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In The Field

Early December I travelled to New Mexico to photograph Sandhill Cranes.  This area is known by birders and photographers as a prime location to see hundreds of these migrating birds.  I was not disappointed by how many birds there were.  Although my photographs focused on small grouping or just a single bird.  Trust me, there were thousands.

The first morning I was standing along a pond bank an hour before sunrise.  It was cold!  Even with gloves and hand warmers, after about one hour I could not feel my fingertips.  This makes rapid fire shooting a bit difficult.  The morning was so cold that the Sandhill Cranes had to jerk their legs out of the frozen water as they started moving at dawn. It was comical to watch them as they freed themselves from the ice with ringlets around the feet.  Once freed they gingerly walked along on the frozen pond as if afraid of slipping.  

These birds are large and were unimpressed by the many photographers gathering around.  The photo above, that is me in the red coat, is a snapshot of the scene.  Sitting on a pile of dirt with two colleagues, I captured several good shots of the action.  A special thank you to Kim Ormsby who took the image and sent it to me.

Canadian Snow Geese also joined the party in New Mexico.  Large groups swarmed into the fields. The flocks would swoop down to the ground  pecking for food then one goose would decide it was time to move on and the entire flock would frantically take to the sky.  One goes, they all go.  The Sandhill Cranes looked on not interested in taking flight.

The high desert landscape enchanted me with early winter pastel colors. The brush and grass were warm hues of gold.  Leafless trees added a dark contrast to the palette.  Off in the distance were the rugged mountains, some already snow capped, but from my viewpoint they seemed to fade away.

I have posted some of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy them.



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