DenisT PRO+
DenisT

14 JAN 2016 D70 Bernardo State Park NM DSC_0057 vert



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8 Comments | Report
marnie333
 
marnie333 June 20, 2016
Incredible silhouette!
BenDufeck PRO+
 
BenDufeck July 05, 2016
Hope you were wearing a hat!. Great photo!
keithfey
 
keithfey September 04, 2016
What cranes are these?? astonishing photo well done
p_eileenbaltz
 
p_eileenbaltz September 04, 2016
Stunning image!!! Congratulations on your Challenge Win. :)
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots September 04, 2016
Amazing capture! Congrats.
eelcovanroden PRO+
 
eelcovanroden September 04, 2016
Congratulations on your Challenge Win!
terrysigns13
 
terrysigns13 September 04, 2016
Congratulations! Your Win is so well deserved.
This shot is outragously GOOD!
What a sight!
barbarabrock PRO+
 
barbarabrock September 04, 2016
Love this.

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was made at the Bernardo State Park just north of Socorro, New Mexico during the annual migration of Sand Hill Cranes in January of each year.
Time
We had driven from Dallas, Texas to Socorro, New Mexico to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to see the Sandhill Cranes. When we arrived there were not many cranes around so we drove up the road to the Bernardo State Park and saw fields full of the birds there. We got up early the next morning before sunrise and went back to Bernardo in the hopes of catching the cranes as they arrive at the fields to feed just at sunrise. We were sleepy but came alive with excitement as the cranes started noisily arriving. We were so glad that we had sacrificed the extra sleep to catch the cranes.
Lighting
I just used the natural light that was seeping over the mountains before sunrise. There were so many birds that it overwhelms the eyes sometimes. By silhouetting them you could see their unique shape and see the numbers and not be overwhelmed by all of the feather details.
Equipment
This was shot with a Nikon D70 with a Sigma 170 to 500mm zoom lens with a "The POD" bean bag and observation tower rail for a tripod.
Inspiration
I was impressed with how many birds there were flying all at the same time and in the same space with no mid-air collisions. It was like they had "built-in" avoidance radar, the kind that automobile designers are spending lots of time and money putting in cars and these birds had been born with it.
Editing
This image had originally been shot in the horizontal format and I cropped and zoomed in a bit to get a vertical format and show a better relationship between the birds and how high up they were and the many layers of altitude of the birds.
In my camera bag
I usually have a Nikon Df with a Nikkor 24-120 mm lens and then a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 80-400 mm lens to cover most of the possibilities that I will encounter. I now have a The POD beanbag and a Sirui tripod for more stability.
Feedback
You have to be willing to get up very early and be in place when the birds start to arrive. Make lots of photos because the scene is changing rapidly. Study up a little on the area and the species so you know a little bit about how they act and their habits. Try to position yourself so that the birds will be between you and the sunrise or source of light. If it is cold where you are I have mittens with foldable fingers so that I can shoot with my fingers and then cover them up so they don't get too cold.

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