Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 31, 2009

Favorite Places – Bosque del Apache

Filed under: Bosque del Apache, composition, favorite places, light, style — richditch @ 10:31 am
Winter Landscape at Bosque del Apache

Winter Landscape at Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache is a National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico,widely  known to bird photographers as the place to photograph Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese in winter. These birds occur here in the 10’s of thousands, and their mass movements at dawn and late in the day are a phenomenon that draws photographers, birders, and other nature lovers in large numbers from November through February each winter.

We first visited in 1998 and have returned most years ever since. It is a pleasant drive of 8 hours or so from Phoenix, especially if you travel all the way on U.S. 60 through the Salt River Canyon, the White Mountains, across the continental divide at Pie Town, and past the Very Large Array near Magdalena to Socorro, NM.

I’ve taken many photos of birds at Bosque del Apache, as has every other photographer who has ever visited. But my favorite images from there have been simple landscapes like this image along the Marsh Loop drive. I find the colors here to be unlike any others, with wonderful browns and tans against subtle blues and grays. The sky often has delicate clouds to give some texture, or sometimes spectacular storm fronts.

The Friends of the Bosque hold an annual Festival of the Cranes in mid November, and it draws large numbers of people who are carried around the loop roads in buses. We time our visits to avoid this! Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all much better times to experience some of the peaceful nature of the refuge.

This image is my all-time favorite from Bosque del Apache. It captures the tranquil nature that I experience when I visit, and makes me want to be there now. It is a simple shot, taken with my Nikon D70 and 18-70mm “kit” zoom at 40mm, ISO 200, 1/100th second and f/16 on November 27, 2006 at 8:51 AM. I felt compelled to stop and take it. I wonder if anyone else even noticed it in their haste to get to the cranes and geese?

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