This is a male trumpeter swan photographed during a snowstorm in late March. He and his mate were migrating north when they chose to wait out the storm on our pond in Tottenham, Ontario.
That morning, I was surprised to see a pair of swans mixed in with the usual collection of geese and ducks that hang out in our open water. I quickly layered up, donned my waders and headed out, hoping I could get into position without scaring away the newcomers.
I snuck up the creek to the dam under our bridge and hunkered down to get an eye-level view of the birds as they cruised around the pond, feeding and resting. The bridge protected me from the snow but the water, of course, was ice cold and my waders had a slow leak. So I’d shoot until my boots filled with water, sneak back inside to dry out, warm up, recharge camera batteries, and then sneak back out for another session. This lasted until the storm cleared in the afternoon and they flew off.
The female was tagged and we later learned that she was a three-year-old released in Stratford, Ontario and spent her summers on Wye Marsh just north of us. She’d also been spotted several times in other area lakes.
It was a great day of shooting and I knew I’d captured some memorable images but I had no idea just how lucky I’d been; the combination of snowstorm, diffused lighting, and super-telephoto lens created a unique effect that looked more painterly than photographic, giving him an angelic appearance.
trumpeter swanwinterspringsnowpond icewings
From 1. PITTS GALLERY