Wildlife - Ron Lutz II ~ Photographer
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Cranes Descent

Cranes Descent. For the first time in a while I went for a photo walk into the park. Wanting to photograph birds I carried my camera and 400mm zoom lens ready. As I stood at the head of the ridge trail that runs just downhill from our home I could hear Sandhill Cranes in the distance. I scanned the sky all around me but tree cover prevented a clear view. As their calls grew louder they began to bounce off the heavy tree line opposite me. I never saw that particular flock. As I made my way down the trail I stopped periodically to scan the skies and to take photos of very high flying formations of geese as they migrate back to Canada. Eventually I found myself in the middle of the open prairie, the sky a nice dome above me. I settle into a very balanced stance and began to just relax, meditate, watch and listen. I heard another flock coming off in the distance. After long moments of waiting and not seeing anything I figured I'd missed this flock as well. Just then I noticed what I thought was a small, silent gaggle of geese circling above me and descending. I literally had to keep my camera directly pointed over my head, framing, adjusting my exposure and tracking them as they circled around and around above me. It was a really good exercise as I tried to aim the heavy camera and to turn it just so in order to compose the scene. When I got home I had a chance to actually see what I photographed. They weren't big geese or swans. It was a flock of Sandhill Cranes! WOOT!

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From A Walk in Stewart County Park