Every spring hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese stopover at Montana’s Freezeout Lake and surrounding wetlands, creating an amazing display of birds against the Rocky Mountain Front. In little over a month we’ll be seeing scenes like this again.
Thousands of Snow Geese take flight this morning at Freezeout Lake near Fairfield, Montana. I really liked the sense of motion in this image. I took hundreds of shots early this morning of the geese rising up from the fields hoping to convey a sense of motion in all the chaos.
When panning with wildlife, birds can sometimes be a little trickier when trying to predict what the correct shutter speed should be to give it that right look and feel. With the birds erratic flight I will usually alternate between two or three different shutter speeds, usually one of them will work. For this image 1/20 of second seemed to be fine, but I still had to shoot multiple frames just to get one that would work. I also had my lens resting on a beanbag to help track and stabilize.
Canon 1DX 500mm f4L IS 2Xtc f38 1/20 ISO100
If you’re wondering where I might have been lately, don’t worry I haven’t fallen of the face of the earth just yet. Although this time of year it certainly can seem that way. As always I tend to be playing a lot of catch-up right now. Cataloging last year’s images, editing, and tying up a lot of loose ends left over from the busy schedule of travel and assignments.
In addition, if you happen to live in Montana in January and February, you’re probably aware that the photo ops may be a wee bit less inspiring than just about any other time during the year. So really I’ve just been hiding out, editing my rear-end off and haven’t been shooting all that much this last month. Not that it’s a bad thing, but usually if I go more than a week or so without shooting I start getting a bit antsy.
So in-between editing images these last couple weeks, I’ve been sneaking out to the Missouri River just down the road from my house for some brief moments of reprieve. And a good thing too! The last couple of weeks I’ve stumbled across some awesome flocks of Bohemian Waxwings that have been hanging out down by the river. One of the flocks must have been at least a thousand or so and there have been intermittent smaller groups of anywhere from 100-500. Very cool stuff. Intermixed I’ve also found some Cedar Waxwings as well. Not bad stuff for mid January and February in Montana.
This time of year my I think my wife humors me as I start getting all giddy like a little kid waiting for the spring bird photography to begin. I begin planning all my new locations I’m going to try, endlessly browsing the web looking at bird blinds & camo, dusting off all the gear from last… can hardly wait!
And starting next month things will be really picking up toward the middle of March with the larger migrations, especially the snow geese, up at Freezeout Lake. If you haven’t seen the thousands of snow geese that stop over at Freezeout Lake near Choteau, Montana, it’s definitely a must. Usually the last few weeks of March.
So in the meantime, I will be finishing up my editing and heading out soon for my favorite time in early spring in Montana. Actually I should probably say extended winter, but we’ll pretend it’s spring!