If you don’t see my images on Facebook, then you missed the shots I’m posting today. This was the best year for duck photography at that refuge I’ve ever had. Here are some of my favorites from this year’s batch:
Remember to click on a photo if you want it to enlarge and sharpen for better viewing.
That’s just a sample of many duck photos I captured on the evening before the workshop began. The action was fast and furious for about an hour just before sunset. I was shooting to the east with the birds coming into me facing the sunset and a stiff northwest wind. With a colorful background, that’s about as good as it gets.
Since I was fortunate enough to capture over 7,000 images during a recent New Mexico trip, I am breaking these newsletters down by subject. This one covers snow geese.
See if you can spot what I was trying to do with compositions as I photographed geese. If you are familiar with the species, you know they tend to “swarm” a lot and seldom fall into “formations” as Canada geese do. So, I was looking for small groups and interesting wing and body positions and juxtapositions.
Really successful goose photography at this refuge requires a south wind. It forces the birds to land and take off into the wind which means the birds are facing into the sun and toward the photographer at the same time. That didn’t happen during our late November trip, so I had to make the most of what opportunities I had to capture images with birds flying in crossing patterns and, occasionally, landing at an angle to the camera.
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The grayish birds are young from this past summer. They stay with the parents during much of the first winter. Three young have survived the migration and a few weeks on the wintering grounds at Bosque del Apache Refuge.
This large flock was within 50′ of the highway at mid-day. I was able to get within 10′ of the resting birds to capture this image with a wide angle lens.
I love shooting toward the sun to capture light passing through the thin wing feathers of snow geese. Note the birds loafing on the ice (it was 13 degrees this morning).
Summer weather extended into fall so that by the time we got to New Mexico after Thanksgiving, the leaves were still golden and giving us some great backgrounds.
I’m always looking for birds flying together and holding the same wing position.
Notice how much more interesting the shot becomes when the subjects are coming at an angle toward the camera. Clouds of varying color make the background more photogenic, too.
The blue bird is a snow goose, too. It’s the blue morph of this species and is often referred to as a “blue goose”.
Stay tuned for more from Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Here is a small collection of bald eagle shots from the recent Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico Photo Tour. Actually, these were made on November 28th (the day before the photo tour began) as I circled through the refuge on my pre-tour scouting drive. I’ve had little or no luck getting in the past at getting this close to eagles, but each year brings some new and exciting experiences. It all came down to spotting the bird, stopping in the right place and having the camera ready.
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I had the lens on the eagle as it left the perch, but with a 1.4X teleconverter on the old Canon 500 mm lens, it took a few seconds to acquire focus. I was shooting with the Canon 7D Mark II.; 1/4000 second, f 5.6, ISO 640.
Once focused on the subject, I fired a rapid blast at 10 frames per second while trying to maintain a good composition. The images above show the bird with its most pleasing wing positions.
The duck carcass soon attracted ravens and another hungry eagle.
Eagle #1 realizes the best thing to do is drop his meal and make a quick exit.
The persistence of golden leaves on the salt cedar, willow and cottonwood trees at Bosque provided some color for our photographs. In most years, leaves have fallen by the end of November.
Watch for volume 3 to see the beauty of northern pintails in flight.
I’ve been sorting about 6000 images from a 3 1/2 day November Photo Tour in central New Mexico at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was in excellent condition and the weather was cooperative, so we had good luck photographing the landscapes and wildlife of the area. I wanted to show you so many of these that I decided to print them by category.
Let’s start with landscapes, since they are colorful and not too numerous. The following are from the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescopes located about 50 miles west of our base in Socorro, New Mexico. You may remember the VLA if you have seen the Jodie Foster movie “Contact”. Anyway, the combination of an incredible sunset and the sci-fi nature of our landscape really got us pumped.
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These sunset shots were done with a Canon 50D Mark II camera and 24-105 mm lens.
Several telescopes were within walking distance of the parking lot or were visible from a short walking trail. Our timing was perfect as we enjoyed incredible light for the last half hour of the day .
Tomorrow, we will look at wildlife and more landscapes on the Bosque del Apache Refuge.