Geese, Central Valley Haze. San Joaquin Valley, California. December 11, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A huge flock of Ross’s geese flies in front of a clump of trees and above the marsh in hazy afternoon light, Joaquin Valley, California
If nothing else, this was a day of interesting and varied atmosphere and light. The day began if fog so thick we could barely see and ended with an amazing and unexpected display of color as the underside of the clouds of an approaching weather system lit up just at sunset. In between we had fog of varying thicknesses, occasional breaks of sun, and eventually the sort of luminous haze that often is found in the Central Valley at this time of year. And throughout the day we had the Ross’s geese – in big flock on the ground, passing groups of a few individuals, and the periodic eruptions into flight by entire flocks.
In the afternoon, after the densest fog had cleared, we found ourselves back at the observations platform near the entrance to the refuge, perhaps a bit tired after several hours of steady shooting. To our west was a large pond and the bright backlit valley haze had drained most of the color from the scene. Soon the flocks that we had been photographing near a pasture behind us and to the east began to lift off and fly around our position and out over the pond. I tracked the massive cloud of birds and attempted to photograph them as they appeared in front of various background landscape features. Here they are above the pond and in front of a cluster of trees, with the pale, hazy atmosphere beyond.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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