Earlier this week I had the opportunity for a quick visit to LaSalle Park in Burlington Ontario. I was expecting a good number of swans, ducks and geese to be at the park and I wasn’t disappointed.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
What I wasn’t expecting at all was for there to be so many swans in flight in the area. I can’t remember having as many opportunities for these types of images in such a short time frame during any of my previous visits.
I had a couple of instances when I missed some photographs because my card was still in the process of clearing when more image opportunities presented themselves.
Some of the landings done by the various birds were quite comical as they skidded along the surface of the ice.
It is easy to forget how big the webbed feet are on these large birds until you see them coming in to land, like nature’s jumbo jets.
While most of the birds at LaSalle Park appeared to be trumpeter swans, there were a few mute swans mixed in with them.
There were so many ducks on the ice that it was a real challenge to capture unobstructed images.
You will notice that in some of the photographs you can see that the trumpeter swans are marked with leg bands and wing tags. These bird markings are done as part of scientific research to track the migratory patterns and populations of the birds. If you see a tagged swan it is important to report the sighting of the bird and your impressions on its health.
Trumpeter swans were locally extinct in Ontario due to over hunting, and have been reintroduced to the province over the past 30 years. About 200 trumpeter swans (about 25% of Ontario’s population) winter in the vicinity of the LaSalle Park Marina from November through to late March.
The birds did do some fly-overs, fortunately some of them were directly into the sun which helped with the lighting on the birds. There were a number of pairs up flying as well. It took a bit more patience to wait for the birds to be at just the right angle to be able to capture them together, and to fill the frame.
There was a mix of adult and juvenile birds at LaSalle Park, adding to the overall experience.
I spent about 90 minutes at the park and used my time to practice my hand-holding technique and challenge my Nikon 1 V3 with some AF-C runs while some of the swans were flying directly at me.
The birds at LaSalle Park are quite acclimatized to people and you can get quite close to them. When you’re up ‘close and personal’ to one of these majestic birds you realize how big they are!
I love capturing swans when they have outstretched wings in a dramatic pose. Good, angled light can add some nice contrast and detail to their feathers.
The above image is one that I captured at the end of January. I added it to provide readers with an opportunity to view a swan’s head as a 100% capture.
All of the photographs in this article were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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