Every spring for the past eight years, the same male Mute Swan has returned to breed at Cedar Island Lake in White Lake Township, Michigan, where Patrick Dennen lives. Everyone wins: The swan gets a safe place to raise his family, and Dennen gets to photograph a new batch of cygnets every year.
This particular cygnet was tuckered out at the end of a long day. "The cygnet in the picture just got played out, put his head on his chest, momentarily dozed off, and I took the shot," Dennen says. As the young swan rested, his siblings continued to paddle around, creating the gentle, pillowy waves seen in the foreground.
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2012 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.