Swallowing Our Pride

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

If you want a lesson in patience and anger management, photographing swallows is the perfect activity!

During a recent birding trip to a nearby spot, a ton of swallows (Barn, Violet-Green, Tree, and Cliff) were flying over the river close to the bank. This was my first time trying to take photos of swallows... and it might be my last.

A lot of shots were just bits and pieces of the swallow...

Violet-green Swallow
Note: Swallows are kind of fast

Most of them are comparable to the famous Loch Ness Monster image

Tree Swallow
This would fit perfectly into the X-Files intro

With some editing, this one could pass for a spaceship flying through the galaxy

Cliff Swallow
To boldly go where no swallow has gone before...

And there are a few shots that were so close to being in focus and in-frame, it gives me a headache

Northern Rough-winged Swallow
So close...

Here are some super helpful tips I've learned that will help you get an award-winning shot of a swallow in flight...

  1. Swallows fly fast and change directions constantly. Guess which way you think they'll go next, then shoot in the opposite direction.

  2. Don't worry about "artsy" shots or get picky about which bird is in the shot. Take what you can get.

  3. Take breaks to photograph a nearby stationary object to remind yourself that you are still capable of getting images in focus.

  4. Don't get too distracted by other birds. Stay focused on the swallows while you have the chance.

  5. If there's an off-leash dog running around, don't kneel down to take photos unless you want to be covered in slobber and fur (bonus tip: please leash your dogs).

  6. When you get home and find out your photos are all blurry, framed poorly, or just shots of nothing, simply admit defeat and laugh it off.

I think I'm just going to stick to snapping photos of Red-Winged Blackbirds, they are much more forgiving.

Red-winged Blackbird in Wyoming
Friendly neighborhood Red-winged Blackbird

If you want a challenge, try to identify all the swallows pictured above! Put your guesses in the comment section below!

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#swallows #photography #wyomingbirds