Sandhill Cranes

This week’s guest blogger is Denise Ippolitio,  Denise is a freelance photographer, artist and writer living in NJ.  Denise will be speaking at this year’s Expo.

Sandhill Cranes, Bosque del Apache NM., November 2010

1/10 sec. at f/32, ISO 100, Canon 500mm lens w/ 1.4 ex, manual mode

The image above was created at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. I was co-leading an IPT (Instructional Photo Tour) with Canon Explorer of Light and world renowned bird photographer and teacher Arthur Morris. It was an amazing place that I had heard about for years and always wanted to visit. Every year around Thanksgiving the city of Socorro NM and the Bosque del Apache NWR celebrate the “Festival of the Cranes”. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese come to Bosque del Apache to feed on the corn that is planted there by the farmers.

 The morning light can be magical at Bosque especially at the ponds. The golden light is reflected from the mountains in and around the water and on the cranes. Crowds of photographers line up at hand-cut “windows” to photograph these beautiful birds in magic light. “Windows” are the areas where the Bosque management team has cut through the vegetation and corn to allow for easy viewing and photographing.

At these pools you can see the cranes waiting around deciding on whether or not to fly. They often preen and drink. Photographing in this spectacular morning light is every photographers dream.

 I have always been drawn to the softer side of images and art. Blurring my images allows me to create the look that I want for my artwork. I used a camera shake technique for the image above. With my camera and lens mounted on a tripod I shake the camera ever so slightly using a very slow shutter speed to create the soft impressionistic look that I want.

As a moderator on Bird Photographers.Net and an avid avian photographer I have seen hundreds of Sandhill Crane images created at these ponds. I wanted my images to stand apart from the norm. This look that I have created is subjective. It may not appeal to everyone but I believe that as photographers we must be willing to take risks in order to show the world our vision.

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