Swan by the Grand Canal

22:05 Thu 23 Aug 2007. Updated: 11:17 24 Aug 2007
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This is a photo of a swan by Dublin’s Grand Canal that I took last May.

Nesting Swan by the Grand Canal

29 May 2007
Canon PowerShot SD900

Most of the reasons why I like this photo have nothing to do with its photographic merit. I like the fact that the swan is ignoring me and the camera, giving it a somewhat naturalistic feeling. I could claim that this is because I took it from 200 meters away with a fancy telephoto lens, but in fact I was standing quite close, and the swan is simply accustomed to passers-by.

The reeds in the background screen out the urban landscape, making it seem much more like a nature seen. The blue in the background is the Grand Canal, and apart from that there’s little hint that I was standing on the sidewalk as plenty of traffic passed behind me.

The bits of urban detritus that have apparently become part of the swan’s nest advertise the urban setting as nothing else in the photo does. Without the rag, the plastic bag, and the bit of cigarette foil, it could be a rural idyll. It’s not, however, and the nest accommodates those pieces of debris in apparent comfort. The rag is underneath part of the nest, suggesting that the swan simply built around or over it. In other words, to the swan it’s not offensive trash, nor a useful item, just an eminently unimportant feature of the ground.

I find it oddly comforting that where possible, the swan ignores us and our doings, and continues taking care of its own business.

2 Responses to “Swan by the Grand Canal”

  1. sandyd33 Says:

    Hi Tadhg,

    I love this pic, it’s unusual for a swan to let you so close to it’s nest! The fact that it’s adjusted to it’s surroundings is amazing yet it’s oblivious to it’s vulnerability from what you describe! Or has it got the bold Dub air about it!!!

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Thanks Sandy! It is pretty crazy that the swan is so comfortable just feet away from pedestrians and heavy traffic.

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