One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2017—Music To My Ears

One of the new “toys” I brought with me to Bosque del Apache was a shotgun microphone capable of recording the sounds of the birds as I made a video of them.  The in-camera mic is insufficient to record more than the slightest sounds so I  knew I needed a more sophisticated microphone to capture the calls of the birds.  Until now, I haven’t tried creating videos.  My first challenge was installing the AA battery into the microphone which I was unable to do before I left home.  I was so frustrated I almost returned the microphone before ever using it.  I wondered if it was that difficult to install, how could I manage using it?   I decided to wait and ask Moose to help me.  I found out that the rechargeable battery I was attempting to install was just a smidge too thick; it requires a regular AA battery which Moose gave  me and which slipped right into the slot.

Monday afternoon at the Train Pond I got to test it out.  I must give all of the credit for this video to Moose Peterson.  The only thing I did to create this video was to affix the microphone to the camera.  Moose did everything else.  First, he set my camera to the proper microphone and video settings; he found a good scene to video and composed the shot; and he started the recording. I did manage to end the recording without incident.  And, I was taking still shots of this scene before Moose intervened and urged me to start making videos.  This video features Sandhill Cranes silhouetted against the setting sun and feeding on morsels in the pond. A few birds fly into the background and one sort of photo-bombs the scene as he struts in front of the feeding pair, then reenters and joins in the feeding.  The background sounds of the Sandhill Cranes are music to my ears.

 

2017—White With Snow (Geese)

After the morning blastoff of geese from the farm ponds, we drove to the Train Pond at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge just across the highway from the train tracks.  This pond still held masses of Snow Geese waiting for whatever signals them to blast off.   Unlike the much larger congregation that blasted off thirty minutes before en masse, this group seemed to lift off in ones and twos, not the entire gaggle at once.  As I looked at the scene, I realized it would be interesting to capture a few at a time with the other white geese as a backdrop.  I succeeded in my quest with a couple of images that turned out as I imaged… a pair of Snow Geese flying against a field of out-of-focus white geese.

I used the Nikon D5 and 600mm lens to capture this image.

Snow Geese white on white.jpg

 

 

2017—Bosque Sunrise 2017

It was 13° at 5:30 AM Monday morning when we arrived at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge to photograph the morning blastoff.  There were some wispy clouds and pink sky as the sun rose.  We soon heard the distant din of geese blasting off from their nighttime roost on the farm ponds at Bosque.  We were quite a ways away from the blastoff so we saw silhouettes of the birds as they flew through the morning sunrise off to their feeding grounds.  A few minutes later, the din quieted and the birds disappeared.    I took the first photograph with the Nikon D5 and 600mm lens; the second with the Nikon D500 and 18-35mm lens.

Sunrise blastoff.jpg

 

Bosque Sunrise Day 2

 

2017—Bosque Sunrise 2016

Last year, just after the explosion of Snow Geese taking off from the pond, an event that starts their day, the sunrise was spectacular.  A few straggler geese are barely visible as black dots on the lower left.

Bosque Flight Deck Sunrise.jpg

2017—Heading Back

I’m heading back to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico.   The refuge is winter home to huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes, both Greater and Lesser as well as Snow Geese and Ross’s Geese.   Because my home is in the midst of the Pacific Flyway, I know those species are in the Sacramento area refuges now and some of my local photography friends are capturing incredible images of these magnificent birds.  However, my trip to Bosque, with Moose Peterson and a couple of other friends, gives me an opportunity to spend five days straight shooting from sun up to sundown in relatively close proximity to the birds.  We’re able to follow them from the ponds at sunrise where they roost at night to the fields where they feed during the day and back to the ponds at sunset.  Last year’s trip there was an experience I’m thrilled to repeat.  I hope to improve on my panning technique with the 600mm lens.  Despite the fact that these are huge, slow flying birds, it is still a challenge to follow their flight and capture tack sharp images.  Here are a couple of images from last year’s visit; the first is a Lesser Sandhill Crane, the second, a Snow Goose.  I took these shots about a minute apart on the first morning in Bosque.

Flying Sandhill Crane

Bosque Snow Goose

2017—Melancholy Morning Light

When I went out to pick up the Friday morning paper, the sky was a beautiful orange.  I went back inside, put the 300mm on my D5 and went right back out to capture the morning color that quickly disappeared.  When I viewed the images, I felt rather melancholy.   Then I realized this sky reminded me of how the Southern California skies must look with the out-of-control wildfires currently raging.   It’s beautiful here, horrifying there.

Morning Color.jpg

2017—White Trunks

A scene from Kent Pond near Killington, VT.

reflecting aspen.jpg

2017—Vermont Countryside

This scene at the side of the road caught out attention on the last day of our visit to Killington, Vermont.

Vermont.jpg

2017—More From The Shore

The shore at Oregon’s Bandon Beach provided lots of gorgeous vistas last month.

More from the shore.jpg

2017—Guiding Light

Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t resist practicing creating more lighthouse beams on the Coquille River Lighthouse at Bandon Beach in Oregon.  In this image, a small flock of ducks appears to be using the beam from the lighthouse to guide them to their night’s roost.

Lighthouse Beam with birds