A whiter shade of pale

On a bright winter morning two swans catch my attention. They swim lazily in a temporary marsh, created by the copious rains of the previous days. I approach them from the only possible direction, with the sun in my face. The light is very interesting, abundant and bright, the sun not too high in the sky, we are at the end of December indeed. I begin to think of ideas, feelings on how to photograph the swans. I start trying a backlight to bring out the silhouette of the necks, but I’m not satisfied with it. So I try to take advantage of the surface reflections to enhance the background with a creamy bokeh, but even these shots, although more interesting, are not completely satisfactory. So I try to enhance the enormous amount of bright light and bring it closer to the whiteness of the swan feathers. The camera exposure meter, despite my efforts, fails to provide the right combination to get what I’m beginning to visualize in my mind. So I decide to switch to manual mode, and after some initial attempts to calibrate the exposure, I finally get what I had visualized before shooting. A flooding light that, tone on tone, enhances the whiteness of the plumage and the sinuous and delicate lines of the swan.