I recently decided to go through my archives to see if I could find any images I had missed that might be worth printing. I don’t know why I passed this one up in the initial edit, but I’m glad I went back for another look; this is not the first time I have found a gem amongst the chaff of forgotten (digital) negatives. This photo was made two years ago; there are close to four hundred images in that folder, so maybe I was slightly delirious the first time I saw it.
I made eight exposures of these two cranes silhouetted against the evening sky, and this is the one where it all came together. Except for the lead bird’s beak, open in a raucous cry celebrating…the joy of flight?, or maybe just a full belly after feeding all day in the farm fields at the north end of the refuge; they are frozen, almost perfectly synchronous, in their return to their watery roost. Peter Matthiessen was right when he referred to cranes as the “Birds of Heaven”.
Equipment: Nikon D200, Nikon 300 mm f 4 lens.
Settings: ISO 320, f 9 @ 1/400 sec.
Processing: Contrast, clarity, and vibrance adjustments in Lightroom, curves and saturation adjustments in Photoshop.