In spring, everyone begins watching for Tundra Swans on Chignik River and Chignik Lake. Their arrival is a sure harbinger of winter’s end. This was the scene on March 14, 2017. It had been a particularly cold winter. Ice still covered most of the lake and even the river was banked in snow and edged in ice. About a dozen swans gathered on the river at a shallow place about a mile below the lake. The location has a good bit of aquatic weeds. Along with the swans, there were Mallards, Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, Ring-necked Ducks, Pintails and Greater Scaup.
Tundra Swans are hunted in Alaska. These swans were difficult to approach; the Mallards they were with were even more wary. The other challenge in making a photograph such as this is that by the time the sun was high enough above the surrounding mountains to provide sufficient light, it shone fairly harsh. Against the dark water, the white of the swans’ plumage was easily blown out. Although the D5 I used to take this photo is a very good camera, I hope I will get another opportunity with my D850. Even though I used a 2.0 teleconverter to achieve a focal length of 1200mm, the above image is cropped quite a bit. The capacity to crop in on wildlife images is one of the chief advantages of the D850, which has more than twice as many megapixels as the D5.
See all 29 photos at: Chignik Seasons: The Lake in 29 Photos