The Trumpeter Swan Society November 2011 Photograph of the Month

Trumpeter Swan 7H2 Family by David Hoffman

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

David’s image of this Trumpeter Swan family (and the cob with an easily identifiable neck collar band) brings up a challenge all photographers face, do you do post-processing and if so, how much?

This is a wonderful shot!   The pool of water holds the family together, as the pen and cob create “bookends” of protection for the cygnets.  The consistency of the green vegetated background just adds to the formation of the “family” setting.  It appears it was an overcast day as there are no hard shadows and that adds to the fine detail in bird’s feathers.

Given the shape and size of pixels (as opposed to film grain), there is one step in post processing that should be considered, and that is a slight sharpening of the focus of the photo.  It is just an intrinsic part of digital photography.  Beyond that, altering the photograph with additional processing is up to the photographer.

One individual might want to remove the grass seed stalk in front of the cygnets so there is no distraction, while another views the stalk with no inherent thought of distraction.  Still another photographer might want to remove the neck collar band to lend a more natural setting to the cob.  All of these can be achieved by using post-processing software (Adobe Photoshop or Elements, ArcSoft Photo Studio, Apple iLife etc.)

But in the end it is the photographer’s decision and for this photograph David said: “I would kind of prefer to have swan 7H2 with collar showing, mainly to encourage people to report marked swans and promote TTSS Trumpeter watch.”

And with every photo there is always the story of the photographer, and as David explains below, he had a very personal involvement with one of the adult birds.  And it is that involvement that gives it a personal touch and a story to share beyond the photograph.

Featured Photographer for October, 2011 – David Hoffman, State of Iowa

David Hoffman is a wildlife research technician with the Iowa DNR.  He has been involved with the Iowa DNR’s Trumpeter Swan Restoration Program since 1995.

David had provided this link to report any Trumpeter Swan sightings in the State of Iowa.  http://www.iowadnr.gov/Education/IowasWildlife/TrumpeterSwanReporting.aspx

About the Photo:

From David: “Trumpeter 7H2 is male hatched at Steve Nelson’s farm pond near Cherokee, IA in June 2004.  His mother died shortly after his hatch.  I cared for 7H2 and his siblings at my house for ~a week in 2004.  Del Huebner of Clinton, IA cared for him till Sept. 2004.  He spent the winter of 2004 at Laurie & Tony Severe’s Pond near Nora Springs, IA. and flew from their pond the following summer.

The female is originally out of THE LIVINGSTON RIPLEY 
WATERFOWL SANCTUARY (Litchfield CT) http://www.lrws.org/ and she was hatched in ~1984.  She nested from 1994-2003 at Von Maur Clothing Corp. office in Davenport.  She also nested at the Lemke Funeral Home pond at Clinton, IA.  She has only hatched successfully ~3 times since 1994, no more than 2-3 cygnets at one time.

This pair is the first wild nesting pair in Winneshiek County Iowa since the late 1880’s!!!  I heard the news that this pair had hatched cygnets. I stopped by to visit with the landowner (Langreck) and answer any questions about the Trumpeters and their care.  I had my camera with, and was able to snap a few quick shots.

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

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

  1. Kimberli Says:

    It is a beautiful image and a model for good parenting. The cygnets are so small it is little wonder that the parents are keeping such a good eye on them. Thanks for the awesome share!

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