An Irish swan from a gorgeous photo taken by Stephen Heron on Flickr. Click to see it close up. I used a 6b charcoal blended with a tortillion to make the backdrop; the swan is done primarily in graphite and the water with a combination of both graphite and charcoals. Here’s a shot from the halfway point:
Yes, another swan. Thanks to Alex Saberi on NatGeo’s Visions of Earth.
A lovely shot of swans in a lake in Annecy, France (National Geographic)
Few animals possess the tranquil, sophisticated grace embodied by the swan. Their beauty and mystique is attested by the long tradition of art, music, poetry, and folklore they have inspired in cultures all over the world.
These qualities make them a kind of totem of the winter season, in particular – their snowy white plumage and regal poise evoke the radiant stillness of a freshly fallen snow, or the remote beauty of an icy northern shoreline.
That’s why I couldn’t think of a better time of year to do a post on this remarkable animal.
Right: Nature’s ballet dancers – or perhaps a budding ice skating star? (Whooper swans photographed by Stefano Unterthiner)
A few facts about swans
There are several species of swans common throughout the temperate regions, with the most common (and largest) being the trumpeter, the whooper, and of course the famed mute swan. The whooper swan is prevalent throughout Europe and Asia, as is the mute swan, which has become naturalized in the Americas. Of the three, trumpeter swans are the only variety native to North America. They were hunted aggressively by early white settlers and only recently have their populations rebounded after bordering extinction.
They can be easily distinguished by the differences of their bills. Whooper swans have orange, knobbed bills tipped with black; trumpeter swans have straight black bills; and mute swans have black-knobbed orange bills. Mute swans also have the signature curved necks, while those of whoopers and trumpeters are straight. (continue reading…)
Courtesy of National Geographic.