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Monday, April 27, 2015

wenn ein Schwan singt...

Today was one of those days that I felt really scattered and unfocused. It is one of my last days off for a very long time. I wanted to sleep in but that didn't happen. I wanted to chill in the sun with the cat. That also did not happen. She hung out but it wasn't sunny and she wasn't cordial. I wanted to hang out all in a coffee shop but I had no motivation to do so. What I did do was moon over Sir Knight for whatever insane reason. I needed out and there was company coming. After I took pop bottles back (we have bottle deposits in MI) and got myself a throw back Squirt in a twisty green bottle I decided it was picture time.

I'd left the camera in the car, needed the natural light and some air so why not make a Throw back Thursday pic outside? The second my feet hit the deck I saw the white on the lake and knew we had swans. Swans! Throwback Thursday would wait! I ran and got the camera out of the car as they were swimming into the cove. RAN down the hill to the beach and turned the camera on. Nothing. I left the batteries in the bag. So I ran back up the hill, got the batteries and prayed they would stay near. Fortunately swans are very efficient swimmers (read, lazy) and take their time so as to conserve energy.

Until this point, most of my experience with swans was on the bay at my Grandparents house. They would come to the beach where Gramma fed them. All they would do was honk til they were fed and hiss when you ran out of bread. Then they would waddle off in a huff to the next beach for a meal. I rarely saw them in the water. When I've seen them at Logan's Landing they are resting in their nests. And I almost never see one in flight. My mom had a 16 mm film of them landing on the Boardman river. But not doing much else. As they paddled closer to our end of the lake, I was mesmerized.

I started snapping shots. Unfortunately not all of them came out. I set the camera to focus and half the time forgot to depress the shutter button all the way. Of the 40 shots I thought I took there were only about 20. But they were good shots. I almost had the coveted two swans making a heart shot. But they were angled wrong for it to come out like a heart. There were two neighborhood kids throwing stuff into the water. I watched them descend the hill with sticks in their hands. I don't know what the point of that was. And I'd like to not think about the paranoid thoughts I was having. But they behaved while I was waterside and I stayed until the swans were well out of range of any projectile weapons if that had in fact been a plan. So while I didn't get the heart formation, I did get to watch a bit of mesmerizing synchronized swan diving. They were perfectly timed together for about 10 minutes.

There is a lot of swan butt flashing in synchronized swan diving. I haven't googled what it was they were diving for. I assume algae. But most likely it would be the freshly hatched minnows. Or tadpoles. I don't really want to know but I will probably look it up in about two minutes.

Just before this performance they had seemed really interested in the two girls. When they realized there was no food offered they changed tack and made a straight line for my perch on the beach. Swans have a reputation for being confrontational and snippy. Looking down the snout of a black billed swan is just a bit as terrifying as looking down the barrel of a submarine's torpedo port. Swans have an intense gaze. And in intense propulsion system! When they come barreling at you it becomes necessary to plan the escape route. Fortunately the kids were still too close for comfort and they veered to port to perform the fore mentioned dinner dance.

All in all it was a good photography day. And it was a good nature day. Once I settled into the shoot all of the weird anxious feelings went away. I thought about my Gramma and how much she would have enjoyed being that close to them. Actually, I felt that more than thought that. I didn't really think about much except planning shots based on the swans' predicted trajectory. I felt Gramma. I felt the peace that came with being around her because she accepted everyone the way they were. She never really tried to change anyone until they said that they didn't like something about themselves. I miss that kind of peace.

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