Bosque Report

I spent four days at Bosque del Apache about two weeks ago. It was my second visit. I talked with several rangers and many photographers who had been coming there for years and this is what I learned. About three years ago the water in front of the flight deck was drained in the summer and the earth was prepared in a way that would allow native grasses to repopulate. Since that time the snow geese have changed their “lift off” behavior. In the “old days” they would reliably spend the night on the water and lift off in the morning before sunrise. Not so anymore. They often sleep somewhere not accessible to the public. They sometimes fly in and land on the flight deck water before sunset, stay about fifteen or twenty minutes, and then lift off. But it is not a reliable event. The days of showing up and always seeing a lift off seem to be over for now. While I was there one morning there were no geese on the water, but the sky filled with them, quite far away, and they flew north. I asked some photographers who were at the Crane pools at that time if the geese landed there and they said no. Another morning a few geese landed several hundred feet north of the flight deck, and did not lift off. They just flew away in small bunches after a few minutes. Another morning quite a few geese flew in and landed on the far side of the water and did lift off. I spoke with several photographers who were at the Crane Pools for sunrise and they said no geese landed during the four days that I was there.

I did get several photos I like, some of cranes taking off, and some of snow geese, but they are all versions of photos you have seen many times before. Here is one that I like that is not an iconic Bosque photo. I would welcome any suggestions, especially regarding saturation and contrast.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Overall, I really like the scene. I think the tree adds a lot. I like the position of the cranes in the scene and the sunrise colors. My only suggestion might be to see if you can remove the purplish-blue color in the branches in the upper right area.

Tony, I like the wing positions and postures you captured and the sky is color is great. I would like to see a little more of the tree. I was at Bosque Dec 9-14. I go pretty much every year sometime in December… my son is with NRAO / VLA and lives in Socorro. I had the same experience re the Flight Deck Pond - I haven’t seen a decent fly out there for a few years now. I had one morning the Snow Geese came to the Crane pool in large numbers and did a couple of “blast offs”. Other mornings though, one could see and hear a massive fly out from a pond none of had access to. The rest of the time it was like a Snipe Hunt.

I like the composition and the beautiful sky, Tony. My only nit is that the tiny cloud above the left Crane really draws my eye for some reason.

Incredible color @Tony_Siciliano! Agree with the pleasant appearance of the varied wing positions and the spacing is superb. Removing the color splotches would clean up the image. The only other comment is that the birds seem unusually well lit for the apparent ambient light, especially with the tree in near total silhouette. It’d be my nature to darken them more, but I wasn’t there and perhaps they were this well lit. Be interested in your thoughts.

I think you are correct. In the post processing I lightened the birds and actually darkened the tree. I tried reversing the process: lightening the tree and darkening the birds, and I like it better. Thanks for the suggestion.