Bill Foy  

Swan Pond by Bill Foy

November 2020 - Swan Pond

About the Image(s)

This image was made at the Swan Pond of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA in early October of this year. I was walking near the pond when I spotted these people and the swans. I know they saw me, but I never looked at anything but the swans until my eye went to the viewfinder. All adjustments were made in Adobe Camera Raw - horizontal flip of the image, crop, blacks, white, highlights, shadows, contrast and an adjustment layer to darken the ground by the fence and in the background. Nikon D500, Nikkor 18-70mm lens @ 70mm, f/8, 1/30, ISO-100, +2.3 exposure adjustment.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
11 comments posted

Beverly Caine   Beverly Caine
Nice image Bill. Their curiosity about the birds is obviously the subject of the image and it leaves one wondering what is so attractive that they are so wrapped up in about a couple of birds. Well done.   Posted: 11/11/2020 12:57:25
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Bev. I don't know what their thinking was, but it was obvious to me that the guy wouldn't have been there with the woman.   Posted: 11/17/2020 19:52:41

Ed Tepper   Ed Tepper
I see the story and I like it. Exposure and focus look fine to me.

I'm not sure about the composition because both the people and the swans are at the opposite ends of the frame with a big empty middle.   Posted: 11/14/2020 22:23:07
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Ed. What I can tell you about the composition is that these people where the only ones near the Swan Pond and followed the swans wherever they went in the pong. The couple were two of not very many in the entire arboretum.   Posted: 11/17/2020 19:55:50

Karen Johnson-Nieuwendijk   Karen Johnson-Nieuwendijk
Nice Image Bill. I too have been in the situation watching swans in a pond. I do agree with Ed's comment tho about the empty middle. Perhaps if you had been able to move a bit more to your right without attracting their attention, it would have been a better vantage point.   Posted: 11/15/2020 10:26:49
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Karen. You may have missed my mention of flipping the image horizontally, so I'd have had to move left, which would have made for more open space, not less. My other thought about your, and Ed's, comment about the open space is that the arboretum is a large space with a lot of wide open areas, as well as, tightly compacted ones. I looked for a picture online that would show the Swan Pond in it's entirety, but was unable to find one.   Posted: 11/17/2020 19:59:55

J. Lanning Smith   J. Lanning Smith
Hi Bill, I think you might have had a possibly stronger shot with this scene. From that perspective, I agree with Karen's suggestion about stepping some to the right and perhaps getting the shot more directly in front of the people. But the other thing that you might think about from that perspective would be to turn your camera sidewise and take it as a portrait shot. I think that might cause me to feel more of an emotional connection with the subjects.   Posted: 11/17/2020 15:03:56
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Jim. Take a look at my replies to Ed and Karen. Until you just mentioned it, I never thought about a portrait image. The only thing that might have a prevented that, looking at this image, would be the distance between the couple and the swans. If I ever get into that scene again I'll be sure to shoot both landscape and portrait.   Posted: 11/17/2020 20:03:53

Victor Dallons   Victor Dallons
To me, the essence of this image is the couple watching swans. Each of the couple is wearing same type mask, light blue shirts, and darker sweatshirts removed and draped in a similar fashion around their necks. I like their gestures of interest and observation; watching what the swans may do.

I agree with the others that there is a lot of empty space that does not contribute to the overall image. For me, the question is how to get down to the essence of the image, eliminating what is not needed. I don't think that the larger setting tells you where this is. And therefore is not important to the image; a lot less of it would still show me that it was outdoors somewhere.

I'm thinking a crop that eliminates one of the swans, keeping one so we know what the couple is looking at. I don't perceive much interplay between the swans and the couple, so it does not hurt to loose one although I wish it was the other one; it is the more interesting of the two for me. I would put as much space as possible on the right so that it does not feel too tight. Another more radical alternative would be to crops out the swans entirely; making the image more mysterious; what is it the couple is looking at? The bright spot to the left of the tree can go. I wish there was a little more space above the couple's head. These are just ideas, hope they help.   Posted: 11/18/2020 11:52:41
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Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Thanks, Victor.
  Posted: 11/30/2020 13:03:42

Beverly Caine   Beverly Caine
What I did a was duplicate the one swan and moved him over o the left side to make the image more compact and then cropped off the right side which became extraneous. Personally, I like the original better because its a more true to life version of how I often see people in a zoo   Posted: 11/30/2020 17:34:30
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