Canadian Geese in the Snow

Snow geese 046The other day I was in my office and hitting a nice solid wall of writer’s block. I had been in front of the computer for hours and needed to clear my head in order to be productive again. Because I have the luxury of having a home office, sometimes I’ll lay down on my bed and nap or cook up a tasty meal to clear my head. That day, however, the snow was falling in big wet flakes and the sky was a dark slate grey. The snow had largely melted from the ground a few days earlier and the contrast of white snow, grey skies, and dark ground was beautiful.

I decided to grab my camera and lenses and hop in my Jeep to see what I could find and photograph. Experience told me that there was going to be some dramatic photographs to be had with weather like that. I am fortunate to live in a very rural area and nature’s beauty abounds all around me so I drove to an area with cut fields bordered by thick woods in hopes of finding inspiration.

As luck had it, numerous flocks of Canadian geese had decided to hang out in those fields at the same time I did. There were hundreds of geese walking around in the fields all around me. Some were sleeping, some eating, some grooming, and some just chilling out and enjoying a rest. I put on my 55-200 meter lens and started to photograph the beautiful creatures. They don’t move too quickly on the ground so I was able to keep my shutter speed somewhat low and my ISO low. Only when they took flight did I have to crank my shutter speed and ISO to capture them.

The geese allowed me to sit near them for about 15 minutes, during which time I photographed a couple more flocks flying in their classic “V” formation coming in to land in the field. From time to time one or two Canadian geese would fly away, but suddenly and without any apparent reason the entire flock of hundreds of geese suddenly began pounding their wings and took to flight in one throbbing, honking, beautiful mass of feathers and wings. They took off flying west then they all turned east en masse and disappeared from sight. The fields that 30 seconds before has been home to hundreds of noisy birds was suddenly silent and still.

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