In search of winter birds

ISO500 f7.1 1/2000 Cranes taking off at sunset. Bosque del Apache

I have the good fortune to live a 90 minute drive from Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge in New Mexico. The name of the refuge means “woods of the Apache” in Spanish, named for the Apache tribes that once camped in the forests along the Rio Grande It is a favorite spot to watch the migration of the Sandhill cranes in the fall.

I have often made a pilgrimage in the winter to photograph the cranes and snow geese. Looking back at my photos I’ve never been truly satisfied with the shots I have taken. The saying is that a bad workman blames her tools but I realized in this case the lack of a good zoom lens was impacting my ability to effectively capture the amazing scenes of these birds taking flight or coming in to feed. Often you are photographing in low light as the best opportunities occur at sunrise and sunset. I have frequently had lens envy when photographing at this location as its frequented by professional wildlife photographers.

I rented a canon F2.8 70-200 is lens from Its also a good way to test out a lens or camera before making a purchase. It arrived at 1:00 PM and I rushed to the UPS store to pick it up. If I left by 2:00 I would get there for sunset so when I got it home I ripped it out of the box and threw my camera equipment in the car. I wanted a day when there was some cloud to provide a more interesting sunset. Living in New Mexico cloudy days are often few and far between.

ISO 500 f4.5 1/2000 Cranes returning at sunset at Bosque del Apache
ISO500 f7.1 1/800 Cranes feeding at Bosque del Apache

I was glad I invested in renting this lens and was happy with the results.

3 thoughts on “In search of winter birds

  1. Hi Anne, This set is spectacular. The crisp details of the cranes in flight along with the wonderful colors of the landscape are a winning combo. Before I switched to Fuji mirrorless, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 was a favorite lens. (It still is, when I feel like lugging it!) I’m happy to see your images and look forward to more.


    1. Thanks. Its a lens I would like to buy. Unfortunately I lost my job recently so I have to be careful with my budget. I know what you mean about lugging lenses around. When I travel back to the UK I just carry my Panasonic Lumix.

      Liked by 1 person

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