Whooper swan fights | Gulf of Finland, Lebyazhje, April 2016

Flying whooper swans
Flying whooper swans. , ƒ/10 ISO, 640, 1/1000″.

Finally, swans have arrived. And another and another new ones have been arriving.

Whooper swans flying low above the water
Whooper swans flying low above the water. , ƒ/10 ISO, 640, 1/1000″.

A week after the first spotting I made the ride to Lebyazhje once again to spend bight and meet birds early next morning. The good thing is that there are no people at the shoreline in the morning, especially on Monday. Another one advantage is cold air. Means that photographs would be sharper when taken without miracles and warm uplifting air streams which literally ruin the image.

Whooper swans fly in a flock above Gulf of Finland
Whooper swans fly in a flock above Gulf of Finland. , ƒ/10 ISO, 500, 1/500″.

At sunrise, I got out the car and was standing at the ruined pier, looking through a binocular here and there. A mammal passed by in the water, guess it was something like an otter. A number of cornorants were shitting sitting on a large boulder in two hundred meters from the shore. In this empty morning silence I finally saw some swans to the west and two groups to the east.

Whooper swans in the early morning
Whooper swans in the early morning. , ƒ/9 ISO, 500, 1/1250″.

Swans did not show too much of activity in the morning. They were waking up and stretching, and did their lazy float from bays where they had spent the night. Some of them could flap once or twice while stretching, but that was rare.

Whooper swan flapping
Whooper swan flapping. , ƒ/9 ISO, 500, 1/800″.
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Rising above the Steppe

These touching pasqueflowers, which appear in abundance above the dry grasses of Yamskaya Steppe, call for an individual approach. No doubt, you are going to photograph them counter-lighted to highlight their fur-like downiness.

Pasqueflowers with trees in the background, highlighted by setting sun in Yamskaya Steppe
Eastern pasqueflower, or prairie crocus (Pulsatilla patens), with trees in the background, highlighted by setting sun in Yamskaya Steppe. Our first Macroclass in Belogorie, 2013. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX flash unit, tripod, focusing rails. , ƒ/10 ISO, 200, 1/60″.

To make the picture more complex and more diverse than made by macro lens on its own, I have put a teleconverter coupled with an extension tube between camera and the lens. That brought more air into the frame and made the bokeh deeper. In addition to that, I have installed a macro flash, which I rarely do. However, its lights were directed not to the flowers, but to grass in the foreground, to highlight a few bright spots there, and therefore add more volume to the scene.

Flowering Phalaenopsis

Flowering Phalaenopsis sp. orchid
Flowering Phalaenopsis sp orchid. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM, tripod, Novoflex focusing rails, remote control. , ƒ/11 ISO, 200, 1″.

I love to photograph beautiful creatures. Orchids are, no doubt, one of the most mesmerising beauties one can find in nature. While I can tell something about the inspiring orchids in wild nature, or describe their inhabitation landscape, it′s hard to add something about those from the indoors. Better see and keep calm.
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