Posts Tagged ‘Arkansas’

The Trumpeter Swan Society October 2012 Photograph of the Month

October 5, 2012

Trumpeter Swan © Mike Martin

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

Mike’s capture of the drops of water falling from the swan’s bill is just the start of all things right in his photo.  Yes, there might be some fortunate aspect like there was no wind, but the depth of field and the clarity of the primary focal points are all about Mike’s capabilities.

The water bokeh is only enhanced with the lack of wind chop on the water.  Imagine if there had been wind: The drops of water would disappear into the background and a messy background would mute the definition of the head and neck.  Mike went out to take photographs on the perfect day and was rewarded.

The pink “lip” (not all Trumpeter Swans have the pink “lip”), the bill, the eye, the neck and those water drops are all in crisp focus.  A high f-stop helps increase the depth-of-field, and again, Mike going out on a sunny day allowed him to utilize a higher f-stop.

Mike’s composition puts the swan’s eye just to the left of center allowing for a lead in from the right.  It also allows the neck to balance and circle the center-line of the canvas pushing the viewer’s perspective to the pink “lip” and then to those incredibly detailed drops of water.

Mike took the time to go out and photograph during the appropriate weather and then used his skills to come up with the best possible photograph.  I am not sure there would be any way to improve this outstanding photograph!

Featured Photographer for October 2012 – Mike Martin, State of Arkansas

From Mike:  “I am a native Arkansan and originally from Wynne, AR but I have lived most of my adult life in Northwest Arkansas.  I am a current resident of Cave Springs, AR.

I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Criminology from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR.  After graduating from college, I served as a pilot and officer in the U.S. Navy. My present profession spans over 30 years as a Human Resources professional in manufacturing, and I currently serves as the H.R. Director for Preformed Line Products in Rogers, AR.

I have been an avid nature and wildlife photographer for over 25 years.  I particularly enjoy the challenge of capturing birds in-flight and have a passion for birds of prey.  As an avid outdoorsman most of my life, I have coupled my knowledge of the outdoors with photography to capture animals in their natural habitats.

My photos have recently been published by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department, the New York State Parks Department, Cornell University’s Ornithology Department’s award winning website, “All About Birds” and the California Parks Department of Parks and Recreation.

Last year, one of my photos was selected for publication in a book entitled, Capture Arkansas.  The photo was one of only 200 photos selected for publication from over 63,000 submissions for this book that was published in November 2010.  In September 2010, one of my photos won the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Spotlight contest “People’s Choice” award. This photo was the highest voted photo by the general public from over 10,000 submissions.  And in May of 2011, another one of my photos won the Nature division in a photo contest sponsored by the Mid American Photography Symposium held in Eureka Springs, AR.  This same photo of a great blue heron was also awarded the “Grand Champion” award.”

More of Mike’s photos can be viewed at his website.

About the Photo:

From Mike:  This image was shot at Magness Lake near Heber Springs, AR.  This small lake has become a migration wintering spot for over 200 trumpeters who make this lake their home from around November to late February each year.  I arrived at the lake in the afternoon on Christmas Day, 2011.  Afternoons are when the swans arrive back at the lake after feeding in the surrounding farm fields during the day.  I love the challenge of capturing birds in flight and these majestic trumpeters are a beautiful sight returning in formation to the lake late in the day.  I happened to catch this mature trumpeter sipping water after a long day feeding in the fields and loved the effect of the water droplet that fell from its beak.

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

Trumpeter Swan Photo-of-the-Month, MARCH 2010

March 11, 2010
Trumpeter Swan Taking Flight by Gail Miller

Featured Photographer for March, 2010 – Gail Miller, Arkansas

This month’s featured photographer, Gail Miller, lives in Conway, Arkansas. She’s had the pleasure of watching wintering Trumpeter Swan populations grow to over 100 individuals at Magness Lake this winter. Gail has two galleries on her PBase site devoted to Trumpeters and admires them as gorgeous creatures.

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

Gail’s Trumpeter Swan photo was cropped to take your focus to the narrow plain of the flight takeoff. The tack sharp water splash was placed in the left half of the photo. And although the swan was placed in the right half of the photo, her unique setting draws your eye first to the water splash and then to the swan.

Whether planned or not, Gail’s use of the reflected light off of the water to show highlights of the swan’s underwing adds a dimension to the photograph not usually seen. This underwing shimmer complements the sharply focused face and the outstretched wings to create an outstanding capture of a Trumpeter Swan taking flight!

When asked about her photography Gail shared this:
“I was always enchanted with being outdoors. Even as a child, I was outdoors as much as possible. I began taking photos in college in 1972 and launched into the digital world in 2005 when I bought a Canon EOS 40D camera. Though I had always taken photos of birds, I became more obsessed with it after the acquisition of a Canon 300mm F/2.8L and then the Canon 500mm F/4 lens. Photographing birds allows me to share with others, the beauty of the avian world as I see it though my camera lens. I do not know or a more rewarding hobby.”

You can find more great images at:

Arkansas Swans Prepare to Migrate North

February 24, 2009

Trumpeter Swans When to Depart Arkansas?

In the winter of 1990 wild Trumpeter Swans returned to Arkansas on their own after an absence from the state for over 100 years. Three mottled-gray juvenile birds spent several months on a 30-acre oxbow off the Little Red River east of Heber Springs, about 50 miles north of Little Rock in Cleburne County. The next year a banded, mated pair from Minnesota joined them and the following winter the pair returned with three cygnets. By 2005 the flock had grown to 88 birds, and this winter the flock tally was at least 125. While most of the birds are unmarked, banded birds from Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have been observed.

One of TTSS’ goals is to encourage southward migration of Trumpeter Swans under the approval of the Mississippi Flyway Council. Trumpeter Swan nesting has been successfully re-established in the Midwest, but limited fall migration has been a major concern. Success of Lake Magness swans suggested that Arkansas holds opportunities for swans to winter south of the 40th parallel.

This month, The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS), Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have again teamed up to expand the winter range of Midwest Trumpeter Swans. In January 2008, a group of 9-month old free-flying trumpeters captured in Iowa was transferred to Arkansas. Fifteen more cygnets are being released this week. We hope that young swans will imprint on the National Park Service’s Boxley Valley of the Buffalo River and at Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge, but move north in spring on their own establishing a migratory tradition – a process called reverse migration imprinting.

Depending on winter conditions, the birds may begin to move north in the next few weeks, and will likely be on the wing by early March. Please report Arkansas and surrounding state sightings of Trumpeter Swans so we can track their progress. A survey form and further detail can be found on the Trumpeter Swan Society website at

Photo contributed by Mark Wetzel.  We welcome your shared photos of Trumpeter Swans!  Just send an email or link to us through our website.

Trumpeter Swans – When to Depart Arkansas?