I fitted in a trip to Otley recently with one of my photography groups. Most of the evening was taken up with a meal and general chat, but I did also wander down to the river, where there are always quite a few mute swans. I'm still on a quest to get the perfect photo of a swan. This isn't it yet! I did rather like the way she (or maybe he, how can you tell?) was holding her feathers. Lightroom still needs a good deal of exploring before I will be confident in the presentation of my photos - so much to learn - though it does bring out the texture of the feathers quite nicely.
It seemed a good photo to use, because a great British tradition was supposed to take place during this week - the royal Swan Upping. It's an ancient ceremony dating back to the 12th century, when all unmarked mute swans were claimed by the Crown (for food in those days, nowadays it's about conservation). A team of Swan Uppers, dressed in ceremonial scarlet uniforms, are led up the Thames (from Sunbury to Abingdon) in a stately procession of rowing boats and banners, led by the David Barber, the Queen's Swan Marker - a man who has a real feather in his cap! They corral the swans and their cygnets; each bird is caught and examined before being counted and released. It makes a colourful sight. I learned however, just before I posted this blog entry, that it has been cancelled (like so many other events this summer) because the Thames is so flooded and dangerous. Too late to alter the blog! Never mind, watch the video, it's still interesting.