  Even when the pen leaves for preening, feeding or any other reason, the nest is protected by the cob, but he does not incubate or shade the eggs.  So having both adults on the nest at the same is an unusual occurrence!

Featured Photographer for July, 2012 – Tammy Wolfe, State of Minnesota

Tammy and one of her photographs were featured in this column in May, 2010.  So here is an update of her background since that time.

From Tammy:  Nature Photographer

I have collaborated on a children’s story about Trumpeter Swans with Mary Lundeberg. Right now the book (Spirit of the Swan) is only available as an ebook on Kindle. However, we are currently working with an editor and small publishing company and hope to have the print version available later this year.

Another accomplishment as a photographer is that one of my owl images was selected for the October 2010 cover of Your Big Backyard magazine, a National Wildlife Federation publication, and a greeting card company purchased one of my Trumpeter Swan images to use as a greeting card.

Since May 2010 I have traveled to Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Hawaii, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, and Florida to photograph mammals and birds, but my favorite subject to photograph is in my home state of Minnesota and next door in Wisconsin is the Trumpeter Swan.

See and find out more about Tammy’s photographs at:http://twolfephotos.smugmug.com

About the Photo:

From Tammy: When I first started to photograph the swans several years ago, I mostly photographed them where they overwintered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Nowadays I am thrilled to be able to photograph them year round. This spring I had two amazing opportunities to photograph nesting swans on private property. Both pairs ended up with five eggs hatching, and I was happy to be present at both sites when some of the eggs hatched. I hope to continue watching and photographing the cygnets as they grow up.

Photographing Trumpeter Swans in the late spring and summer can be difficult on sunny days because the light is harsh, and the birds are white.  The image was captured at a Minnesota site a few hours before sunset when the light is less harsh. The cygnets were two days old when the image was made. I used my 500 mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter so that I could photograph from a safe distance but still get frame-filling images.

We are pleased that Tammy was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society.

The Trumpeter Swan Society Receives Major Grant from the Yellowstone to Yukon Consevation Initiative for Work in Montana’s Centennial Valley

May 26, 2012

Trumpeters in Centennial Valley by Jess Lee

The Trumpeter Swan Society is most grateful to the (Y2Y) Partner Grants Program for supporting our efforts to protect to swan habitat in Montana’s Centennial Valley.  Y2Y recently announced their grant of $4,500 to support our Centennial Valley Cooperative Wetland Conservation Project. The Centennial Valley, including Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, contains the single-most important nesting and molting habitat for Greater Yellowstone’s fragile Trumpeter Swan nesting flock.

Preventing damage to these habitats and where possible improving their quality is a top priority for TTSS.  Some of these wetlands also provide important habitat for Grayling, which might be listed as threatened or endangered in the near future.  Without great care, there is potential for some actions that would benefit Grayling to damage important swan habitats. In addition, at some sites water delivery problems and increasing human disturbance jeopardize swan nesting success.

Working closely with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Montana, and other conservation partners, we will be working to develop a model program to minimize damage to swan habitat from fish conservation efforts and seek ways to improve swan habitat where possible. We will also be working with private landowners and public land managers to improve water levels and reduce disturbance of swans in historic habitats.

Trumpeter Pair in the Centennial Valley by Jess Lee http://www.jessleephotos.com

The Trumpeter Swan Society May 2012 Photograph of the Month

May 11, 2012

Dawn on the Madison: Trumpeter Swan , Cygnus buccinator© by Jeff Wendorff

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Jeff’s image of the Trumpeter Swan on the Yellowstone’s Madison River shows the importance of positioning yourself to get the optimum chance for a great photograph and the timing to accentuate different colors during that “sweet” light of early morning or late afternoon.  And having led many tours to Yellowstone myself, Jeff’s shot just exemplifies the knowledge of how to get a “natural moment” shot.

I know all of us have been to parks where a wildlife sighting is cause for most everyone to rush to the subject and click away.  And there are times (mating, dominance etc.) where it is appropriate to subtly and safely approach your subject and try to capture the moment.

But in the world of wildlife photography, you usually get your best shots by planning your time in the field (early morning when wildlife is beginning daytime activities or early evening when nocturnal wildlife start to forage) and also knowing the habits of your subject.

Jeff took the time to get into the field at dawn prior to sunrise.  Without having done that, the pink pastel reflection on the water would have been long gone and not even be a possibility for inclusion in the photograph.  We have all seen how rapidly a sky (and its reflected color) can disappear or change.

Most very good wildlife photographers know that it is usually best to let the wildlife come to you.  You will get a more relaxed pose from the subject, and you will see actions that are natural and not necessarily based on the animal’s response to your presence.  For me, this is the number one rule to follow to get the “natural moment” photograph!

Jeff also used a long lens which brought the foreground reflection and water into focus along with the swan.  Notice how the background fades into “nothingness”, thereby not taking away from the focal point of the photograph.

An obvious personal decision of the photographer is always where to put your subject in the photograph?  We have discussed the rule of thirds in the past regarding placement of your subject as Jeff has followed.  But Jeff’s decision on whether to include the reflection or not is a personal one.

If Jeff had decided to crop the reflection out of the photo, there still would be a partial reflection – and that might appear “awkward”.  To make your own decision, hold you hand away from your face and towards Jeff’s picture on the monitor.  Now move you hand up and down to see the different compositions with the reflection, without and partial.  As I did this, it made me very aware that Jeff’s decision to include the complete reflection was the most appealing to my perspective.

Jeff saw the opportunity of the swan moving down river and used his capabilities as a photographer to position himself to capture an outstanding swan photograph with the sky reflecting on the water!

The Life History Moment

A movement that could only be captured in a burst of photographs or a movie would show that Trumpeter Swan heads are not static when they are on the water.  Jeff’s shot shows just one position of the bird he was photographing – extended.

“Trumpeter Swans frequently bob their head and necks up and down (head bobbing). With this motion they also have a variety of vocalizations. This combined activity apparently serves as a form of communication between individuals and within the group. Head bobbing and vocalization activity increase when the birds are disturbed and reaches maximum intensity just prior to the birds taking flight. This behavior may be brief or absent if the birds are suddenly startled and take flight.”

Featured Photographer for May, 2012 – Jeff Wendorff, State of Louisiana

From Jeff:  Nature Photographer, Workshop Leader, Writer

I’ve been a professional photographer for almost 10 years and my focus is on the natural world. I have a particular passion for photographing birds, but am very opportunistic and when a moment presents itself, I try to capture it. That was particularly true with this Trumpeter Swan image.

Jeff’s work has been widely published from books and magazines to cans of cat food in China. He leads photography workshops throughout the year focusing on birds and nature photography. Jeff lives in New Orleans and is finishing his first book, Photographing New Orleans, to be published this fall.

You can read about all of his antics, workshops and photography at http://www.jeffwendorff.com.

About the Photo:

From Jeff:  It was taken in Yellowstone last winter and we were there primarily for the big game in winter. On our way in to the park along the Madison, we came upon a lone swan swimming in the river. We were able to move ahead and pull off of the road and get our gear ready for the swans arrival. It was one of those magical moments, when the subject came in to range and the sunlight cast a perfect pink glow of the dawn on the swan and the Madison River.

We are pleased that Jeff was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society.

Remembering a Founding Father of The Trumpeter Swan Society, Peter Ward

May 4, 2012

Peter Ward at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station

Peter Ward was one of the founding fathers of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 1968.  He died suddenly on March 24 at the age of 92 in his home in Portagela Prairie, Manitoba.  Up until last May, Peter had been an integral part of the Delta Marsh for decades – “Delta Waterfowl’s ‘legend-in-residence.’”  The following is from Delta Waterfowl’s Web site:

“Peter first went to Delta Marsh in 1926 as the six-year-old son of gamekeeper Edward Ward. After serving as a bomber pilot and flight instructor with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II, Peter attended art school; then returned to the Delta Duck Station where he handled a variety of duties over the next 60 years. Despite having no formal training, he worked side-by-side with Albert Hochbaum, Lyle Sowls, Art Hawkins and other notable researchers on numerous ground-breaking advances in waterfowl science. Peter managed Delta’s hatchery facilities and played a key role in establishing the early breeding population and habitat surveys.”

In the late 1960s, Fred King, Chairman of the Hennepin County Park Reserve District, was keen on restoring Trumpeter Swans to Minnesota, in particular to the Park Reserve District west of Minneapolis.  Through his friendship with Ford and Charlie Bell of Minneapolis, Fred met Albert Hochbaum and Peter Ward of the Delta Waterfowl Research Station just north of Portagela Prairie.  Fred wanted Al’s and Peter’s good counsel on Trumpeters, since they had experience in raising these birds in captivity.

As Dave Weaver wrote in A History of The Trumpeter Swan Society in 2008, Fred King attributed the suggestion for a Trumpeter Swan Society to Al Hochbaum. The idea received an enthusiastic response from Fred, Peter Ward, and the other founders who had met in September 1968 to discuss the Hennepin Parks swan restoration project.

Peter Ward was always very generous with his knowledge about Trumpeters and was important in the initial efforts of Trumpeter restoration in Hennepin Parks.  When Dave Weaver spoke with him in 2008 while researching his TTSS history paper, Peter assured Dave that every Trumpeter “start up” flock had the Delta bloodline.  This was prior to using Red Rock Lakes NWR and Alaska as sources of eggs and cygnets.

With Peter hosting, the 4th Trumpeter Swan Society Conference was held in 1974 at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station, now known as Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station.  A subsequent meeting of the Society’s Board of Directors was held there a year or two later.

Peter’s obituary, written by one of his children, speaks of his love of the natural world around him, especially the marsh:  “He lived the rest of his life surrounded by the marsh, and his life’s work of paintings attest to how much he loved, understood and appreciated this life. His contributions to the world of wildlife, waterfowl, and art will not be forgotten.”

“I have no quarrel with the life I’ve led, longer and freer than most. A better person I might have been, if a roadmap for such existed.”

- An excerpt from the Memoirs of Peter Ward, unpublished.

The Trumpeter Swan Society April 2012 Photograph of the Month

April 11, 2012

Trumpeter Swan Flight Into Fall Color© by Mark Paulson

NEW FEATURE ADDED TO PHOTO-OF-THE-MONTHSEE BELOW!!!

Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:

Mark’s image of the pair of Trumpeter Swans flying in front of the fall color shows a “planned” opportunity to share two very different subjects with the intent of highlighting the swans in the foreground.

Mark focused his camera on the swans, which was the planned highlight in the photo.  Each bird is in detailed focus including the eyes, wings and feet.

When you look at the background of exceedingly bright-colored foliage, it is muted.  This soft focus on the trees allows their color to come through and highlight the swans without the distraction of other objects stealing the focus.

The composition of the birds on the left side of the photo is a slightly different interpretation of the rule of thirds.  It is usually more appealing to the viewer to have the subject in either the left or right third of the photograph as opposed to the center.  In fact Mark’s swan’s heads are dead center in the photograph, which would appear to refute the rule.  But it is body of the swans that makes the rule of thirds work.  The head and neck of both birds are such a small component of the photograph, and this creates the effect with the bird’s bodies fitting the rule of thirds!

All of the above can happen with the focal length of the lens, but Mark saw the opportunity to put himself in a position to the have swans in the foreground and those trees in the background.  And it worked with exceptional results!

The Life History Moment

Waterfowl (including swans), cormorants, cranes and some shorebirds (and there may be other long distance diurnal migrants) utilize flight technics that essentially minimize impacts to the individual and spread the physical outlay to the other(s) in the flight.  With Mark’s pair of swans we do not see them flying side-by-side or one directly in front of the other.  We see the second bird behind and to the side of the lead bird.  This helps in two ways: First they are minimizing any potential accidental contact while flying (this would certainly help in trying to escape a predator!).  And second, the lead bird is “cutting” a hole in the wall of the air they are flying through.

In other words, like automobile racing, the second car does not have to expend as much fuel as the lead car does to achieve the same speed.  Of course they are built just a bit different than those cars, and it is because of the wings that they fly behind, but off to the side.  When that lead birds tires a little, the second bird will head to the front and the lead bird than reduces the amount of energy it utilizes (aka taking a breather).

Featured Photographer for February, 2012 – Mark Paulson, State of Minnesota

From Mark:

“My current focus is on capturing perspectives of the natural world, concentrating on images of nature, wildlife and travel (the world). The experience of getting to and capturing the beauty of nature and the wildlife is a large part of my personal experience in photographing their imagery. Actually making the photograph to capture the scene, so it can be shared with others, is the other component I enjoy. I work to find the unique or different perspective when making photographs, giving the viewers a sense of the place that I experienced when making the images.”

Mark is a long time resident of the Lake Minnetonka area of Minnesota and has been taking photographs since the mid-1980s. Mark has taken several award-winning photographs and his work has been published in books and regional magazines and exhibited in local galleries. Mark has traveled extensively to numerous locations in the United States as well as many international destinations including: China, Egypt, Southern Africa, Thailand, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Fiji, Greece, Argentina, Japan, throughout Western Europe, various islands in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, etc. and has an extensive portfolio of photographs from these locales.

You can find Mark’s images at

http://www.mpaulsonphotography.com

About the Photo:

From Mark: “This image of the Trumpeter Swan pair was taken at Baker Park in Minnesota, (location of TTSS headquarters). There is a small pond in the park where Trumpeter Swans gather. I try to get images of the swans in flight, and especially during autumn, when the surrounding trees provide a colorful background to highlight the white swans. “

We are pleased that Mark was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society.


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