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My 10 best images of May

May was again quite time-consuming for me and I didn't get much time for photography. So I was mainly busy with the Matura and I didn't get outside quite as often. When I was out in nature, it was mostly in the form of workshops or excursions that I led. It's always fun, but I only rarely get any images myself on those occasions.

1. Barn swallow in the rain I

1/50 | f/ 4 | ISO 64 | 500mm

This spring the barn swallows were greeted by a bad weather front. This forced them to interrupt their migration northwards. Braving the rain, a good 40 barn swallows perched on the trees along a riverbank. Fortunately, the birds were quite tolerant and I got quite close to them. After a good two hours in the pouring rain, the barn swallows had become so accustomed to me that I could practically walk around freely and thus try out a wide variety of compositions.

2. Barn swallow in the rain II

1/500 | f/ 4 | ISO 640 | 500mm

While most of the barn swallows were perched in the trees above me, some also sat in the bushes directly in front of me. This bird settled in a particularly attractive spot. Thanks to a small forest in the background, I got a rich green background.

3. Bird's eye view of a beaver

This is already the 5th year that I have accompanied this beaver family. The fact that I have photographed the beavers hundreds of times allows me to take risks and try new things out. A few years ago, for example, I would probably never have thought of photographing this beaver from a bridge. Especially considering that I would have had no problem reaching the surface of the water next to it.

But since the light was already not optimal, I decided to quickly change the lens and take an image of the beaver from right above him. Luckily the concept worked out quite nicely.

I especially like this picture because you can see how much of the beaver is actually underwater and how big the animals really are. Something you could have never shown at eye level.

1/50 | f/ 4 | ISO 4000 | 50mm

4. Mute swan in the backlight

1/640 | f/ 4 | ISO 64 | 500mm

As the sun gradually lowered towards the horizon, I noticed this interesting play of light in the water. Now all that was left was for a bird to swim through the spot. I was lucky and this male mute swan had just spotted an intruder and was determined to scare it away. The intruder didn't hesitate at the sight and took off.

5. Mute swan with young I

A pair of Mute Swans had already bred at this site in previous years. Only a few minutes away by bike, I visited the family again and again. When one day, the first young finally hatched, I spent several following mornings with them in hopes of photographing the chicks. But they took their time and stayed hidden under their mother's wings most of the time. Only on the fourth day, when only 2 eggs were left, did the youngsters gradually become impatient and peeped out more and more often. They even began to pick at the mother's plumage.

1/500 | f/ 4 | ISO 280 | 500mm

6. Mute swan with young II

The Mute Swan family was very tolerant towards me and I was able to photograph them from only a few metres away. However, this brought with it the problem that depth of field was not enough to get everything in focus. In order to get both mother and chick in focus in this picture, I stitched the picture together from two images. Generally I try to avoid this, but in this case even the small aperture was not enough.

1/200 | f/ 10 | ISO 400 | 500mm

7. Hedgehog in the garden

1/250 | f/ 4 | ISO 720 | 500mm

I'm not 100% sure if I photographed exactly this hedgehog in the garden last year. But from the cooperative behaviour it is very likely. After taking some pictures with the 500, I finally switched to the wide angle. But of all the photos I took that evening, I like this one with the telephoto the best. I especially like the splashes of colour from various flowers in the background.

8. Mute Swan Chick in the Backlight

1/1600 | f/ 4 | ISO 140 | 500mm

Of the original 10 eggs of this mute swan brood, unfortunately only 4 young are left. The young that survived, however, all make a healthy impression and I was able to photograph them again and again. This evening the light was particularly good and I was able to photograph the chicks backlit. Photographing chicks backlit usually works quite well, as their fluffy down feathers start to glow particularly strongly due to the sun.

9. Two beavers meet

1/250 | f/ 4 | ISO 7200 | 500mm

After the beavers took their time at this workshop and came out of the den rather late, the animals showed themselves all the better afterwards. We were about to photograph the female on the bank when a second beaver swam towards the female. Just a couple of metres away from us, the two animals greeted each other.

10. Two beavers grooming eachother

1/250 | f/ 4 | ISO 8000 | 500mm

But that was not all! For a good 10 to 15 minutes they groomed each other's fur. The light was starting to fade by now, but out of several hundred photos, one came out sharp. Thanks to a new programme that I will introduce soon, I still got a picture with practically no noise despite ISO 8000.

These were my 10 best photos of May. I wasn't outdoors that often, but I'm still satisfied with the results. I just finished my Matura and now I have a few months off before I start my biology studies in autumn. Now I'm leaving for Germany on Monday before travelling further north. Where exactly I'll end up is still open, because some countries still have entry restrictions because of Corona.

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Nicolas Stettler

Weyernweg 27

2560 Nidau

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