One Goose From The Flock. San Joaquin Valley, California. January 11, 2018. © Copyright 2018 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
A goose takes flight along with the rest of the flock
Some birds are most often photographed as individuals, usually because that is how they live. Examples include egrets, eagles, hawks, and many other hunting birds. To simplify a bit, a major challenge is to get close enough (physically and/or with a big lens) so that an individual is large enough in the frame to produce a photograph and so that distinguishing characteristics of the bird (along with some aspect of its environment) are visible. I rarely do that with geese snow geese, Ross’s geese, and other wild geese. These are, by their nature, birds that live in communities. I most often see and photograph them in groups which may range in size from a few individuals up to many thousands.
Some of the other members of the flock are partially visible in this photograph, so the image isn’t entirely of a lone bird. However, because the others are shown only in part and out of focus, my attention here is drawn to the largest, central bird with wings outstretched as it ascends. I made the photograph on a day when I found myself unusually close to a large flock for a good amount of time — they were spread across a dirt access road I was using. Eventually, as always happens with geese, some of the birds began to get ideas about going elsewhere, and this time I was very close to their lift-off.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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