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.