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"Mmmy bbbbbilllll is frrrreeeezzzing!"

Photo Information
Copyright: Pieter van der Horst (sAner) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-03-05
Categories: Birds
Camera: Fuji Finepix S602Zoom, Fujinon 6x zoom
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Swans, Birds and Animals in the Snow [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-03-18 14:05
Viewed: 4136
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This picture was taken very near to the "Streekbos" in Enkhuizen. About 35 years ago this area was farmland but the city of Enkhuizen (yes, Enkhuizen received cityrights in the year 1356) and some smaller villages in the area planted a forest and dug some lakes. Many birds gather here. It's very nice to have such an area in the neighourhood. When I took this picture there was still a lot of snow and ice. This Swan was kind enough to let me take his picture. I came so close I heard her/him hiss at the camera at some point. (S)He didn't mean harm though.
Please give me your sincere thoughts on this picture. I am here to learn something and I can really handle constructive criticism. I really can!

General info:

Mute swans can be found in most of Europe, parts of Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Siberia and China. They have also been introduced into many parts of the world, like North America and New Zealand.
The Mute swan is one of the largest birds still capable of flight, reaching a length of 140-160 cm (including tail and neck), a wing span of 200-240 cm and a weight of 8-12 kg. The young usually have a dull grey-brown colour at birth and a dark grey bill, but later they become completely white, and their bill becomes orange with a black knob. A rare variety of Mute swans exists that is born white. Although Mute swans are usually silent, they can hiss and make growling or barking sounds.
Mute swans live in habitats with slow-flowing water and a rich vegetation, like shallow lakes, coastal bays, marshes and town ponds. They feed on aquatic plants which they gather by plunging their long neck below the surface and pulling at them. Sometimes they eat grass, herbs, insects or small fish. For swans living in the city, bread often makes up a large part of the diet.
A pair of breeding swans will defend a large territory. Non-breeding animals will often congregate in large groups. In winter, the swans also tend to form groups. Mute swans usually migrate in winter, but in some places, like the west and centre of Europe, they do not.
Mute swans are monogamous, their pair-bond lasts for life. The males establish a territory in spring and vigorously defend it against intruders. In it the pair makes a large nest out of reeds, sticks, roots and aquatic plants, lined with down. In April or May the female lays 4-7 greenish-grey eggs. They are incubated mainly by the female, during 34-38 days. The chicks are born with feathers and with their eyes open, and start following their parents after only a day. The parents will sometimes 'give them a ride' on their backs or under their wings. The young are able to fly at 100-120 days of age, but they will stay with their parents until winter. During the entire breeding period, the adult swans are very aggressive and may attack even humans or dogs who come to close to the nest or the young.
The average life span of a wild Mute swan is 18 years, but captive animals may reach an age of 30-40 years.

Runnerduck, carper, cafecrem, marhowie, cantorboi, Alan_Kolnik, Kirsten, scottevers7, mogens-j, pompey, dew77, Signal-Womb, sergegagne, Luc, Janice, liquidsunshine, gerhardt has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To flagman: Heya Andy!sAner 1 03-24 13:52
To liquidsunshine: :) Throwing Snowballs!sAner 1 03-21 14:23
To Runnerduck: Thanks for your advise!sAner 2 03-20 13:44
To Alan_Kolnik: Thanks for the WS!sAner 2 03-18 17:19
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2005-03-18 14:35]

Prachtige kop Pieter,
En het contrast in de foto is heel mooi, goede compositie, uitstekend snapshot. Goed werk. Gr. Jaap

This is a really beautiful shot.
If I could offer any constructive criticism (which you've asked for)it would be that the eye isn't very sharp, which is advice I have been given myself on TN. Other than that, it's a fantastic shot, great pose, great comp and thanks for sharing!

Halo Pieter!
Do you think your swan was so hungry that it must eat snow????????
Why didn't you give him something? It's terrible :-)

Pieter, It's a great profile with a catchy title..Like the snow on the beak also..Comprehensive notes.. It's a great shot, Thanx!

Very good macro. I used to have that camera, so I know how close you had to get! Good work. Thanks for the very detailed and useful note.


Nice shot, certainly looks cold. I think you could raise the contrast a little - the problem you are probably facing is not creating a total white patch in the snowy areas of your picture, but you could handle that with layers, and increase the contrast in the swan only. I took a quick shot at it in a workshop.

good compo, and good contrast allthough its all tones of white.details are excelent, especialy the snow on it's beak.well done!

  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-03-18 17:05]

Vivement le printemps, autrement tous les oiseaux vont congeler
Amicalement Toni

A very good portrait of this Mute Swan. No complaints from me, I think it is excellent..

Very good portrait Pieter. So many details in the plumage and very clever handling of the light. Excellent sharpness and very good composition. He is really showing his best - I am quite sure it is a male because of the size of the knop over his beak.

  • Great 
  • pompey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 4 N: 746] (2774)
  • [2005-03-18 18:18]

Great shot Pieter, wonderful exposure control and sharpness.
A lovely picture with great note.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-03-19 4:32]

Funny Title!Good DOF,sharp details...you've done very well.TFS

Yes Pieter that is a great shot for sure showing nice details and accurate exposure. Focal Length 2860mm not sure what this means on your Fuji but it got you in close. My post on the head-shot was obtained by holding a piece of bread in front of the bill. It seemed transfixed on the food...very well done, great note.

Pieter, I like your posting very much for the following reasons: great sharpness and details of the bird; softness of the colors; very informative note. Thanks very much!

Very good portrait, you should OE a bit for snow shots.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2005-03-19 13:39]

;-) good title. It is the first thin we see after the thombnail in the gallery.
I have horizontally flipped your picture and I thing the visual impact is greater when the swan looks to the left.
The most important thing on a living subject is the eye. If the eye is ok, the rest will follow.
If you could have used a flash, we would have seen a spark in the eye of the swan.
It is pleasant to be able to approach our subjects, is not it? Personally, I have to pay attention when I photograph a vixen, a lynx or a wolf.
Once I was bitten by a domestic goose. It was not funny for me but the others laughed...
Thanks Pieter.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-03-20 4:09]

Poor Mute Swan, he does look freezing.Pieter you've got a good one here. His feathers are so clear. I love his red beak with the snow on it. It's a stunning portrait. Well done.
Hey Pieter, I'm pleased I'm here and not there in all that snow! J

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-03-20 14:52]

Pieter, perfect sharpness to show us this beautiful bird. Nice colors and composition too.

Nice capture Pieter,
very sharp details, nice exposure and great notes and title.
Why throw snowballs at a poor defensless swan though?!?!?
Thanks for posting

Nice close-up Pieter, although it's slightly too cyan. I've posted a workshop for you.

Very sharp details, Pieter. The exposure is a tad low key but it adds to the cold setting nicely. Excellent portrait well done.

Did you use the flash?

I can't see anything wrong with this shot. It's a great macro with good details on the swan. Love the snow on the beak.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-03-29 13:39]

The Childern of Lil lived for 900 years as swans, after they were changed into swans by their stepmother!
Pieter, pragtige swaan.
2 comments, in one 0 no detail in the bkacks and nohighlight in the eye Fill flash will cure the second, the first, no idea. You can take two pictures, one exposed for the black, one for the white, then merge them in layers in PS, but to get both black & white correctly exposed in the same frame is nigh unto impossible.

Hello Pieter, i like this photo very much, i like the colours and great sharpness so your composition is excellent,

You did a nice capture,



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