Six Swan Soiree

Trumpeter Swans in the morning sunlight on Robe Lake, Valdez, Alaska.

Sony a6500, SEL200600G w/1/4 TC @ 633 mm, ISO-400, f/9.0, 1/4000, hand held.

  1. I struggled with whether or not I should crop off the distant shoreline and make a panorama out of it. The shoreline added some environment, which I like and provided some depth to the scene but is it more of a distraction than a benefit?

  2. I couldn’t avoid the grasses on the bottom right because I was shooting through a break in some tall alders at the edge of the marshy part of the lake. I couldn’t move left to get a better line. The question is; are the grasses a complete spoiler or are they only a minor distraction?

I would be grateful for some opinions.

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Here is a panoramic cropped version for comparison.

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My two cents: I like the panoramic view better, it seems to fit in with the linear nature of the swans. The swan flapping its wings makes this shot for me, giving some action to otherwise resting swans without eye contact. The whites are handled nicely, particularly the flapping swan showing good detail. I’m okay with the grass, it gives the scene some context of where you were and for the most part the curve of the grass follows the curve of the wing.

Thanks for the feedback, Allen! It’s always helpful to know how others see an image. I’m leaning more to the panoramic view also now.

The second crop works better for me although it is a little tight. It could use some space on both sides. Excellent job on the exposure and reflection texture.

Very nice, Gary. I too like the panoramic version. The grasses don’t bother me a bit-they add a nice foreground element and kind of anchor the image. How do you like the 200-600?

Dennis; I’m really liking the 200-600 so far. It’s not real fast (5.6 - 6.3) but it’s quite sharp, not a whole lot heavier than the 100-400 and it has internal zooming so it doesn’t change shape or balance (which is especially nice when using a gimbal mount). Also, the price was right! The only gripe I have is that it doesn’t work in conjunction with the a6500 internal 5-axis motion compensation. You’re limited to the lens motion compensation which is good but not as good as the 100-400 which combines the camera and lens motion compensation. It’s pretty much my go-to wildlife lens now (at least when the light is decent) and I’ve been getting quite a few nice shots that I wouldn’t have gotten with the lower power lenses.

Thanks, Gary. Odd that it won’t work with the internal compensation. I noticed you has it combined with the 1.4 TC on this shot and it seemed to still be sharp. That feature I like a lot.