Two Trumpeter Swans in Flight. Skagit Valley, Washington. December 3, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A pair of trumpeter swans in flight above Skagit Valley farmland on a cloudy and rainy day, Washington
I had about four or five hours in the Skagit Valley area of Washington in the beginning of December, after the tasks I had gone to Washington for were completed early. I drove up from the Seattle area in the rain, and it was still cloudy, windy, and rainy when I arrived – just what one might expect in December in the Pacific Northwest! The last time I had been there, a year ago, I had encountered amazing flocks of snow geese in a field near the road not far from where it rises to cross the river, and my first thought was that I’d see if this was a regular event or if I had just been lucky the previous year. I must have been lucky! This time there was not a goose to be seen, at least at first, at this location.
Given this development, I decided to poke around on some back roads in the area and see if I could get close enough to trumpeter swans to photograph them with my meager little 200mm focal length lens – about half the length of what I would usually use for this sort of subject. By moving carefully, using my car as a blind, and sitting quietly and waiting, I was able to get a few close shots of the swans in a field. I soon figured out that they would occasionally lift off and fly to another nearby field where there were other swans, so I positioned myself (in the car) between the two flocks and settled in to see what would happen. Sure enough, before long groups of two or more swans started to fly my direction and pass close to the car, usually rising a bit as they passed over. This pair made a bit of a turn around me, so I photographed them against the cloud-filled sky.
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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