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Subject: "Pas de Deux on Swan Lake" Previous topic | Next topic
Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Fri 28-Sep-12 05:18 PM
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"Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"


Vantaa, FI
          

Swans mating in August. I’ve never seen anything like this. D800E, Sigma 50-500mm @ 500mm, plus significant cropping (distance 200 m, 660 ft).































Regards, Antero

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake
Antero52 Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
1
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Priest Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
4
Reply message RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake
Antero52 Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
6
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coolmom42 Silver Member
29th Sep 2012
7
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Antero52 Silver Member
30th Sep 2012
10
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Scotty45 Silver Member
29th Sep 2012
9
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Dubes Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
2
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ctdrummer Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
3
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Antero52 Silver Member
28th Sep 2012
5
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vcottman Silver Member
29th Sep 2012
8
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qanik Silver Member
01st Oct 2012
11
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Antero52 Silver Member
01st Oct 2012
12
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DBarnes Silver Member
01st Oct 2012
13
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richardd300 Silver Member
01st Oct 2012
14
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Antero52 Silver Member
02nd Oct 2012
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Antero52 Silver Member
02nd Oct 2012
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jdroach Platinum Member
11th Oct 2012
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Cavy2 Silver Member
12th Oct 2012
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Antero52 Silver Member
12th Oct 2012
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fruitbat Gold Member
12th Oct 2012
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pdekman Gold Member
12th Oct 2012
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Antero52 Silver Member
13th Oct 2012
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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Fri 28-Sep-12 05:22 PM
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#1. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Vantaa, FI
          

Oops, I thought the max number of pictures was 10, but it's actually 9. I have to put the final "Yes! I did it!" photo in a separate post.

Regards, Antero




Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Priest Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2011Fri 28-Sep-12 10:31 PM
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#4. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 1


Bedford, US
          

AMAZING SEQUENCE -GREAT JOB AND THANKS FOR SHARING A WINDOW INTO THE BEAUTY OF NATURE. RON

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Fri 28-Sep-12 11:31 PM
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#6. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 4


Vantaa, FI
          

Patrick, Ronald

Thank you for your comments.

Another thing I might add is that the whooper swan is the national bird of Finland. I was kind of proud of our national bird, having witnessed them to perform this kind of imaginative ritual "only" for the sake of strengthening their relationship. There's no reproductive motivation for mating as late as this. Even if they could have a second set of cygnets, these couldn't grow big enough to fly before the lake freezes over and the swans have to migrate.

Regards, Antero

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 30th Nov 2011Sat 29-Sep-12 01:08 AM
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#7. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 1


McEwen, US
          

That is an amazing sequence!!! Great work!

working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Sun 30-Sep-12 04:38 AM
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#10. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 7


Vantaa, FI
          

Diane, Vaugh, Scotty

Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate them.

Best regards, Antero

  

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Scotty45 Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Mar 2010Sat 29-Sep-12 06:24 AM
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#9. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 1


Swan Reach.Vic., AU
          

Nice series Antero. Especially considering the distance to the subjects. Impressive performance also.....Scotty.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.


'Proper Preparation Prevents Pathetic Performance'.

  

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Dubes Silver Member Awarded for his high level of achievement and willingness to help others – most notably in wildlife photography. Nikonian since 16th Jun 2007Fri 28-Sep-12 06:20 PM
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#2. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Mississauga, CA
          

Nice sequence Antero, #4 is quite unusual - was the swan doing a 360* roll in the water?

Please Visit My Gallery and my website at www.richarddubiel.com
Richard

  

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ctdrummer Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Feb 2012Fri 28-Sep-12 07:37 PM
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#3. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 2


Southern CT, US
          



Great shots, thanks for posting.

I love #7

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Fri 28-Sep-12 11:21 PM
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#5. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 2


Vantaa, FI
          

Richard

Thank you for your comments. I think the swan did a 360 roll. There were several occasions in which the presumably male swan was upside down, showing his foot to his mate.

I might add that this is a pair with two cygnets nesting in a lake in our family's summer place.

Regards, Antero

  

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vcottman Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd May 2006Sat 29-Sep-12 02:15 AM
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#8. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Denver, US
          

Nice series. I like #3 best.

Thanks for sharing,


Vaughn

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qanik Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Dec 2007Mon 01-Oct-12 05:55 AM
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#11. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Smithers/Stewart, CA
          

Antero
very neat how did you get the white water lillies in to match the swans? one could definitely anthropomorphize the female swan's response , lovely, by the way what iso did you use
Michael

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Mon 01-Oct-12 05:43 PM
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#12. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 11


Vantaa, FI
          

>”very neat how did you get the white water lilies in to match the swans?”

That was sort of tricky. The swans were in different positions, with varying amounts of light from the sun, sky, water and reed leaves. Usually the shadow parts of the swans were significantly bluer than the sunlit parts. For that, I loaded Lightroom’s adjustment brush with more exposure, less saturation, more clarity, and in some cases more yellow (to balance the excess blue in the shades). Sometimes the added yellow required added magenta.

> “one could definitely anthropomorphize the female swan's response”

That’s probably the most elegant statement anyone has said about me or my work :) I understand the words but let me make sure I understand the meaning. Are you responding to me wondering why mate this late in the year because the possibly resulting swans could not fly before the winter? And you were saying, why do humans do it?

> “lovely, by the way what iso did you use…”

The shutter speed and aperture were manually set to 1/800s and f/10. 1/800 is usually fast enough for big birds like swans. I could not use a tripod since I was sitting on a pontoon swimming pier, supporting the camera against my knees. I chose f/10 because it is close to the optimum aperture and the two swans were not always at the same distance. The ISO was set to Auto 5000, but the actual ISO varied between 500 and 1000. Exposure compensation was -0.7 (I have a bad habit of blowing out swans, but fortunately not this time.)

Regards, Antero

  

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DBarnes Silver Member Nikonian since 25th Oct 2008Mon 01-Oct-12 06:34 PM
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#13. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

Absolutely fabulous shots. And you're just the person I need to talk to about contrast and metering... either spot or matrix. I think you've overcome the problem I'm having. (I posted a question earlier this morning after a disappointing morning shooting an Egret)
You've made the swans white, but plenty of detail in the different shades of white. How?
1. Is it the original metering? (I checked the exif data and couldn't tell why type you'd used.)
2. This appears to be shot with a mid morning type sun. How do you keep the whites from blowing out?
3. Your focus is superb. Any hints about "how to"?
And again, congrats on such wonderful photos. You've harnessed the D800 quite nicely!
Dave

http://fullframedreams.smugmug.com/

  

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richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009Mon 01-Oct-12 09:28 PM
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#14. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 13


Dyserth, GB
          

Superb and how I love my Sigma 50-500mm too.

Richard

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Tue 02-Oct-12 12:22 PM
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#16. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 14
Tue 02-Oct-12 12:22 PM by Antero52

Vantaa, FI
          

Thank, you Richard.

Best regards, Antero

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Tue 02-Oct-12 12:16 PM
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#15. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 13


Vantaa, FI
          

Dave,

Thank you very much for your kind comments. I’m glad you asked about the technique. I like discussing it.

But don’t confuse me with the masters on this forum who can take perfectly exposed photos every time they need to. I rely on post-processing and try to ensure that I have something to process.

Center-weighted measuring might have produced closer to optimum exposures but I didn’t have time to think about that. In this case it was necessary to ensure that the white feathers are not blown out. I knew that matrix metering and -0.7EV exposure compensation usually ensure that the feathers have detail, assuming that there’s enough white in the scene for the matrix metering to detect it (and not dismiss the white areas as specular highlights). I’ve set my camera to focus activation when I press the AF-ON button. But trying to use one button for focusing, another for exposure lock and a third for the shutter is too much for me. This is why I rely on matrix metering and -0.7EV exposure compensation.

As to post-processing, take these three versions of #7 in the original post (third one from the bottom). The first picture here is with all Lightroom settings at there default value. The sunlit feathers appear blown out, and if you look at the feathers on the male’s underside, they are not too different in color from the color of the lake, from which the underside is lit.



The next version is about the best I could come up with Lightroom. Cropped, straightened, global and local adjustments. The biggest local adjustment concerns the male’s underside. After boosting up the shadows, the belly was unnaturally blue. Obviously, because it was lit by the sky, via the lake’s surface. Often when I adjust shadows, I change the color balance of LR’s adjustment brush to more yellow (to take out the excess blue). Sometimes it’s necessary to add magenta to get rid of the excess yellow. But in this case it was simpler than that because the swans are white, and all there was to do was to set the saturation to zero in the local adjustment brush.



I wasn’t quite happy with this result. The feathers were still lacking in detail. I tried using multiple passes of adjustment brush, each set to maximum contrast and clarity, but with such ultra-strong adjustments the brush strokes tend to be visible. This is why I sent the LR-adjusted version to Photomatix Pro 4.x for processing as a single-shot HDR. The Photomatix version had lots of detail but the color scene was very different from the other pictures in the series. Normally, when I get funny colors from Photomatix, I load the original and the Photomatix-ed version to Photoshop as layers and use layer blend modes to get the color from the original image. But in this case I wanted to try something different. I edited the Photomatix-ed version in Photoshop and used Adjustments - Match Color to copy the color scene from another picture in the series (I don’t remember which one, nor does it matter). In the Match Color dialog, I set the “Source” to another picture which had colors that I liked, and fine-tuned the sliders. Back in LR, I sharpened the picture and added some post-crop vignetting.



As to your guess that these are mid-morning shots, guess again :) You may not have realized that in Finland the sun will never rise very high. In southern Finland, at latitude 60N, the sun does not rise higher than 30+23=53 degrees even at noon in mid-summer, and these pictures were shot in August. The EXIF data puts the time of shot at 13:38 (1:38 PM) but at my longitude the sun’s high point occurs at 25 minutes past noon, or 1:25 when daylight saving time is in effect. Hence the first image (at 1:38 PM) was shot 13 minutes past the sun’s high point, and the last picture 13 minutes later.

Regards, Antero

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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jdroach Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Nikonian since 21st Mar 2009Thu 11-Oct-12 11:25 PM
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#17. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Milwaukee, US
          

Wonderful series, Antero!

jdroach, a Milwaukee area and sometimes Chicago area Nikonian.





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Cavy2 Silver Member Awarded for her continuing willingness to keep on learning and to share her knowledge with others in the Nikonians spirit Nikonian since 02nd Aug 2006Fri 12-Oct-12 12:25 AM
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#18. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 17


Newtown, US
          

I enjoyed your series Antero!



http://kathycavallaro.smugmug.com/

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Fri 12-Oct-12 02:10 PM
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#20. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 17


Vantaa, FI
          

John, Kathy, Adam

Thank your for looking and commenting.

I was kind of hoping some ornithologist could tell if this kind of ritual is common in August, and particularly for a couple that already has a pair of adolescents (now able to fly).

Regards, Antero

  

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fruitbat Gold Member Nikonian since 04th May 2007Fri 12-Oct-12 01:24 PM
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#19. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Feltham, GB
          

Wonderful series Antero. Thanks for sharing.
Adam

  

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pdekman Gold Member Winner in The Nikonians 10th Anniversary Photo Contest Awarded as a regular contributor who offers in-depth knowledge to members who are interested in building efficient work flows. Nikonian since 17th Nov 2005Fri 12-Oct-12 09:23 PM
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#21. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 0


Swisher, US
          

Great captures Antero!

Paul
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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Sat 13-Oct-12 05:22 PM
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#22. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 21


Vantaa, FI
          

Thank you Paul.

My wife and I just returned from our family's summer place. The place felt so empty with the swans gone. We saw them fly last weekend (including the juveniles), and this weekend they were gone, or at least we couldn't find them anymore. We hope to see them again next spring.

Regards, Antero

  

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richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009Sat 13-Oct-12 05:47 PM
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#23. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 22


Dyserth, GB
          

Antero.

It is common belief that Swans stay together for life, this is not always true. Many reasons exist and the male and the female birds, the cob and pen, usually attempt to mate for life, although it is not true to say that if one of the birds were to die the other would necessarily pine away. It is possible for an adult bird to find an alternative mate.

It is possible that the father of the juveniles, the Cob, died. Swans are extremely territorial and will fight to the death to defend their nest and the female Pen. What you saw may have been part of the courtship with the new kid on the block! It is also possible that they may stay together for life.

Evidently and I didn't know this until recently, Black Swans, unlike Mute, Whopper, Berwick etc are notoriously disloyal and may have a trio of partners.

I'm no great expert in the torrid life of Swans, but I have read a fair bit and this may be a possible reason for the late courtship. If you didn't observe them rubbing each others necks and other usual pre sexual activities, then it could have just been the Cob and Pen sealing a new relationship.

Richard

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The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Einstein

  

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Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009Sun 14-Oct-12 04:42 PM
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#24. "RE: Pas de Deux on Swan Lake"
In response to Reply # 23


Vantaa, FI
          

Richard,

Thank you very much, this was very interesting. What you said, might help explain this kind of behavior that we've seen later this summer but not during previous summers.



You see, one of the adults is parading the juveniles very close to us, while the other one remains timidly in the background. Formerly the entire family has kept together.

Regards, Antero

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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