Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient

One of the things that I enjoy about photography is that it is a way to document change:

ISO 250 200mm 1/320 f/11

This photo was a few months in the making. It began when I noticed that the swans on this lake had built a nest and that it was being sat on no matter the time of day.  Then the cygnets appeared.  The adults kept them at a distance though, as you can see from this photo that I took in May:

ISO 1000 200mm 1/200sec f/16

Now that the cygnets are bigger, they are allowed to the closer side of the lake, still closely supervised, you can see the adult has its eye on me:

#swan family in the #goldenhour #nature #photography

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

The family seems to enjoy the last few moments of sun on the lake in the evening. They are active then and are very tolerant of my presence, which is how I got this photo:

ISO 250 200mm 1/320 f/11

It’s not a perfect shot, but I thought it had potential.  The subject is interesting, that moment where the adult stretched its wings seemed like a good place to start in terms of the narrative of the image.  The first edited version ended up being this one:

ISO 250 200mm 1/320 f/11

I used Photoshop for my edits.  The first thing I did was remove the ducks.  I used the healing brush tool to do that.  I’ve cropped the photo, and sharpened it. When I had saved that version back to Lightroom, I bumped the temperature slider up just a bit to accentuate the warm glow of the sunset light. I like the photo but I was interested in creating the photo you see at the top of this post. I thought the triptych, breaking the photo into segments, would tell the story in a different way.

The photos in this post were taken between May 23 and June 20, and show just how transient a cygnets life is, they change every day. Photography bears witness to these changes. Photography can also manipulate as well, as shown by my decision to remove the ducks from the photo. A human form of transience, a recreation of the landscape. My final version is an obvious retelling of the scene. What do you think of the edits? Do you prefer a photo that is a faithful recording or are you okay with manipulation?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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29 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient

  1. I really like that top down from the waters edge shot that you posted to Instagram. Good colour, vibrance and detail. Most of all, it shows good animal behaviour which I think is important in wildlife work.

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  2. Manipulation, in order to enhance the natural beauty, is acceptable and even desirable in some instances, as long as the emphasis is on “natural”. I just don’t like the way some photographers photoshop an image to such an extent that it looks like an alien invasion of planet earth 😀 I like the way you brought out the colors and the focus; great job. I love the Instagram photo.

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  5. We had cygnets in the canal in front of my flat.. but stupid people unleashed dogs on them for fun and they died. I hate people sometime. I feel happy seeing your pictures, also a little sad. I would have love for them to survive and grow as big as the one in your lovely picture

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    • That is horrible! Sometimes I just don’t get people. I’m hopeful that these will make it. There are a lot of dogs in the area but the parents seem to be doing a good job of keeping them on the other side of the lake at times when there are more dogs likely to be out.

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  6. Such a lovely post … Your photographs were a story to vire. Thank you for introducing me to the new word ‘Cignet’. I didn’t know that one. It’s always a pleasure to visit
    blog and see wonderfully creative photographs. Nicely entries or the challenge.
    Isadora 😎

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