How to bribe swans

How to bribe swans for great photographs.

Sunday was the second day of my photography rampage in my town of Colchester.  I am building a portfolio of images for this blog and my business.  I am a novice, and photography is a new skill I am learning.  I am unsure how good the images I create are, they seem okay, but then probably for every good image there is three bad ones.  The great thing about digital cameras is you lose nothing from taking a bad image.

My present approach is to look for images that tell a story, that I can create a metaphorical meaning or symbol from.  I may focus on playing two or more images against each other, such as the angel against the sky below:

This angel statue against the sky would have been perfect but I cut the wing tip off. I will photograph this Colchester angel again.

I captured a stunning image of a type of grass superimposed against the moon in a beautiful dark-blue sky that ended up as my laptop “Desktop Background”.

The main focus of my photography campaign was swans, some of the images that have already been posted on this blog over the weekend.

On Saturday I read about what swans like to eat on the internet, and tried the environmentally friendly lettuce at cost £1.00.  No swan, no cygnet, no duck would touch the lettuce, so my bribe Saturday was a total FAIL.  I captured some good photographs of the swans on Saturday.

On Sunday I tried a new tactic, this is the purchase of fresh brown wholemeal bread, a food source that swans value.  White bread is not recommended for animals due to lack of nutrition, and moldy bread kills birds.

My first target was a lone male swan on the River Colne in Colchester,  I was able to position the swan where I wanted by throwing bread into the river.  This swan loved the bread, and I took some great close shots.

My main target was a family of swans, mother, father and five cygnets in the Colchester Park lake.  My first action was to capture their attention, and then win their trust.  I made sure parents and all cygnets had pieces of bread, that I threw directly into the water, which helps swans to digest the bread easily.  I ignored the ducks, and the swans threw a defensive ring around to prevent any ducks getting at the thrown bread.

I was able to take a load of photographs between throwing the bread.  Someone else then came along to throw bread to the swans and they abandoned me for the new bread source, so much for swan loyalty.  Whilst their new food source was keeping the swans occupied I was able to wheel off dozens of photographs.

When I regained the attention of the swans with my own bread, I had them close to eating out of my hand, which they would have done had I allowed them to do so.  Eventually the cygnets stopped eating the bread I offered as they became full-up.  The cygnets and their parents became less active and noisy the more bread they were fed, which allowed me to capture some great shots.

Mother and Cygnet

Natural photo of a swan caught in a sunbeam.

Swan up Close



15 responses to “How to bribe swans

  1. Good pics, Alex. The sunbeam shot is quite remarkable, and has a mystical quality.

  2. My photography skills are quite limited, so I am envious. Nice shots.

  3. Sunbeam shot is great. Perhaps you should have cut more of the angel wing off for reason of metaphor?

  4. The Sunbeam shot is magical. It would make a wonderful painting or a very large print.

  5. Renard Moreau

    [ Laughs ] As you have seen for yourself, the best lighting for photographs is natural sunlight.

    Hmmm. An angel in the shadows; that’s deep!

    I enjoyed the photos with the swans, Alex.

    Well done, my friend!

  6. Now watch……. as the simple act of bribing swans,becomes a prerequisite for much deeper ideas based on the same principle.

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