From Night Photography to Day: My Favorite Swan on the Lake!

Photography mirror image swan lake San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts telephoto lens zoom details

There’s nothing like a swan with enough personality to know when to leave the photo! K’lee L. ©2014

He(!) is the same swan from my post on black and white photography. He lives in the lake surrounding San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. On this particular morning I carried my new 55-300 mm Nikkor telephoto lens, but had to do some searching before I found where this guy was hanging out.

I’m always careful not to disturb any animals, birds, or other living subjects I take shots of (when it comes to people? I don’t or I ask! …just saying…) and some swans have been known to possess a ‘less than friendly demeanor’ towards humans wanting to get in close! Luckily, anger management wasn’t the case with my buddy here. I felt confident from out last session he’d again let me take some pictures, giving me a few cool swan-poses to boot.

This, wildlife photography, is where having a dedicated telephoto lens becomes almost a prerequisite! I own a ‘stock’ telephoto lens. It produces great shots, but I found time and time again I needed to be relatively close if I wanted the details of my subjects to come through. Not so with this lens. Shot after shot I found myself have zoom options to spare and from further away than I would normally be with the old lens.

This Nikkor telephoto is built primarily for day shooting. I’ll use it for night work too, but I’ll more than likely need to bring along the tripod for image stabilization. I don’t always need it with the old lens which is a good reason for keeping it on the standby. Oh, speaking of image stabilization, this lens does have the option via a slide button on its side, cool huh?

I was pleased enough with what this lens showed me with the swan photos, a few days later I took it to the zoo. Needless to say it performed like a champ! I’ll be posting some of those shots soon as well as some of the Blue Angel shots I took with the old telephoto lens. Those shots reiterated for me learning all the ins-and -outs of any lens can prolong its value in your shooting arsenal! Funny thing: during the Blue Angel shots, I stood in the thick of a crowd, but I’m pretty sure ‘continuous shooting mode’ made me one of the few taking six frames a second!


You’ll simply have more shots to chose from when you get down to choosing your best!

This photo, by the way, is approximately the twentieth or so I took of my swan friend. He again came in close, allowing me to get some great photos, but when he was done he had no problem banking to the left and gliding off for other morning adventures.

Gotta love a swan who knows when to leave the photo!

K’lee L. ©2014

13 thoughts on “From Night Photography to Day: My Favorite Swan on the Lake!

  1. How cool is that! I want to take photos as well, but don’t have the money to buy a good camera yet. Guess I’ll have to live vicariously through your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d head off to the Plaza. It’s beautiful at night. Every thing is just lit up; it’s very different in daylight the Plaza is. Things just look better at night, as if the night takes on a life of its own. I’d also take pictures of the Plaza in Winter. I’ve wanted to do that for years! Pictures of the sky, and nature, especially now that it’s Autumn…I’d just snap away.


    1. Thank you, Diana! It’s somewhat ironic that the more photography I do of animals, birds, and even insects, the more I find myself doing a deeper ‘observation’ with the camera at rest. I definitely consider their teachings the ultimate blessing. If a fraction of this comes across in my pictures, it’s an added bonus.


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