Excellent Photo Adventures…Bosque Del Apache

Thanksgiving and Bosque Del Apache have become synonymous to me over the years.  Frank (my husband) always has to work on Thanksgiving so, I fly to New Mexico each November to visit Bosque for my last Excellent Photo Adventure of the year.  I typically spend a few days scouting the area to see what changes have been made from the previous year before my group arrives.  This year is showing great promise for outstanding photo opportunities.  In just the first two days I have been able to capture many classic Bosque images from first light at the Crane Pools where the Sandhill Cranes awaken to a new day…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

They spend a little time preening…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

And then, head off to the corn fields where they spend most of the day eating…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR

 

One of the things I am constantly on the lookout for is interesting behavior and with so may birds there is bound to be an altercation or two.  The key is to be ready to capture the brief action without other birds blocking the view.  I’ve had some successes but am still after that classic shot of dancing cranes…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

After the morning blast off and fly away we make a turn or two around the loop to see what else there is to photograph.  The wind direction plays a huge role in capturing the best flight shots in the best light.  So far the winds have not been completely cooperative for photographing the classic shot of snow geese flying straight into the camera (and good light) but, there are still excellent photo opportunities to be found.  I like the glow of the snow geese wings when they are side or backlit…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

I like to capture the snow geese flying in against a dark background causing them to pop.  Using my longest reach allows me to tighten up my composition as well as isolate single birds…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

The challenge is to capture a group of birds with some separation between them…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

Or, to capture some order in the chaos of a Snow Goose explosion…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

Creativity begins in the camera but, isn’t limited to just what I can capture.  I like to work an image or two and add my own creative touches that express my interpretation of a scene.  I used the Pinhole setting in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.0 to create a dramatic vignette drawing your eye to the bird and minimizing the effect of a boring, clear sky…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

I used the Fine Art High Key setting in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 for finishing this backlit snow goose image…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-20E III

 

As the sun drops lower in the western sky, the cranes come to the ponds to roost for the night.  With low light (ie: slow shutter speeds) it’s a great time to work on panning skills creating blur pans.  My keeper ration certainly goes way down but, the successes make it worth the effort…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

The key is finding the shutter speed that gives enough blur to convey the motion and yet still provides enough detail to recognize the subject and to keep an element of sharpness amongst the blur of wings…

Nikon D4, AF-S 500mm f4 VR with TC-14E II

 

The forecast calls for mild weather and clear skies for the first half of the week and possible clouds later on.  Whatever weather the Photo Gods provide you can be assured we will be out in the field working the birds.  Stay tuned.