Sandhills on the Platte | Platte River Sunrise

Sandhills on the Platte | Platte River Sunrise

Sandhills on the Platte | Platte River Sunrise  It’s just after o’dark thirty and just before sunrise.  The Sandhills are still relatively quiet while roosting on the Platte River.  Soon, they’ll be waking and taking flight.  The birds are still hidden just beyond back water and weeds.  To see the entire story with all seven images, go to Sandhills on the Platte | a 7 Image Story. 

Sandhills on the Platte | a 7 Image Story

Sandhills on the Platte | Sunrise FlightSandhills on the Platte | a 7 Image Story  Every year from mid February to the first week of April, most of the planet’s Sandhill Cranes converge along 75-mile stretch of the Platte River near Kearney, Nebraska.  The gathering represents the closest thing to the Serengeti we have in the lower 48.   It’s one of the world’s top three great wildlife migrations.  More than 500,00 Sandhills stop on the Platte to rest and gain weight on their flight from southern USA and Mexico to Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, where the have their young.

If you have never been to this Great Sandhill Crane Migration, it’s worth the trip at least once in your life.  Each day, it starts at o’dark thirty along the bends in the Platte River.  At first light, the Sandhills begin to lift off the river to eat in nearby corn fields.  They take flight in groups of hundreds; even thousands, even 10,000s, at one time.  A little sun, a little fog, and a few hundred thousand Sandhill Cranes make for a beautiful sunrise on the Platte River.  During the day, the cranes eat grain left over from last fall’s crop, mostly corn, in nearby fields.  Then, in late afternoon and early evening, they come back to the river in great flocks to roost overnight on the river.  The Platte River in this area is shallow and filled with sand bars.  The cranes safely roost on the river since they can hear their predators, like coyotes, coming through the water.  Being very smart birds, they actually post sentries to take turns staying awake during the night to warn the flock, if a predator comes their way.

Sandhill Cranes are among the world’s oldest species.  They mate for life and return to the same place each year to have their young.  They live in freshwater and eat a large variety of foods including plants, grains, mice, snakes, insects, or worms.  Sandhills usually nest in wetlands.  Females lay two eggs while both parents incubate.  Males also defend the nest.  Sandhills love to sing and dance; leap high in the air.  The birds are naturally gray with their heads topped with a crimson crown.  Sometimes, they preen themselves by adding a brown mud to their feathers.  For more information on Sandhill Cranes and their great migration, see the Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary.

Each image will be posted individually this week with a bit more narrative under category Sandhills on the Platte.

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Snow Makes the Image | a 7 Image Story

Snow Makes the Image | Curious DeerSnow Makes the Image | a 7 Image Story  Snow images range from being really boring to very dramatic.  In each of the images in this 7 Image Story, the snow makes the image.  Sometimes, it provides a nice background, which separates the obvious subject and makes stark contrasts.  Other times, falling snow provides a translucent curtain in front of the obvious subject.  And, some images would not be created at all, unless they were on snow.  In fact, in all these images, snow sets the mood of the image.  Snows powers the image and the viewer.

Everyone knows it’s snow; a beautiful change in scenery.  Snow is plain and simple, yet a magical winter wonderland at the same time.  Snow reminds us of earlier, happier, more carefree times in our lives.  It brings a fresh perspective; wiping our world clean and rejuvenating our soul.  You are never too old to play in the snow.

Capturing a good snow image might require a bit of knowledge and skill.  How do you get the metering right in a snow shot so you get the mood you want?   Most of the time, it’s fairly easy as along as something in the frame is not snow.  Just meter normally on a strong non-snow object and let the camera will do the rest.  The snow looks white and the other colors look right.  Unless you want that cold blue effect, the white balance may need some adjustment.  Sometimes, to capture falling snow, the shutter speed must be slowed enough to capture the flakes.  Still, the clicks are relatively simple.

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7 Image Story | Thanksgiving with Nick the Pug

7 Image Story | Pug Anticipating Thanksgiving Dinner7 Image Story | Thanksgiving with Nick the Pug  We Pugs love Thanksgiving; perhaps even more than Christmas.  Why?  Pugs love food; people food.  In fact, some Pugs I know seem to think they are really furry people.  Of, course, the rest of us know; people are just alpha Pugs.  Either way, we know we are entitled to people food.  Alpha Pugs always share.  Thanksgiving, of course, is about giving thanks; particularly for the pack (family) and food. We Pugs give thanks for all that people provide us; particularly people food.

I have never been particularly patient after smelling the aroma of fresh turkey in the kitchen. My many moods have been captured over several Thanksgiving days by one of my favorite people.  In this image, Pug Anticipating Thanksgiving Dinner, I’m giving him the look: is it really, really time to come inside for Thanksgiving dinner?  Can I really anticipate eating any time soon?  All too often, it’s hurry up and wait.

Too much waiting means I might be required to share dinner with the big dogs, the Huskies.  Although bigger dogs can be fun, they can also demand to be alpha.  Read, they get more to eat.  Those big dog Huskies have big mouths too.  Not only do they eat more, they eat it faster.  Then, they start nosing round looking to eat my food.   I’ll just hide from the Huskies on the sofa until it’s time to eat.  Finally, it’s time for turkey.  The table is set and the food is hot.  I’ll call the people into the dining room while the Huskies are outside.  After dinner, a nice easy chair looks inviting, even though it’s not mine.  And, the chair only has enough room for one dog and perhaps, one small kid.  Are you kidding, it’s too cold and snowy to leave my cozy chair to do my duty outside.

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