Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Swan Lake

To Beak Or Not To Beak, That Is The Question

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I was in the city just before dawn today and figured I would take my camera down to the river. There was just a light breeze and I shot about thirty frames and was walking away when my attention was caught by an unusual fluttering noise. I turned and through the darkness I saw a movement on the water. It was a swan - a typical Australian black swan with a red beak. I shot two photographs and kept walking.

But for some reason, I could not take my eyes off the swan. A few second later I realised it was going to swim through the reflection of two high-rise office buildings, so I got my camera out again and shot this solitary frame. I didn't have a tripod and I didn't even stop to brace myself to take the shot. I took this literally in mid-stride.

Now, twelve hours later, I'm sitting here in my study and reviewing the day's pictures. And that's when it hits me, the realisation of just what a rare image this is. I've lived in Melbourne for twenty years and the only place I've seen black swans is in the zoo. I've never seen them on the Yarra. Never.

FOOTNOTE: I should have worn my cygnet ring.


mrsnesbitt said...

Beautiful picture and captured so spontaneously! I try to take my camera everywhere I go but sometimes moments/opportunities pass, you were so fortunate to capture this.

Have posted about my childhood friend, John Cooper!

Lin said...

Your cygnet ring ... you are in rare form today. Must have been that brisk walk along your swanny river.

Merisi said...

Congratulations, this picture really is unique, escpecially to my eyes, never having seen a black swan. I wonder what the effect of having a white swan in this same picture frame would have been.
I like your expression, "literally in mid-stride", it is a perfect definition of my mode of photographing, trying to freeze those "moments in time" that I encounter. The German language has this beautiful word, "Augenblick", for a moment of time, or timeframe, that cannot be measured subjectively.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Serindipity, eh? My morning walk sets me up for the day, I guess I am not alone in that. What a lovely surprise that must have been, I can visualise the smile plastered across your face as you shot this.

Pijush said...

This is a niec shot David. I like the shades in water. Thanks for sharing.

simon said...

Black swans are australian. they are found in most water courses.

can you imagine just how good the ballet Swan lake would look in black?? BTW dave.... A male swan is a "cob".... a female swan is a "pen"

Priyank said...

Nice spotting! Maybe his girlfriend ditched him and he came out into the city... ;)

david mcmahon said...

Hi Denise,

Loved the John Cooper post. Yes, I was very lucky to get this shot.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Lin,

Ma'am, I bow down to you. After that comment, I simply have to concede game, set and match to you!

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Thanks, Merisi,

They are spectacular looking creatures. I too wondered whether a white swan would have been easier to photograph in these low light conditions - but I think the black plumage makes it even more remarkable.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Carol,

It was a BIG smile. Even bigger when I realised the significance of the shot!

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Pijush,

Thank you. I was just lucky that it swam right between the reflections!

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Simon,

I actually know about the cob but not the pen.

Which just proves that the pen really is mightier than the sword!

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Priyank.

You're right. It was his swan song!

Keep smiling


WalksFarWoman said...

I've yet to see a black swan David but I hope like you I have my camera with me. It's lovely when you come across the unexpected.

lime said...

wow, what an exciting capture of an image then! how special

Hammer said...

fantastic shot!

Kimberly said...

Congrats on capturing such a unique moment!

karoline said...

this moment in time; this moment is mine

...in the blink of an eye...there it is to be shared with the world

way to go david!


angel said...

wonderful! i do hope you'll see more of them!