bosque del apache wildlife refuge part one

Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge – Part One

Talk about a target rich environment! Possibilities for incredible wildlife photography abound. The scenery, a variety of birds, and combinations of the two make for a great time photographing in this wildlife preserve about one and a half hours south of Albuquerque, New Mexico near Socorro. Learn more about the Bosque here.

This was my first visit, and I already look forward to returning in the future. Sandhill Cranes are a favorite bird for me to photograph. I have worked with them on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I’ve never seen groups this large. Since they are tanking up from traveling, they are pretty relaxed. They are chomping on rows of corn grown for them. The ponds are just the right depth for them to overnight and makes for interesting photographs as they fly in and out at dawn and sunset.

Let’s take a look at the photos.

This was one of the very first pictures I made when we got to the refuge. I am always trying to show the behavior of the animals when making images to add interest. Because I had previous experience wit the Sandhills, I recognized that this bird was about to leap. The fact that the other two birds are at the end of its wings was serendipity. Not the best time of day for photographing but we were checking out the area.

sandhill cranes at bosqueJumping Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane flybySandhill Crane on a flyby through the field.

Sandhill Cranes in the cornSandhill Cranes in the corn field planted for the migration as a feed stop.

corn field with craneGetting ready for landing in the corn field.

bob coates photo by dennis chamberlainBob Coates (hey that’s me) Original photo made by my shooting partner on this trip, Dennis Chamberlain. Dennis is an incredible photographic artist. You can see some of his work here. (PS – I arted-up Dennis’s photo so don’t blame him for how it looks!)

Here’s some feedback on the gear that I used. I was testing out the Lumix 100-400mm lens with the Lumix GX85 to see how it would hold up to not being on a tripod. I’ve always tended to photograph birds in flight handheld because I could track their movement better but would often end up with more tossers than keepers due to blur. The dual image stabilization rocks! Total change with this gear. I’m very excited about the number of images I got that were keepers with this rig. You’ll see more of those in the next couple days.

Yours in creative Photography,     Bob

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