Swans at Home

by Tom Easton

Now retired I was looking for a hobby and I thought rather than just family snapshots, why not try and take "good pictures".

I took this picture while on holiday in Scotland taking a little more care than just point shoot, what do you think?

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First of all, congratulations on your retirement. And secondly, what a great way to spend a bit of retirement time!

Scotland certainly is a wonderful part of the UK. The Highlands are just fab! Great for photographers. The trouble is it can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not careful. The drive along Glen Shiel takes in such stunning scenery (The Severn Sisters I think) that cars wander all over the road as the drivers gawp.

That trip is ingrained in my memory for a few reasons. Firstly of course the scenery. Then there’s the moment when the wife and I decided we would just park up and climb one of the mountains. Which was closely followed by the tearing down the mountain as we realised we were getting eaten alive by the midges!

But back to Tom’s photo. Nice enough shot, but if I were to be completely honest, it’s a bit snapshot-ish. But as always, no use just passing an opinion. What about some photography tips for improving this photo? Well, here’s a few suggestions...

First of all, the swans could be the main focal point of this photo, but then so could the hut, or even the pond. The trouble is, there are a few too many things I feel I should be looking at. It’s a bit like a tasty meal. There’s the juicy steak sitting there in the middle of the plate, surrounded by some new potatoes and some seasonal vegetables.

In Tom’s photo it’s all veg and no steak.

I’m going to say the swans are the main element of this photo. Zooming in on them would help the composition. The pond is a nice addition to the swans, so it would be good to include the reflection there too. But other than that, the rest of the photo can be cropped out without losing anything.

Moving on from the composition the light doesn’t help much here either. The day appears cloudy and the photo is a bit flat because of this. There is a time of day that photographers refer to as the golden hour. It’s early in the morning or late in the day when the light has a nice warmth to it. I feel the light in Tom’s photo lacks some of that warmth.

My final tip would be to investigate different shooting angles. Was there a spot where the photographer could have crouched down with perhaps some reeds framing the shot? A bit o foreground interest might have lifted the photo a little.

Thanks for the submission Tom, and I hope these tips are useful,

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