Rick Hobbs Photography

Wildlife/Nature/Outdoor Photography

From The Field

Photographing thousands of sandhill cranes during migration

Imagine slowly creeping along on a wildlife refuge road illuminated by the light of the full moon. You are arriving at your location just before the first light of what is about to be another awesome day. You roll the windows down just a little bit and feel the cool air of the brisk Autumn morning as you listen to the call of the wild. On this day there are (7,000) sandhill cranes, (12,000) snow geese, canada geese and a variety of ducks on the refuge. The sound of thousands of birds welcoming a new day is something I will remember forever. Great photographs are nice but it is the experience of being there that matters most, that is what gives you the memories.

Sandhill Cranes

After getting into position, there are a few moments when you just stand there and listen to thousands of these magnificent birds right in front of you. While watching the clouds catch the light and the colors rise towards the sky you realize you are part of something special and wish it could last forever. All of a sudden, they take off. Excitement fills the air as large groups of birds blast off the water and head out to the local fields in search of food. It's time to go to work.

Sandhill Cranes

The next couple of hours are spent creating photographs as the sounds of calling birds and motor drives fill the air. We are able to make photographs of the birds flying against the color of a sunrise, flying past the setting full moon, and in flight against the clear blue sky. Several groups remain on the ground and provide great opportunities to photograph them in their natural habitat. It is the beginning of another productive day photographing in the refuge.

Sandhill Cranes

During the day we photograph the birds that are still in the refuge along with any of the other local wildlife that we find. In late afternoon the cranes and geese return to the refuge after feeding in the local fields. They fly back in groups and land right in front of us where they will spend the night.

Sandhill Cranes

This is exactly what we plan to experience again this year on each day of my next Photo Tour scheduled for October 19-22, 2002. We will spend each day working in the field as we create great photographs. I will be available to answer any questions and give you suggestions to get the most out of this great outdoor adventure. We will be photographing right off the main road and working out of our vehicles so this trip is very easy for anyone who would like to participate. For more information about this or any other exciting photo trip please click on Events.