Tag Archives: swans

THRILLING TO SEE SWANS FLYING OVER THE TWIN LIGHTHOUSES!

Friday afternoon, after the nor’easter, the sun came out just barely before the skies again darkened with a brief snow squall. I was driving along Atlantic Road during those fleeting in between moments when way off in the distance I spied a flock of birds, with the distinct shape of swans in flight. Swans fly with their long necks extended, unlike herons and egrets, which fly with their necks curved in. What on Earth is Mr. Swan doing out in this wildly windy weather I thought. But it wasn’t Mr. Swan, it was an entire family of Swans! There were two adults and four cygnets. Stunning to see and very uplifting. They flew over the Twin Lights and then further and further until I could not see them any longer. 

The first and third swans are the adults, the second, fourth, fifth and sixth are the cygnets, or first-hatch year juveniles.The young swans will retain their grayish brown feathers until their second summer.

Please write and let me know if you saw the Mute Swan family on Friday afternoon. They were flying along the backshore at about 2:15. Or, if you live on the Northshore and know of any swan family with two adults and four youngsters, I would love to learn more about them. My email address is kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. Thank you so much for any leads!

Swans and wave crashing

A few more of the Mute Swan family flying toward and over Thacher Island

ON GOLDEN POND

Swan Niles Pond www.kimsmithdesigns.comIs it immodest to say that I like this picture? I don’t have a great deal of spare time to mat my photos and run around looking for frames, but think I’ll make the effort with this one.

I hope to see you at my talk at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck tonight.

MR. SWAN HAS A GIRLFRIEND!!

Could this be the new Mrs. Swan?

Swans Niles Pond Eastern Point Gloucester  ©Kim Smith 2016

Note the young swan’s brownish feathers and greyish-pink bill (left). This tells us that she is not quite two years of age.

Today at 9:30am while out doing errands, I stopped by Niles Pond to see if I could find my brand new glove, which was lost the morning previously. That Monday, the day after the weekend storm, the mergansers had moved overnight to Niles Pond to escape the wind and waves on the harbor and I had captured footage of Mr. Swan with the Red-breasted Mergansers. Last I saw him, he was alone and circling the pond, plaintively calling.

Just as I got to the spot where filming yesterday I looked up and flying overhead were not one, but two swans! They were flying towards Brace Cove. I hurried back to my car to get cameras, checking all the while to see if the pair would stay at Niles or continue up the coast. They circled back around Niles before landing on the far side of the pond. The large pure white male looks like Mr. Swan and his girlfriend appears to be much younger as she is comparatively smaller and still has some brownish-gray cygnet feathers.

I immediately called my friend Lyn to let her know about the swan pair swimming at her end of the pond. There was a large patch of ice that prevented the swans from coming closer to where she was calling them from shore but we did have a good long look and we both agree it could very well be Mr. Swan (Lyn calls him Poppa Swan and in Rockport he’s known as Buddy).

The pair of swans stayed, feeding on pond vegetation and moving slowly through the icy waters. Swans use their powerful breast muscles in a lifting and lurching movement to break up ice. It takes a great amount of effort to cut a path through the ice and Mr. Swan is much more adept at ice breaking than is his new girlfriend.

By a swan’s second summer (in other words two years of age) it will have lost all the characteristics of an immature. The brown feathers are gradually replaced with the white feathers. The last thing to visibly change is the color of the swan’s bill. A cygnet’s bill is blue/grey changing over the two year period to pinkish and then orange. Swans can breed as early as two years of age although most don’t begin until three years.

I can’t saw with 100 percent certainty that this is Mr. Swan because I didn’t get a close look at the distinguishing marks on his bill however, all signs point in this direction.

Swans Niles Pond Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2016

Sleeping Swans at Niles Pond

Sleeping Swans in the Harvest Moon Light ©Kim Smith 2014-1Niles Pond Swans

Sleeping Swans in the Harvest Moon Light ©Kim Smith 2014

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The Ukeladies are learning Harvest Moon–I’d forgotten about this beautiful song and the fairly recent video, released by Neil Young in 2012, is so very sweet.

Swan Lake Notes from Liv

My daughter Liv writes about ABT’s production of Swan Lake at Lincoln Center. To this day, i can’t look at a swan without thinking about her dancing around our old apartment–she virtually lived in her swan costumes!

Reblogged from Boston to Brooklyn ~

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the American Ballet Theatre’s production of Swan Lake at Lincoln Center. My obsession with Tchaikovsky’s ballet began at a very young age; as a three year old, my mother made me black swan and white swan costumes, which I wore threadbare, and my father taught me how to play the theme on the piano at the same age.

It only took me twenty five years to make it to a live performance, and it was far more sublime then I could have imagined. Leads Polina Semionova (Odile/Odette) and Marcelo Gomes (the prince) executed the choreography with consummate lyricism and passion, and of course Tchaikovsky’s music, conducted by David LaMarche, was purely transcendent.

Read Liv’s post here.

swan-lake-principlesPolina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes

Multiple Exposure Fujifilm X-E1

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure ©KIm Smith 2012

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure  ©KIm Smith 2012

To create a double exposure select the Multiple Exposure mode in the shooting menu. Take your first shot, and if acceptable, press ok. The first photo is now visible in both the viewfinder and the LCD monitor, which allows you to easily compose the finished photo. Take the second shot and press ok to exit. If you do not like the second shot, you have the option to retry.

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure©KIm Smith 2012Multiple Exposure shooting mode allows you to change focal length, degree of focus, and aperture between shots. I absolutely adore this feature and can think of a hundred thousand images. Creating double exposures is always possible post production although I prefer the ephemerality of composing in the moment.

Swans Niles Pond-1 ©KIm Smith 2012

Swans Niles Pond ©KIm Smith 2012

Over the past several months I have spent many mornings at Eastern Point trying to film the resident swans in their pre-dawn flight. My hope was to capture 20-30 seconds of swans silhouetted against the red rising sun. For the most part I have been  unsuccessful and have only managed a mere snippet or two. The swans eye me warily and then head to the far side of the pond. Yesterday morning I went to my usual observation point to experiment with the Fujifilm X-E1 multiple exposure shooting mode. Perhaps because I was so focused on my exposure experiment and wasn’t paying a lick of attention to them or perhaps because I did not have my tripod with me (I am convinced now more than ever after today that the swans think my tripod is a rifle), but for whatever reason, two decided to groom themselves within arms reach.

Fujifilm X-E1 Multiple Exposure-5 ©KIm Smith 2012

In this image you can see the typical first photo from my little experiment.