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Sunset Whooper Swans

Sunset Whooper Swans
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-02-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-02-13 10:03
Viewed: 4314
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this at the WWT site at Welney - it is about 17 miles from me by road, but about 11 as the swan flies. It is interesting, that although the wardens estimate there are/were 4,000 overwintering on the Ouse Washes this year, I only ever see them flying overhead - and that rarely.

The Ouse Washes are an area in the Fens of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, England. They cover the area between two diversion channels of the River Great Ouse: the Old Bedford River and the New Bedford River (also known as the Hundred Foot Drain). I live on the Forty Foot drain/dyke).

In 1630, King Charles I granted a drainage charter to the 4th Earl of Bedford who engaged the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden to construct the two Bedford rivers. The purpose of the new rivers was to facilitate drainage of the Great Ouse between Earith and Downham Market. The area between the rivers is 20 miles long and almost a mile wide and acts as washland, i.e. a floodplain during the winter and, increasingly, also in summer. When they are flooded this causes a 30 mile detour for local residents (Which is great when it is flooded, you phone to check thet are open, do the detour and find out that actually they are closed because the Queen is opening the new building).

The Washes are now of international importance and are designated a Special Protection Area for their wildfowl; there are nature reserves at WWT Welney and RSPB Ouse Washes. The washes are the largest area of frequently flooded (for an average of 22 days per year) grazing marsh in Britain. It is a Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), as well as the Ouse Washes SSSI - a Site of Special Scientific Interest. With the advent of global warming, the washes now experience summer flooding also, and many birds are prevented from breeding in the area.

The Washes are of international importance for Bewick's Swan and Whooper Swan. It also attracts wintering birds of prey, including Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and Short-eared Owl. Redshanks, Lapwings and Snipe breed on the Washes in spring.

There are five populations of Whooper Swan: the Iceland population breeds in Iceland and winters in Iceland, the United Kingdom and Ireland; the Northwest European population breeds in Scandinavia and north European Russia and winters in northwest and central Mainland Europe; the Black Sea and east Mediterranean population breeds in northern Europe and western Siberia and winters in the Black Sea and east Mediterranean; the Caspian and central Asia population breeds in west and central Siberia and winters in the Caspian and central Asia; and the east Asia population breeds in central and east Siberia to northeast China and winters in east Asia.

Iceland Whooper Swans breed throughout Iceland. Large flocks of non-breeders and failed breeders gather on marine and brackish waters in Iceland during late summer. Most birds leave Iceland for Britain and Ireland from mid October to mid November. Sites in northern Britain and Ireland act as major landfalls, e.g. Shetland, Orkney and, especially, Loughs Swilly and Foyle in Northern Ireland

Most Iceland Whooper Swans spend the winter in Britain and Ireland, although a small proportion, of up to 1,300 individuals, remain in Iceland and this number may be related to weather conditions and food supply in Iceland at this time. There is evidence, however, of some interchanges between the Iceland and Northwest European populations. Ring sightings of British ringed birds in Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands suggest that up to 600 birds from the Iceland population may winter in mainland Europe while a small number of Finnish ringed birds have been sighted in Britain giving rise to the suggestion that around 200 birds from the Northwest Europe population visit Britain.

vanderschelden, eqshannon, CeltickRanger, nglen, Luis52, rcrick, rousettus, JPlumb, boreocypriensis, albert, ramthakur, SunToucher, haraprasan, pablominto, hester, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Well done, James.
Both Wooper Swans are sharp and the evening sunlight is of course very attractive.
I figured out they do like that light for some reason...:-)

I find it interesting that I can tell when a shot is sunrise or sunset...there must be some different qualities to each which strikes a chord we hear or see in this case. Evening is a fine time to image these birds...almost as if listening to quiet music and sipping from a cocktail glass while looking out the window over the pond...then a quick shower and off in the Bentley to dinner at the Ritz...Classy shot!

hello James

superb atmosphere with lovely golden light
and specially on the water reflection of the left side Swan,
excellent POV, sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-02-13 11:58]

Hi James. Most interesting notes about the fens.The pair have there eyes on you. you have captured them in a warm eve light. giving the one to the left a warm glow. well done TFS.

Hello James,
I loved how you captured both Wooper Swans that looking at you!!
the golden sunlight on both of them just add a great beauty to the whole composition!
good sharpness with details too
well done

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-02-13 17:55]

Hola James.
Bella la foto. Muy buen provecho de la luz del atardecer. La pose de estos Cisnes en el agua es una belleza.
Saludos James.

Hey James,
Mate what an image just beautiful, excellent light with the setting sun, well composed and framed, really nice work all the best Cheers Rick :)

Hello James,
fantastic capture of beautiful swans at the sunset. Great composition, POV and focus. Lighting and colors very nice. good notes always, thanks for sharing, well done my friend

Hi James, very nice composition with these two looking at you, and with the reflection in the water. The colour produced by that light is awesome. Your notes, as we've come to expect are excellent. I thought the shot might use just a tad more contrast, so I've prepared a workshop to give you another option.

Thanks, John

Hello James
A wonderful capture of the pair of Whooper Swans and useful notes about the fens. Great!



  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-02-14 2:28]

Beautiful image James!
The golden light is magnificent!
You've composed it well by keeping the reflections.
Sharp and crisp.
Great POV.
Well done,

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-02-14 2:54]

Hi James,
beautitful light, that pinkish hue is a great touch. Very well done, nicely compsoed and executed shot.

Hi James
Nice composition and interesting light
Well done

The mention of the name 'Ouse' evokes fond memories of my first and last view of that river at York way back in June 1995, James. I was on a short visit to see some Elementary schools in Midlands and went to York on a weekend. I still have some pictures of the Ouse taken from a bridge near the railway station.
Coming to your picture, the sunset ambience with these lovely swans is just great. The mellow light adds a wonderful touch to the subjects looking you directly in the eye.
TFS and best regards.

Gracias por tu amable comentario James.
Los cisnes son uno de mis animales preferidos jeje. Preciosa estampa con una luz excelente.
Un abrazo desde Espaņa y hata pronto:

Josep Ignasi Tejedor.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-02-14 12:41]

Hello James,
Wonderful photo of great beauty. The light is amazing. The colours in the water are very beautiful. Fantastic pose, POV and eye-contact. Very good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-14 19:42]

Hello James

This shot has lovely warm lighting.
You have these swans attention and they are positioned well in the frame.
The focus is sharp,and the details look good,but this shot has a nice atmosphere that transcends the technical aspects.


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-02-15 13:25]

Hello James, well done my friend, that's a very good composition with a beautiful light and a great exposure. Great eye contact! THanks,


Hi James,
I like the eye contact in this photo. It shows that they were on their toes for you. The soft light gave the swans a wonderful golden en pinkish glow. Nice isolation and DOF.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-02-17 20:15]

Hi James,
Wonderful shot and the sunset lighting creates a fabulous effect. Fantastic synchronised postures presented and the rippled waters makes the image dynamic. Excellent POV and DOF and the composition is superb. Kudos.

Hi James,
A lovely capture of these two nice looking whooper swans. Excellent composition and details with very good lighting. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello James,
The lovely evening light adds beauty to these fine birds!
They pose nicely looking directly into the camera, and the tiny reflection is pleasant...
A well composed presentation with good details!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-02-18 12:24]

Hi James

Lovely light and beautiful colour tones. I love the joint eye contact.



Hello James,
very nice shot with a lovely sunset lighting,
excellent focus and beautifull composition

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-02-21 11:11]

Hi James.
What a nice colour palette of the cute pair of swans. It is so suitable for this subject and scene. Great touching art picture. My greetings and compliments.

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