Archive for September, 2010

The Trumpeter Swan Society Photo-of-the-Month – September 2010

September 20, 2010

Trumpeter Swans in the Mist, by Bernd Ruttkowski

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

Bernd’s photo of the three swans taking flight from a mist-covered river takes advantage of conditions not commonly found in the wild.  The crisp focus on the birds is in stark contrast to the diffused focus of everything else in the photo, thereby making the birds pop.

Bernd’s use of backlighting enhanced the illumination and detail of the swan’s flight feathers while silhouetting  the head and neck.  An otherwise all white bird now shows detail in sunlit feathers as well as shadowed feathers.

A photograph with three subjects always seems to have a sense of balance that can’t be found with other combinations of individuals.  Although the focal point of the photo are the two swans in the foreground, the third swan in the background softly balances the entire photograph.  And as it should be, the birds are on the left moving to the right and out of the picture.

The crisp focus, perfect exposure and composition combined with the river mist make this an outstanding photograph from a technical and an artistic perspective.

The three Trumpeter Swans were photographed at Monticello, Minnesota where the outside temperature was around -15C (5 F).   The cold temperature is important, as this location is adjacent to a nuclear power plant that discharges cooling water (which is warmer than the ambient water temperature) into the Mississippi River.  With the water temperature being warmer than the air, a light fog or mist  is created which on bright, sunlight days created the effect of swans in the mist.

Featured Photographer for September, 2010 –  Bernd Ruttkowski, Spring Park, Minnesota

I live and work in Minnesota and developed my passion for photography in the early 80’s with a Canon A1. Mainly photographing in black & white, I captured nature and urban themes, developing the photos in my own dark room. Now with the switch-over to digital printers and Photoshop having replaced the darkroom, my portfolio now ranges from nature and urban via people and portraits to stills and architecture.

We are pleased that Bernd was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society. Find more his images on his website at


Five-Year Trumpeter Swan Survey: 2010 North American Trumpeter Swan Survey is Underway

September 4, 2010
Trumpeter Swan Beak Detail, by John VanOrman

Trumpeter Swan by John VanOrman

Every 5 years, abundance and productivity of Trumpeter Swans are assessed by means of a rangewide survey. This survey is the official population status assessment used to guide the management of Trumpeters in Canada and the United States. The effort is coordinated and compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but its success is dependent on the cooperation of numerous partners in both nations. This summer, the current survey appeared to be in jeopardy because of funding issues within the Canadian Wildlife Service.  At the 11th hour, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stepped in with biologist/pilots and aircraft to salvage much of the survey effort in Canada.  The initial survey in 1968 tallied 3,722 Trumpeters. The next survey was done in 1974-75 and it has been completed every 5th year since. Increased numbers of Trumpeters have been recorded each time – in 2005, almost 35,000 were counted. In addition to total swans, family groups are noted and the proportion of adult birds to young is assessed. From 1968 to 1975, the number of wild Trumpeters in North America increased at an average rate of 6 percent. Assessments are also reported by population and, in some cases, smaller sub-groups. During the 2000 to 2005 period, only the U.S. parts of the Rocky Mountain Population declined. Because of that, TTSS continues to focus efforts on swan conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Area and adjacent areas. Given the preliminary reports we have been receiving, we won’t be surprised if the 2010 survey records another record number.  An official report won’t be available until sometime in 2011.   –  John Cornely