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Bosque del Apache, Snow Geese Fly-out

Bosque del Apache is a winter migration destination for thousands of Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese and many other species. In early December, I headed down to Socorro, New Mexico, so that I could attempt to make some images of the birds. I visited this pond each morning to make some still images of the cranes and geese. On the final morning, I only captured videos of these birds.

Both species spend the nights in the ponds to evade predators. After dawn, cranes and geese fly out to feed in nearby fields. Sandhill Cranes typically depart from the ponds in family groups of two to four birds. Snow Geese typically depart as one huge flock. When the geese take out, they sound like a jet plane at takeoff.

This video was the first project that I made using Final Cut Pro. The original video clips were recorded at 4k with a Fuji X-T2. This video took 6 to 8 hours to make while I was learning Final Cut, with lots of mistakes!


First Week Of The Year, 2018

During the first week of 2018, I made several images. So let’s kick of the year in style! For the last 15 months or so, a new office building has been under construction near Arapahoe Station. The building is nearing completion and this week construction workers continued to perform work on the windows.


Construction Worker, Greenwood Village

There are three new buildings at this location. The one in the foreground is the oldest, having been completed several years ago. The new building stands behind. The third building that was completed two years ago is out of the frame.


Reflections In Office Buildings

Friday was the First Friday of the month, so I headed to the art galleries on Santa Fe Blvd. In one gallery, the exhibiting artist was busy painting on a canvas.


Artist At Work, Santa Fe Blvd

This afternoon, saw me downtown next to the South Platte River. While taking a break, shadows of passing pedestrians were cast on the concrete wall in from of me. This image, of a lady with smartphone, was the best image. Within a copule of minutes, the wall was in total shade.


Shadow, Girl With Phone

Across the Platte River, the railings along the trail created interesting reflections in the calm river waters.

2094-0102-Reflections-In-Platte-River-Downtown Denver

Reflections In Platte River, Downtown Denver

Best wishes for the New Year. Have a Merry New Year!



Bosque Del Apache — part 2

Continuing with my trip to Bosque Del Apache. On the third morning, I managed to capture a pair of Snow Geese after they had taken flight for the feeding grounds.


Snow Geese In Flight, Bosque Del Apache

Later in the day, I found a Great Blue Heron, waiting to capture a meal along the bank of the irrigation channel.


Great Blue Heron, Bosque Del Apache

The American Kestrel is the smallest of our raptors, about nine inches in length. I found this little falcon perched on a bush while hunting for his next meal.


American Kestrel, Bosque Del Apache

Leaving the refuge, I stopped by the ponds near the entrance. After the sun set behind the mountains, the golden light of  sky was reflected in the water. I waited for this Sandhill Crane to walk through the golden light, creating a silhouette.


Sandhill Crane Sunset Silhouette, Bosque Del Apache

During the few days around Socorro, I saw three Greater Roadrunners crossing the roads. On the third and final morning, I was heading towards the exit of the refuge. Noticing a hump at the roadside, I slowed down and reached for the camera. After rolling down the window, I stopped to take a look through the camera. Yessss. A roadrunner. This was the best of the half dozen images that I made before this fun bird ran into the bushes.


Greater Roadrunner, Bosque Del Apache

This image made my day! After packing away my gear, I headed back for the return trip to Denver.


Bosque Del Apache — part 1

Two weeks ago, I headed down to Socorro, NM, to spend some time developing skills at photographing birds. At the entrance of Bosque Del Apache (a National Wildlife Refuge site), is a pond where many Sandhill Cranes and thousands of Snow Geese spend the night. The cranes usually gather in quiet family groups. The geese are always chattering away, creating a cacophony of sound. About sunrise, these birds leave the safety of the ponds to feed at other parts of the wildlife refuge. I made the following image of a pair of cranes as they took flight, leaving the cacophony of the ponds.


Sandhill Crane Pair, Bosque Del Apache

As a pair of cranes passed in front of the mountains, I made this image of these magnificent birds in flight.


Sandhill Cranes In Flight, Bosque Del Apache

Later in the afternoon, I found a Pied Grebe, swimming and feeding in one of the ponds. These birds dive to find food under water. After surfacing, I made this image as it looked at me.


Pied Grebe, Bosque Del Apache

On the second morning at the ponds, the water was lit by pink light reflecting off the mountains. I made this image of the Sandhill Cranes standing in the pond.

2075-0035-Sandhill-Cranes-Before-Dawn-Bosque Del Apache

Sandhill Cranes Before Dawn, Bosque Del Apache

Close to the main tour loop entrance, several White Crowned Sparrows feed around the bushes. One of the sparrows was perched on the bush, catching the morning sunshine.


White Crowned Sparrow, Bosque Del Apache

That completes the first of the images that I captured.



Moon Rise And Northern Lights

Most of the day trip to Djupavik and back was under overcast skies. Skies started clearing on the return trip to Saeberg. As the sun dropped in the evening sky, I knew that we would have a spectacular evening. Looking south along the fjord, the moon was lit by the setting sun. Spectacular!


Moonrise Over Fjord, Saeberg

At the hostel, just as the sun was setting, we were talking about northern lights. I then looked out of the window, and there were the lights. That was the signal for all of us to head outside! I made this image looking out from the east side of the hostel, where the lights filled the frame.


Northern Lights, Saeberg, No 1

I grabbed my Fuji, that had a 12mm lens attached and headed out to the west side of the hostel, looking out over the fjord. The lights swept up vertically above in this image.


Northern Lights, Just After Sunset, Saeberg

There was still plenty of light remaining from the sunset, just above the horizon. It was most unusual to see the northern lights with such a bright sky!

For exposure settings, the first image was made at 640 ISO, 20 seconds, f/5.6 with a 24mm lens on full-frame sensor. The second image was made at 800 ISO, 30 seconds, f/5.6 with a 12mm lens on APC sensor. During previous visits to Iceland, I made images at 400 ISO, 20 seconds, f/5.0 with 24mm on full-frame sensor. The key to making these images is to use an exposure of no longer than 20 seconds. A wider lens would allow longer exposures without star trails.

These images really made for another great day in Iceland.


Trip To Djupavik, North West Fjords

After the first night in Saeberg, I headed out for a day trip to the north-west fjords. I had read about the old fishing village at Djupavik. Driving in the north-west fjords can add up a lot of mileage in the car — most of the roads follow the coastline. It took almost 3 hours to make this journey. As with all my trips, there are always a lot of the usual stops along the journey, to enjoy the scenery and make photographs. Most of the day was under overcast skies with plenty of rain, misty and low clouds.


Djupavik, Iceland

The old jetty in the fjord was covered with gulls.


Old Jetty in The Fjord, Djupavik

Apparently there are tours of the old fish factory in Djupavik. However, I arrived far too late to join one of these tours.


Old Fish Factory, Djupavik

I walked through the village, making my way around the fish factory. I included the two rusty steel fishing floats in this composition.


Rusty Fishing Floats, Djupavik

One corner of the factory has windows right in the corner, that I captured in the following image.


Corner Windows, Djupavik

The fish factory is no longer in use. However, there are many disused items lying around the building. I created this composition with the one steel wheel in the foreground with one of the circular tanks in the background.


Wheel And Tank, Djupavik

On the far side of the tank, I found an opening into the tank. I made this image looking into the interior. I decided against getting inside the tank!


Inside The Tank

One of the old fishing boats was beached at the edge of the fjord, just outside the factory. Much of the hull had rusted over the years since it was abandoned here.


Rusting Fishing Boat, Djupavik

On the other side of the boat, I made another image that includes huge rusted holes in the hull.


Rusting In The Fjord

Finally, I took a walk along the road, heading out of the village. I found two boulders that are included in the foreground of this image.


Djupavik And Waterfall

Soon after this, I made the return trip back to Saeberg. Along the way, I stopped along one of the other fjords to make this image of two rock pillars along the coast.



Soon after this, the weather started to clear. A few miles along the road and the setting sun cast long shadows on a church and farm buildings located at the edge of the fjord.


Church And Farm Buildings, Bitrufjordur

Eventually, I arrived back at Saeberg as it was getting dark.


Icelandic Horses

It was Angela’s last day in Iceland before returning to Denver. We headed east on Highway 1 and stopped at the geothermal power generation station, located about 20 miles from Reykjavik. There are guided tours of the power station, but we missed the last one of the day. However, we did get to see the presentation materials and also the turbine halls located in the main building.

Angela also wanted to make some photos of sheep and horses. Both animals can be seen in great numbers in the fields along the roadsides in Iceland. We headed to Hveradgerdi and left the highway for one of the side roads. After a few miles, we found one field that had both sheep and horses. Both Angela and I made started making some photographs of the horses.


Icelandic Horse No 1

When the horses saw us, they headed over to see us for some attention. These horses are really sociable — both among themselves and also near people — and enjoy the attention of visitors.


Icelandic Horse Close Up

This horse started nibbling my jacket!


Icelandic Horse No 2

These two horses were lined up behind one another. I captured both pairs of ears in this image.


Icelandic Horses, Two Pairs Of Ears

The remaining images are of a pair of horses having some fun.


Horses, Having Fun

I like this image of the pair.


Horses, Having Fun, No 2

And this one.


Horses, Having Fun, No 3

Angela headed over to make some images of the sheep. In contrast to horses, Icelandic sheep are very skittish. Of course, as soon as they see, the sheep run away!



Reykjavik — Hallgrimskirkja, Cafes and Harpa

It was a Monday morning and we decided to visit the Hallgrimskirkja. This church is one of the highest points in Reykjavik. The building also happens to be on the top of the above the city. We took the elevator up to the viewing deck. Here is an image made from the viewing deck, looking out across the harbor and the North Atlantic ocean. In the distance, across the bay, is the headland where the town of Arkanes is located.


View From Hallgrimskirkja

Looking down from the other side of the church, I noticed the dome at the end of the church.


View Above Church Roof

The church is constructed from concrete. Here is an image from one side of the main entrance. The viewing deck is behind the arched windows, just above the clock faces. The clocks are no longer functional.


Hallgrimskirkja Church Tower

After leaving, we headed down the street in front of the church, where we stopped for coffee at one of the cafes. There are some colorful buildings in this street. I found a mural on the side wall of one the cafes.


Cafe Mural, Reykjavik

Overcast weather was starting to build up behind the colorful Cafe Babalú.


Cafe Babalú, Reykjavik

Further down the street, I found the Joylato. There were two people inside gazing out through the window.


Joylato, Enjoying Waffles, Coffee

Later we headed down to the harbor area and then walked to the Harpa Concert Hall. The outer walls of this building comprises hexagonal honeycomb shaped windows. Occasional panes in the wall have different colors, as can be seen in the image below.


Harpa Concert Hall Glass Wall

Looking up, the hexagonal honeycomb pattern is repeated in the mirrored ceilings. The honeycomb theme is actually based on basalt. When molten magma cools, it crystallizes into hexagonal columns as basalt rock. Basalt may be found in many locations in Iceland; hence the theme for the Harpa.


Looking Up At Harpa Ceiling

While waiting inside Harpa, I made this image of a visitor waiting outside.


Waiting Outside Harpa

There were several people gathered inside. Looking down, I noticed several reflections from the floor. One of the images I made was this pair of shoes. Having a meeting?


Shoes Meeting, Harpa

After the weather lifted, we headed out for another location.