This experience translated from the store to my photography on this past weekend. June and I took a short trip to Dayton Tennessee to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. I had seen photographs of these magnificent birds at this 6,000-acre land and water refuge. The refuge is the largest winter flock of Sandhill Cranes in the southeast United States outside of Florida with an estimated 30,000 wintering over. I was ready to make some bird photographs!
When we arrived late Friday afternoon we saw few of expected thousands of Sandhill Cranes. There were maybe 40 but they were pretty far from the observation platform. The refuge is closed while the birds are wintering there so we had to make do with shooting from a distance. While we were there we met a lady who took us to a place where they were last week, but no birds were there Friday. We were disappointed and considered going home. One more trip to the observation platform before deciding.
|Flying In To Roost|
Click on any photo for a larger view.
|This is an extreme crop of a shot made with a 420mm telephoto lens.|
|Stars Over Sleeping Birds|
In the yellow tinted photo, you can see the Cranes sleeping in the shallow water at the bottom of the photo. In the second photo, you can see two shooting stars I just happened to capture during the 30-second exposures.
I went for Sand Hill Crane photos but came home with night sky photos. But wait, the story doesn't end there. On our way home, we decided to stop off at Ozone falls.
When we were climbing down from the road to the falls we saw what appeared to be young kids with hula hoops heading to the base of the falls. By the time we made our way down we realized they were college age young people twirling fire near the base of the falls. I got as close as I could and found I was in the mist from the falls. I couldn't change lenses without getting water inside my camera so I shot with my 18-55mm lens on the Fuji. Again I had to do some cropping to get a decent composition, but this was a very cool subject.
We went for Sandhill Cranes but the more interesting photos were stars and fire twirlers. Life is like that. We have plans, but God will send us down another isle in life's grocery store to find something completely unexpected. We just have to be watching for it.