The Trumpeter Swan Society January 2011 Photograph of the Month

Trumpeter Swan Reflection Detail by Peter Sulzle

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

Peter’s attention to detail, from keeping the bird level during the capture to the post processing enhancement, only improved an already stunning photograph showing the subtle curves of the bird’s neck and the contrast between the bird and the dark background. 

 One way to bring the viewer’s eye to your goal is to create a subtle bokeh for the background or you can remove all color and contrast leaving a “blank” background.  Either technique puts the photographer’s subject in the foreground without any distractions.

As Peter stated, he underexposed the photograph which isolated the swan from everything else in the photograph.  Without any background, focus becomes an increasingly important aspect of the photograph.  Every feather is crisp in detail and allows the viewer’s eye to wander over the highlights picking out every feature.

The compact pose of the swan and the stunning reflection challenges the viewer to find discrepancies in the reflection.  You won’t find them, as Peter’s use of a tripod and super fast lens allowed him to capture the image at his discretion.  His composition of the photograph, the detailed reflection and the contrast between the swan and the background are all pieces of an outstanding photograph.  

 Featured Photographer for January, 2011 –  Peter  Sulzle, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

I am Peter Sulzle and I have been interested in photography since I got my first 35mm camera in my late teens.  In the early 90’s I met Duane Rosenkranz, a photographer whose photographs and passion for the outdoors left me with a desire to create photographs like his.

In 1995, I started getting images used in local conservation and naturalist publications such as Blue Jay, Alberta Naturalist and Alberta Game Warden.  It was a thrill to see my images in print. 

I am not professionally trained in photography, but rather have learned through trial and error and am able to share everything that has worked for me while in the field.  I am formally educated in web design, customer service and entrepreneurship.  These days I live in Kamloops, B.C. and am still learning on my own as camera gear, computers and computer software continue to evolve.   I write a monthly photography column for SPIN news magazine in Sun Peaks,

B.C.  I also contribute gear reviews when I can and continue my quest to market my photographs.  To fill my need to support local and national organizations, I offer images to Bear Aware Program, the Grassland Conservation Council and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

My Trumpeter Swan photograph featured here is an example of my original tight portraiture style that is now evolving to a style that creates images that allow a little breathing room.  I am including more habitats in my wildlife photographs and am slowly seeing myself extracting small, interesting scenes from the grand landscape when the creatures are scarce.

The image was shot two stops under my camera’s meter at f9. In Photoshop 3, I dropped the exposure one more full stop to achieve this effect. I used a Canon 50d body to take advantage of the crop factor. On the body my 500mm f4IS lens and 1.4x teleconverter were used. Everything was mounted on a tripod.  My main goal while looking through the lens was to make sure I had the bird level.

We are pleased that Peter was willing to share this outstanding shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society. To see more of his photos, please visit his stunning web page at:


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One Response to “The Trumpeter Swan Society January 2011 Photograph of the Month”

  1. Frank Says:

    Excellent work! I’ve followed Peter’s work for some time now and each new posting amazes me.

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