During the winter months in Minnesota many of our rivers and lakes freeze.  But there is a section of the Mississippi River that runs through the city of Monticello where the waters remain open because of a nuclear generating plant that operates upstream.  From mid-November through February, this area is home to over 1,500 trumpeter swans.  Because the swans weigh between 20-35 pounds each they need a large area to take off and land.  During a recent visit to Monticello, I spent a wonderful few hours along an open stretch of the river observing and photographing the swans as they came and went.   Not only was this a visual treat, but an auditory one as well.  The swans’ wings make a distinctive sound as they’re preparing to take off in flight.  This sound, along with their honking and the sounds of the Canada geese and ducks that were also in the area made for a wonderful cacophony that filled the cold morning air.  This is not your documentary photograph, but I chose a slow shutter speed to better convey the flight of the swans;  their grace and beauty was reflected in the river below them as they flew past me and upstream.