Professional Photographer and TTSS Photo-of-the-Month host Greg Smith says:
So many photographers are discouraged when they find their day in the field is overcast and cloudy. And in most respects, their subjects will look better on a bright, sun-filled day. But a white bird against white snow can create a photograph with high levels of contrast between the water, the bird and the snow. Max’s photo shows that an overcast day is actually an ideal situation for deadening the contrast that would have been readily evident on a sunny day.
The composition of the photograph, with a clear area in front of the bird to fly into, takes advantage of allowing the swan to lead us into the setting of the photograph. With relatively close shots such as this, it seems to work better to have the subject mid-photograph on the vertical axis. When the subject is further afield that center placement is not nearly as critical.
The drops of water in the air and the head and wings of the swan are all in focus, creating an action-filled photograph with great depth-of-field. With the out-stretched wings and splashes both in the foreground and behind the bird (along with the taking flight run of the bird), Max has created an outstanding photograph of an adult Trumpeter Swan against the background of steel-gray water and snow!
Featured Photographer for May, 2011 – Max Waugh, Seattle, Washington
Max Waugh is a part time nature, travel and sports photographer. He enjoys traveling around the world in search of wildlife, but always takes time to visit Yellowstone every year. Max’s family recently built a cabin near the park, which will hopefully be an excuse to spend even more time there. When he’s not on the road, Max lives in the Seattle area with his wife Jenn and their hedgehog Triscuit.
More of Max’s work can be seen at http://maxwaugh.com
About the Photo:
“We encountered the swans during a snow coach tour into the interior of Yellowstone National Park in February of 2011. It was my first winter trip to the interior, and I knew that our destination of Old Faithful wouldn’t yield much in the way of wildlife. I urged our guide to make a short detour along the Madison River on the way back, in hopes of finding some swans (which I had not photographed in a few years). We lucked out, finding a family of four trumpeters, and a second pair floating further down the river. The pair passed us as I photographed from the bank, and then decided to take off in an explosion of flapping and splashing. The detour certainly paid off, and made the whole tour worthwhile.”
We are pleased that Max was willing to share this “keeper” shot in support of Trumpeter Swans and The Trumpeter Swan Society.