High Key winter Geese, Swans and a Black-billed Magpie

White on White - Winter's DelightWhite on White – Winter’s Delight – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This winter’s snow cover has given me many opportunities to photograph high key bird and wildlife images and while some people might not find high key photos to their tastes I find that I enjoy them because of their simplicity and how the high key background allows my eyes to focus clearly on my subject’s form and beauty.

I find this image of three Tundra Swans that I photographed along the Antelope Island causeway yesterday very appealing because it is white on white. The swan on the left must not have been feeding where the two on the right were because it doesn’t have the stained plumage that they do.

Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

This Tundra Swan stayed closer to the road than the three in the photo above so I was able to capture more detail in its plumage and in the snow that covered the frozen water of the Great Salt Lake.

Canada Geese landingCanada Geese landing – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

While I was photographing the Tundra Swans I heard the familiar call of Canada Geese flying in and as they got closer I started photographing them as they landed near the swans. I wish I would have had a little more light in both bird’s eyes but I find the poses rather dynamic and I like how I can see their shadows on the snow below them.

Black-billed Magpie on a snow-covered rockBlack-billed Magpie on a snow-covered rock – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

It is difficult to believe that Black-billed Magpies will start building or rebuilding their nest in just a few days. They take between 40 and 50 days creating or strengthening old nests and when I start to see them carrying twigs in their bills I know spring is just around the corner. Black-billed Magpies are very industrious when it comes to nests and they will build them even when snow is falling or when the bush they are building in is covered with it too.

Mia

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