Trumpeter Swans, Trees. Skagit Valley, Washington. December 3, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Two trumpeter swans fly thorugh trees along the edge of the Skagit River, Washington
I was in the Seattle area over the past few day, taking care of some business, but I unexpectedly found myself with a free day on Monday – planned activities were cancelled, flight didn’t leave until Monday night. Fortunately, there is no shortage of things to see and do in that part of the Pacific Northwest, at least if you don’t mind clouds and rain – and I don’t. So I headed up to Skagit Valley, which I had visited once previously, when I spent a day photographing migratory birds there last winter.
I figured I might again see trumpeter swans and snow geese, and I was not disappointed. There were fewer geese this year – though one spectacular flock – but more trumpeter swans. Since this trip had not been primarily about photography, I did not bring the gear I would usually use for photographing these birds, and the longest lens I had was a 70-200mm zoom. This meant that I could not photograph the birds from any appreciable distance, though I was on the lookout for large flocks that might let me do this. (That didn’t quite happen.) So I had to adopt a different approach. As I watched the swans, I figured out that hardly more than a few minutes would go by before one or two or perhaps a few more would make their long, shallow take-off and then fly at a low elevation to another likely spot. So I moved into some likely spots and shot from inside the car so as to make myself a bit less visible. Eventually a few of the birds flew almost directly over the car, or at least passed near by. These two were flying along a row of trees on the bank of the Skagit River.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.