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Guest of White House

Guest of White House
Photo Information
Copyright: Alexei Alyokhin (Alex99) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-06-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, Minolta AF 100-400 F4.5-6.7 Zoom APO, Hoya HMC Super UV(0) 72 mm
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-01-05 21:31
Viewed: 5408
Points: 108
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Now I continue to represent creatures, which have not been shared by me on TN ever.
This is well-known everywhere swallow.

It is interesting that in my childhood these birds built their nests in the corners of the windows of our town apartments or under balconies. Now it is almost impossible to meet swallows in the town. However, there are many swallows that live around my countryside house. Nevertheless, they prefer to build nests in the uninhabited houses or attics.

Our swallows selected for their nests opened during whole season second floor rooms of neighbor uncompleted house. And they like to rest on my house (under balconies in a hot sunny days, or on wires in front of house or on window rolling jalousies (as at this shot)).

I tried to shoot them very many times in various situations. However, almost all shots are modest enough but this one I like so much.


The swallows and martins are a group of passerine birds in the family Hirundinidae which are characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Swallow is used colloquially in Europe as a synonym for the Barn Swallow.

This family comprises two subfamilies: Pseudochelidoninae (the river martins of the genus Pseudochelidon) and Hirundininae (all other swallows and martins). Within the Hirundiniae, the name "martin" tends to be used for the squarer-tailed species, and the name "swallow" for the more fork-tailed species; however, there is no scientific distinction between these two groups. The family contains around 83 species in 19 genera.

The swallows have a cosmopolitan distribution across the world and breed on all the continents except Antarctica. It is believed that this family originated in Africa as hole-nesters; Africa still has the greatest diversity of species. They also occur on a number of oceanic islands. A number of species are long-distance migrants. A few species of swallow and martin are threatened with extinction by human actvities, although other species have benefited from human changes to the environment and live in around humans…


Miss_Piggy, cloud, ellis49, maurydv, Juyona, Argus, uleko, haraprasan, horia, eng55, matatur, jaycee, siggi, nglen, peter_stoeckl, Dis. Ac., flashpoint, valy67, Noisette, CeltickRanger, JoseMiguel, gracious, fiyo, Adanac, anel, oscarromulus, marhowie, PaulH, eqshannon, angela926, smitha, saguzar, izler, hester, mlines, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cicindela: Politics?Alex99 1 01-06 11:18
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Alexei
Not only did you capture and display this beautiful swallow’s characteristics and personality, you've also captured it in fine style with brilliant focus, super sharpness and excellent details, especially the darker plumage. The colours are great and the composition spot on. You've chosen an excellent moment to capture this photo. Thanks for sharing this fine piece of photographic work.
Best regards.

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  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-01-05 23:15]

Hi Alexei
Nice capture. Well done.
Razvan Zinica

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  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2009-01-06 0:33]

Hello Alexei,
Your photo very pleasant. The look of the swallow is joyful. I've observed that in house we had many years a lot of nests of swifts and last year all they disappeared but appeared in this place swallows.
Regards, Pawel

Hi Alexei,
a great picture of the common birds, they are not easy to come close and you even got a fine action moment.
Very good use of the aperture, the DOF is exactly, the whole bird in good focus and the BG in nice bokeh.
Beautiful and natural colours,
Well done, my friend.
Best Regards.

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  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2009-01-06 1:09]

Hola Alex,
hermosa captura,
plumaje y buen foco.
atractivo pose,
saludos amigo.

Ciao Alexei,
spettacolare ritratto di rondine catturata con straordinaria definizione in una bellissima postura, i dettagli sono impressionanti (eccellente zoom), magnifici i colori e stupendo OOF BG con perfetta gestione dell'esposizione ed ottimo contrasto.

Ciao Alexei, great capture of fascinating bird in great pose, wonderful light and colors, splendid focus, fine details and superb sharpness, master piece, very well done, ciao Silvio

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-01-06 1:50]

Hello Alexei,
This must be the sharpest close portrait of a Barn Swallow that I have seen, not just on TN!
I like the pose with the nesting material and the turned head and the POV is very suitable. The lighting is ideal and the composition is great. Good eye contact too.
A superb shot my friend and thanks for delighting us with it.
Best regards,

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-06 2:01]

Hello Alexei,
I think there are less Swallows here too - modern houses are not built to suit them. I love seeing them building their nests and this one is very nicely in focus with nesting material in its beak. Excellent sharpness and beautiful colours.
Many thanks and kind regards, Ulla

Hi Alexei,
A nice capture of this beautiful swallow holding the nest building material. Very well composed with sharp details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hola Alexei, creo que es la primera vez que veo una golondrina desde tan cerca, o al menos desde tan cerca y tan bien captada :-)
Destacaría el excelente enfoque y lo bien captado que está el ojo y sobre todo la delicadeza que transmite.
Un gran trabajo con la luz, que además es casi perfecto en la parte inferior al haber más distancia hasta la fuente de luz.
Buen encuadre y equilibrio del conjunto.
Un trabajo extraordinario que demuestra tu valía como fotógrafo y ademas da prestigio a Treknature: Enhorabuena !!

Un saludo: Josep Ignasi.

That's realy fantastic, Alexei,
I've never seen such a sharp shot of a swallow - and I never captured such a bird - so you make me a little jealous ;-)
The glance of the blue feathers is amazing, also that lovely moment, excellent shot, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-01-06 4:34]

Hi Alexei and a belated Happy New Year!

First i want to wish you an exceptional 2009 in your personal and professional life. I also hope that faith will bring us together at last, who knows, maybe at that big TN meeting this year.

Anyway, this is a lovely shot of this swallow from you, my friend!
I love these birds a lot since they always remind my of my parents house, where they have a nest under the roof.
This one here is presented with exceptional details and very high care to its colors. It's always difficult to expose such a shot - with a very high natural contrast - but i think you managed very well here, sacrificing a big of the wall but retaining all the textures from its plumage.
Very good DOF, too and an overall lovely presentation.

Bravo and TFS

very beautiful capture , great colours and lovely details ,

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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-01-06 5:29]

Privet Alexei,
Very nice capture.I liked POV,clear eyes,pose of bird and composition a lot.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting.

A happy looking fellow Alexei, with some nesting material at the ready, a pity we can not see its beautiful tail structure here, but again, that eye contact is most pleasant...

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-01-06 8:54]

Hallo Alexei,
Fantastic close-up of this 'hirundo rustica'. The number of these swallows in my surroundings is declining as well.
The sharpness and details are very good. Beautiful natural colours and contrasting BG. Nice pose with the nest material, very good timing.

Hello Alexei!
Believe me or not but my name translated into Eglish would be "swallow" :)
The capture is really nice, I like pose of the bird and natural light. Also title is very good (even if I can see some politics ;>).
TFS and all the best!

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-01-06 10:49]

Hi Alexei,

I have only seen Barn Swallows three or four times and have not been able to get a decent shot. Would I love to have one like this in my gallery!!! A beautiful shot with the beak full and the wonderful eye. Excellent colors and details of the face and plumage. A perfect setting for a swallow - so often they are in the dark.


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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-01-06 10:49]

Halo Alexei
This is really beautiful portrait! Superb colours and nice POV. Wonderful sharpness and BG.Best regards Siggi

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-01-06 11:58]

Hi Alexie. This is one of the best clse ups i have seen of a Swallow. The detail a you have been able to capture is first class. You close up shows the beautiful colours to the head area. and to catch it with some nesting in its mouth. very well done TFS with interesting notes .


Dear Alexei,
a fascinating, obviously quite closely taken portrait of great vitality! There is such a pleasant freshness and easygoing spontaneity in this perfect snapshot.
With thanks, and all my best wishes to you, my dear friend!

Hi alexei,

what a very god portraitpicture of these Swallow.
Beautiful colours.
Good pov, dof and sharpness.


hello Alexei!
nice catch with this swallow ready for the construction of the nest
beautiful pose and vivid details ..
besides interesting note that accompanies the
take care sERGIO

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  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-01-06 14:56]

Hello Alexei !
I have a couple of them nesting in my barn, in the summer, but I never managed such a beautiful picture as yours. The details on the face and plumage are outstanding, the pose of the Swallow with a bit of wood in its beak, soft colors, and very nicely composed. Once again, you prove us how talented you are with a camera in your hands. Very well done !

Hello Alexei
first: thanks for your kind words at my last Picture

Amazing shot of this swallow, the shiny blue colors of his head is splendid, great sharpness and pose
very well done

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-01-06 15:39]

Hi Alex,better moment to take the pic,and what a great quality,not easy to take so perfeclty a black bird on a white background! My best compliments,have a nice day,Luciano

hello Alexei

excellent close-up photography of the Swallow
shot with fine POV and framing, beautiful luminosity,
excellent sharpness and details, i love the expression on his eye,



Hi Alexei,
Singular capture of the bird and its prey.
A clean view, plenty of good and sharp details on the head and bird's plumage.
Interesting this new series, I'll be looking for each new posting.
Great work and thanks for share.
Best regards,

Hello Alexei,
Yes, This is a very good shot and I loved it too!
the head-on pose of the Swallow under the bright sunlight really acheived the best sharpness, very nice colour and superb details on the plummage!
great job well done by my dear old friend!
wishing the best of everything in 2009!
take good care and sincere regards

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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-01-07 5:07]

Hi Alexei,
indeed very sharp and the brilliant beauty it shows. you presented it nicely with the yes shining and the feather seen in details.
Well composed though the background is strong.


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  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2009-01-07 6:28]

Hello Alexei,
Excellent capture.Timing is amazing.I liked POV,colors,lighting,BG,framing and a lot.Excellent work!

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2009-01-07 18:22]

Hello Alexei,
Well my friend this is stunning work, such beautiful colors and razor sharp details in this swallows plumage. Amazing work Alexei, thank you.

Hi Alexei
Magnifique avec une prise dans le bec, couleurs superbes.
Bravo et au revoir...JP

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-01-08 2:32]

Hello Alex,
I hope you are doing fine in these cold days. Very pleased to see that fine and vivid picture of a busy little swallow. Amazing to see the light refections on its plumage. Actually this species of birds, even if it is common, doesn't appear so often here on TN. Well composed shot and like always excellent sharpness.
Have a nice day

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  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2009-01-08 5:25]

Hi Alexei
very nice composition
very good sharp
well done.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to my "dear" friend, Alexei.
LOVELY PORTRAIT of the martin.
We have various types of these that 'return' in the spring to nest below pedestrian bridges in our parks.
This is an OUTSTANDING display of your talents as an amature photographer.
Warm regards,
Mario from VERY VERY cold Calgary, Alberta.

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2009-01-08 12:07]

Hi Alexei,
a very sharp shot of this Barn Swallow!
Excellent detail in the feathers.
Superb composition.
Gorgeous colours.

Well done,

Hi Alex

Good shot of your local swallow. I especially like the nesting material in the bill. Excellent sharpness and great composition. Good exposure againstthat white background.


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  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2009-01-08 13:48]

Hello Alexei
Nice shot with good elements, colors, details and sharpness.
Your note is very interesting.

Hi Alexei,
Fine details with great exposure & natural color.
Excellent DOF, comp, POV, and the bird is doing something..
No wasted words here, and that's a mouthful ;-)
Well done!

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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2009-01-08 20:39]

Hello Alexei,
This is a very nice shot, looks like this Swallow is about to
build!.. Great POV and sharpness.. Well done


Lovely. Sharp and fine picture with good composition! A very fine bird.
Best wishes,

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  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2009-01-09 11:45]

Hi Alexie, as always a master class in how it's done. Excellent sharp detail and perfectly composed. You also handled the exposure of the bright white very well...top work my friend.

Quite the superior and classic capture Alexei! As many as I have seen, both on TN and in person, this one looks more impressive due to the angel from which you shot. It is also as most of your images, very clear and sharp. Well appreciated!

Hello Alexei,
fantastic close up, superb sharpness, depth of field and clarity, the details in the plumage are perfect and the catchlight in the eye is wonderful.

Hello Alexei,
WOW! Excellent close up shot of the Swallow with nesting material.It's good to hear that you have plenty of them nesting in your neighbor's house. Here also I see them everyday in the field, but nevr have been able to get a close up shot. Your picture is faultless in every way. Immaculate sharpness, good details in the plumage, spot on exposure and very good use of light.
Thanks for the share,

Hi Alexei,
You´ve done a excellent an sharp portrait of this wonderful swallow. Details on feathers are just fine. Colours looks nice but I found the image with a little light "fog", maybe a bit of contrast and bright changes in PS could help.
Best regards

Olá Alexei

Ótimo registro deste pássaro carregando em seu bico algo que certamente vai ajudar na construção do seu ninho...bela foto e cores harmoniosas.

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  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2009-01-10 23:38]

merhaba my friend
wonderful portrait photo of this cute swallow
i like its pose, POV, sharpness and details

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  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2009-01-11 10:15]

Hi Alexei

It is lovely to see you back and posting your wonderfully detailed shots. I love the glossy feathers and the bright clear eye. Great pose captured with the beak full. Wonderful image



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  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2009-01-19 16:09]

Hi Alexei, Beautifully clear close up using the 400mm a good lens for birds. The bright light and the straws in the beak make this a wonderful natural photograph. TFS. Murray.

Wonderful details! Love the glint in the eye and details of the plumage particularly on the head. Great depth of field. Fantastic eye contact!

Privet Alexei,
It's great to check out your older photos, too. At that time when you posted it, TrekNature was filled with more active users, more great photographers, the site now is really in regression, unfortunately. About this image: probably a little brighter than imho the optimal, just very slight dose of gamma corection might be necessary, but the composition, and all the other technical details like for example sharpness are perfect. Beautiful details on the plumage, nice shallow DoF to isolate - and yes, the swallow species, unfortunately, become more and more rare. A pity. For the nice shot, congratulations.
Best regards, László

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