Thursday, December 15, 2016

Beautiful Bosque del Apache!

I have just returned from five wonderful days at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico.  The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, fondly known as "The Bosque," is in New Mexico near the small town of San Antonio, NM, 9 mi. south of Socorro, and less than an hour and a half from Albuquerque. The Refuge is an important wintering home for Sandhill Cranes, and will host as many as 14,000 during the winter months. This was my second visit and I had a goal in mind as far as images I wanted to capture this time around.

Bosque can be a bit overwhelming from a photography perspective and it is very easy to get caught up taking multiple images of the same subject.  Besides the Sandhill Cranes, Bosque is also home to over 32,000 Snow Geese and Ross Geese, dozens of Bald Eagles and Goldens, Great Blue Herons, occasional Pelicans, Avocets, and many, many other birds. Mammals include herds of Mule Deer and families of Coyotes.

One of my personal goals was to capture motion blurs of the massive numbers of geese as they took flight.  While sharp images can be just as interesting, I have found that motion blurs tend to convey the movement and the mayhem as thousands of geese erupt into the sky!  I also found this was a wonderful alternative either during low light when pushing up the ISO introduced too much noise into the image (for my liking), or when light became too bright whereby I lowered my ISO to the minimum, stopped down my aperture to the smallest opening and also used my exposure compensation if my image needed less exposure.  So in essence, you can shoot throughout most of the day just by using a little imagination:)

The image here was captured by zooming in on the birds and panning to follow their movement. Camera and settings were as follows:

Nikon D500
AF-S Nikkor 200mm - 500mm ED VR
f/32 @ 1/30s / ISO 50

Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens) & Ross Geese (Chen rossii)