Jes Lee

Swans and water and mornings

My uncle emailed me last week, asking if I would like to go photograph swans with him one morning over the weekend.

I have known for a long time that he does this when the swans return to this creek/pond close to his house.

I have also known for a long time that he goes out pretty early in the morning to photograph them.

But I have been curious about this habit of his, and curious about if I would really enjoy taking wildlife photos or not, if I could ever get myself out of bed that early in the morning for something other than work…etc.

So, before my brain could remind me that the particular weekend he was asking about was a work-weekend, and a roller-derby-weekend, and a celebrating-various-awesome-life-things-with-friends-weekend, I replied to his email saying “yes”.

We met Sunday morning, cameras in hand, and after a 1-mile hike from where we could park, we arrived at the water, with somewhere around 35 swans, and almost as many ducks.

I dressed warm, knowing we would be sitting in the snow. These birds didn’t mind we were there, and were quite happy that my uncle brought corn with for them!

Knowing that I would want to take photos of them flying away using a camera with more speed than my film cameras, I brought my digital Sony A77 with me…but I also stuck my Hasselblad 501c/m with my 150mm lens in at the last-minute. I haven’t developed that roll of film yet, but I hope to soon. For anyone super curious, the lens I was using on my Sony was a Tamron 19-270mm lens that I borrowed from a different uncle. I don’t own a lens with that much zoom…yet. I think after this outing, I will start researching which one I would like to someday own.

Being that close to the swans and the ducks was really cool! We walked around, getting different views of them interacting, eating, and showing off to each other. We knew eventually they would all take off, flying over us…and it felt like we waited forever as the wind picked up and the temperature seemed to drop…but it was worth the wait.

Do I need practice at taking photos of birds flying away? Oh, hell yeah I do. But it was fun! And I really like some of the photos I took. And I definitely will go back again, even though it is a bit early in the morning for me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.