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Bedford Swan Photography

A couple of weeks ago I took another visit to Priory Country Park, in Bedford. I went looking for some more Common Terns, but when I arrived I found they’d moved off already, making their way North for the winter migration.

So I took the opportunity to concentrate on Bedford’s year-round residents – the Mute Swans.

Bedford Swan - Portrait
Bedford Swan - Portrait

I got lucky with a nice sunset, and I picked a spot facing out towards the sun, looking for backlit silhouettes and sunlit water.

I also experimented with something I’ve never tried on wildlife before; using a fill-flash to throw some light on the subject, so I wasn’t just getting silhouettes. I think this worked really well. I’d never used a flash with wildlife before because it would spook a lot of animals. But swans are very habituated to people, so I figured I’d be pretty safe on that front.

I do like silhouettes, but I decided I wanted something different this time around, and the fill-flash enabled me to get the lovely golden water surface, and some good subject detail too.

Bedford Swan at sunset
Bedford Swan at sunset

Here I got an opportunity to take a closer portrait shot…

Bedford Swan
Bedford Swan

And lastly, one more disappearing off into the evening…

Bedford Swan - Floating Away at sunset
Bedford Swan - Floating Away

Swans are a real staple in Bedford, along the river Great Ouse, and they’ve become very symbolic of the town.


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