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East Northport 'swan whisperer' getting noticed for photos
Three years ago, Susan Kaffana spent almost four days standing in the rain near a manmade pond in Lancaster, Penn., waiting for the perfect moment.
A swan, which she nicknamed “Swan Princess,” lifted her wing to reveal her babies, and Kaffana took the photo that would end up being her favorite to this day.
“After that, I took as many pictures as possible, unloaded the card and then took more pictures,” said Kaffana, 61, of East Northport, handling her Sony Cybershot. “New mothers just love that picture.”
That photo is among 30 of her photographs featured this month at the East Northport Public Library. Her other photos show flowers in Kaffana’s backyard, boats and more swans.
Kathryn Heaviside, a librarian at East Northport Public Library, said the purpose of the display is to give local artists a place to show their artwork because Northport has a large art community.
“It’s successful, and the community loves it,” said Heaviside, of Northport. “It really is a nice aspect to a public library. They come in sometimes just to see the artwork.”
In one of Kaffana’s photos, two swans, which she refers to collectively as “Bella,” come together to form a heart with their necks. It was quite a feat for Kaffana, who had been told by another photographer that it’s popular to photoshop a “swan heart” because the picture is so hard to capture naturally.
“These aren’t photoshopped,” Kaffana said. “It’s just the matter of time I spend with them. It’s also favor with God and that I’m just there.”
Kaffana spends time with her husband at Twin Ponds in Centerport, visiting the mated swans. She calls, “Bella, Bella,” and they fly to her from across the pond.
“They kind of adopted her,” said Bob Kaffana, 65. “I call her the swan whisperer. They hiss at me.”
One day, a swan grabbed her glove, and without hesitation Kaffana gently grabbed the swan’s neck and took back her glove, which didn’t bother the swan in the least, she said.
“The way they protect their area, it’s like a family,” Kaffana said. “I don’t have a problem approaching them, though. I think most creatures can sense fear. I have no fear.”
Lifelong Northport resident Mari Thole bought some of the gift cards Kaffana and her husband made out of her photos at the Cow Harbor Day craft show in Northport about three years ago.
“I was drawn to them the minute I saw them,” said Thole, who passed by the booth Bob Kaffana had set up there. “She captured all of the shots that everyone would want to take themselves in Northport.”
When Thole opened up Mari’s Hallmark Store on Fort Salonga Road in Northport last July, she asked Kaffana if she could carry her cards.
“I wanted a little bit of Northport in the store, and her cards hold their own,” Thole said. “We probably don’t go through a day without selling her cards.”
Thole added that Kaffana doesn’t go anywhere without her camera.
“She’s always looking for new things to capture,” Thole said. “I’m never left with an empty spinner of her cards.”
View more of Kaffana’s pictures here.