Photo Story – Growth of a Cygnet

My Photo Story

For my photo story I decided to document the growth of a clutch of cygnets . I decided to tell this story because the lake where the cygnets live had recently only just had Mute Swans return to it following a period where the lake had to been drained following the discovery of poisonous algae which had prevented the Swans and other wildfowl from breeding there . The lake had gone from having 20 swans when I was a small child to having no Swans a year ago . I visited the lake one day to see that a breeding pair of Mute Swans had made a nest on the lake and that they had 3 healthy cygnets with them. Unfortunately, one of the Cygnets died which left just 2 Cygnets at the lake. Gradually I returned to the lake on a weekly basis and watched these cygnets grow from tiny grey specks, to large cygnets that didn’t require their parents to forage food for them. They gradually spent more time away from their parents and became independent members of the ecosystem.

The hardest part of constructing this story was getting pictures of very young cygnets because the parents were extremely defensive and didn’t allow me to get close to the cygnets however I persevered and managed to get a few photos when their parents had floated away from the bank. As they grew they became easier to photograph because they spent less time with their parents and more time on their own preparing to join a new flock .

Documenting the growth of the cygnets has been fascinating to watch and to see them grow from tiny little babies all the way up to large fully independent juvenile Cygnets that can head off in search of their own mate .   


My main influence is the Wildlife Photographer Andy Rouse because of the way he portrays animals in a unique way showing them in their natural environment . My favourite image by him is “Bear On Top Of The World” which shows a Polar bear standing on an iceberg , the aspect that makes this image very special is that it wasn’t taken with a telephoto lens as most Wildlife images are instead it was taken with a Fisheye lens to show the curvature of the earth. .

One of my other influences is the photographer Vincent Munier – especially his photographs of Berwick Swans in Hokkaido which show the Berwick Swans nesting on a frozen lake in the snow – what makes this special is that the main focal point of the image is the bright yellow beak of the swan because the rest of the swan is camouflaged in the snow.

  Another photographer who’s work I admire is Bence Mate – particularly his series of photographs of Pelicans which show the Pelicans eating large fishes – what I find interesting about these is how close he has managed to get to these birds without being seen or heard by them .

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