Friday, November 15, 2013

Brazoria NWR, en plein air

I’ve spent a good bit of today sorting and deleting yesterday’s 450 photos from Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (what was I thinking!).  I’ve whittled the RAW images down to some ninety-five files; and by my standards and the limitations of a 400mm lens, some of the feathered ones are pretty good. 

I created categories for the subset of better photos:  perched; hiding; hanging-out; in-flight; and feeding.

But after a day of seeking the best, my eyes kept being drawn to the worst.  So I thought I’d share the worst-best photos, and just hope you’ll come back to look at my blog for the upcoming better of the bunch.
I’m going to call today’s post my “en plein air day” at Brazoria NWR.  That’s Texan speak for out-of-focus photos that are so bad, I kind of like them.

What better place to start than the pond areas of Brazoria NWR?  The ponds were in much better shape than a year ago.  Summer rains have not eliminated drought conditions, but improvement was celebrated by the winter and year-round residents of this pond.
True to their nature, waterfowl moved to the opposite side of the pond from said human with camera in hand, making photography a worst-best attempt.  But I enjoyed watching these Greater White-fronted geese, and did not take offense as they elegantly distanced themselves from my presence, creating a central theme for this en plein air pond view:

But the very worst of my day’s photos, and probably my favorite, is what I’ll call “Sandhill Cranes, en plein air” (in case you couldn’t tell the subject of this photo):


The sound of these cranes is what this picture is missing. This group was but a few of the hundreds (thousands, the counters would say?) of cranes that were coming and going; taking-off and floating-in for landing; legs forward with reverse thrusters firing.  These Winter-Texan beauties were calling and squawking and making vocal claim to these acres of land.
And what exploded above me, as I watched these elegant Sandhills?  It was that magically-familiar sound that causes birders and non-birders to turn their eyes upward and search the sky.  You’ve heard them; I was hearing them directly over me, no searching required. 

A huge skein of geese were flying back and forth, looking like sine and cosine waves dancing in the sun. I closed my eyes and listened to what seemed like a vocal-calling contest between cranes (in possession of acreage), and geese (in search of acreage):


And how could I post the worst-best without including one of my in-flight photographic attempts?  And thankfully this beautiful raptor is a familiar feathered friend. 
The Red-tailed Hawk at Brazoria NWR:


How do you like my so bad, they are kind of good, category?  En plein air—my newest style.


  1. Good to hear that the water conditions at Brazoria NWR have improved. All those Sandhill Cranes make me want to take the trip. RC

  2. My head is spinning thinking about all the work you had to do to get all those photos sorted and cataloged! Great job!

  3. Thank you, Hazel! My head WAS spinning after all day photo editing. But working the photos always makes me want to get back in the field!

  4. Very nice! Your hard work pays off ;-) Susan


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