Last swan of the year

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R and I went into Stratford today for a final meal of the year at The Oppo, which has always been one of our favourite restaurants in the area. Over lunch we discussed the high points of 2017, and talked about our plans for next year; then we ran a few errands, before walking back to the car along the river. I’d hoped for some serious swan action – several of the cobs were looking extremely grumpy, and for a couple of minutes I thought that it was all going to kick off – but then they settled down, and I had to settle for a portrait shot of this handsome beast.

It seems appropriate to finish the year with a bird, as for me this year has largely been about wildlife of one kind and another, and one of my goals for next year is to become a better bird photographer. In this I’m confident that I’ll be helped by the 100-400 lens, the acquisition of which has been a definite highlight of 2017: the light wasn’t especially good when I took this, and the swan was forging toward me at speed, so it’s a tribute to the quality of the lens that every shot in the sequence is in focus. The fact that I clipped the base of the neck here is purely down to operator incompetence – but I’ve chosen this shot anyway because I like the droplet falling from the swan’s beak.

I’m now away to veg out in front of the television set with a large glass of wine in my hand. I wish you a peaceful end to 2017, and a happy beginning to the New Year – when I’m sure we’ll all be back here, doing this kind of stuff all over again. Cheers!