One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2018—Sunset at Bosque

This trio of Sandhill Cranes, silhouetted by the sunset,  heads to one of the ponds at Bosque del Apache for their night time roost.

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2018—Trio

Wednesday morning about 40 minutes after the sun came up, it rose high enough to shine directly on the Sandhill Cranes standing in and on one of the partially frozen ponds at Bosque del Apache.  As the birds began to peel off in one, twos, and threes heading to the fields to forage, they flew toward the sun which lit them perfectly.  My Nikon D5 and new 500mm PF lens with the 1.4x teleconverter attached gave me 700mm of reach and I was hand holding it, something I could never have done with my heavy 600mm lens.  This trio of cranes looks intent on their mission to find breakfast.

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2018—Flight Practice

Flight practice for me, that is … not for the Sandhill Cranes who don’t need flight practice.  In the morning of Day two of my Bosque del Apache adventure, tripods didn’t make an appearance.  Photography for me was all about hand holding the Nikon D5 and 500mm PF.  I was quite pleased with the results and am very happy with my decision to sell my 600mm lens.  With the 600mm lens, hand holding was not an option.  Weighing almost eight and one half pounds, coupled with the Nikon D5 weighing more than 3 pounds, I could  never hand hold that whopping 12 pound combo and come close to getting a sharp image.  At barely 6 pounds, the D5 and 500mm lens combo feels effortless to hold and if I used my crop sensor D500 camera, the weight would be under 5 pounds.  I am more successful panning to track birds in flight while hand holding than on a tripod so this change will be great for all my bird photography.  Flight practice was a success for me!

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2018—Back to Bosque

It’s that time of year.  I’m in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.   So far we haven’t seen the numbers of birds that we’ve seen in past years but it’s only been one day and I’ll be here for another week.   But still, the Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese are putting on quite a show. This photograph is from our first morning at the Track Ponds.   The cranes warm with the first rays of the sun and leave their night time roost in the pond to fly to the fields in the refuge to forage during the day.  I watched this crane for several minutes as it lifted its left leg over and over in an attempt to take off, only to find its foot elevated several inches on solid ice where the top of the pond had frozen over so it didn’t have the stance it needed for take off. It would stand still for a moment, then try again.  After several minutes, it finally managed to secure firm footing to ensure lift off and flew to join its flock mates.  I used my D5 and my 500mm PF lens on a tripod, panning to follow the bird as it lifted off the pond.

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2018—Flooded with Clouds

The dramatic cloud formations that played out below us at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park were constantly rearranging.  In this view, Bridal Veil Falls looks as if it is flooding the valley beneath it with clouds.

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2018—Looking Up

On our first morning n Yosemite National Park last week, we visited Tunnel View.  We visited Tunnel View at least once, sometimes twice, a day each day we were there.  The look was different every time we visited and the vista changed before our eyes, as well.  We had storms most of the the week and the patterns in the clouds changed constantly.  The first morning, the storms were coming but hadn’t arrived in full force.  This cloud pattern intrigued me so I pointed my camera up to capture the clouds.

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2018—Monolith

El Capitan is a magnificent monolith that dominates the skyline at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park.  I isolated it by using a 500mm lens as the morning sun crossed its craggy face, emphasizing its cracked and crevaced walls.

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2018—Never the Same

The view of Yosemite Valley from the Tunnel View outlook is different every time you visit.  It can change before your eyes.  The light, the clouds, the mists, the time of day all work together to create unforgettable pictures of this beautiful place, each view, unique.

This view was taken before 7 AM.  El Capitan, Cloud’s Rest, and Half Dome, barely visible through the clouds, are almost unrecognizeable.  Bridal Veil Falls was free of clouds when I took this shot but soon after, it, too, disappeared into the mists.  I converted the photograph to black and white.  The only color visible was a smidgeon of blue in the sky and reflected off the snow on the mountains.

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2018—Autumn Leaves

Despite the holiday decorations, carols playing in every store, and Christmas tree lots on every corner, it is still autumn for another couple of weeks.  The oak trees in Yosemite Valley last week still clung to their leaves even as snow began to fall.

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2018—Black and White World

Yosemite last week was mostly a black and white world.  Except for a couple of very brief moments, we had no sun.  The skies were overcast and the clouds hung low, accumulating in the valleys and clinging to the sides of the mountains.  Despite the lack of color, the beauty of the place shone.  Here is another view of Bridal Veil Falls, engulfed in clouds.

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