Category Archives: Bosque del Apache

New Mexico & Arizona Highlights 2014

photoventuresEarly December saw me travelling to the USA for the second time in 2014. The primary purpose of the visit was photograph White Sands National Monument and Bosque del Apache. However, as has been the case on past visits we spent the first  three days travelling along Route 66 between Albuquerque (New Mexico) and Holbrook (Arizona). The trip was organised by Roger Reynolds at Photoventures.net who has travelled to these locations on many previous occasions and knows the area very well. The route map as recorded on my trusty Garmin eTrex Vista GPS device is shown below.

The weather conditions varied quite a bit, which made some of the locations a lot more photogenic than was the case when I made a similar trip in late December 2010. This was especially the case when we visited the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook. It had been raining heavily just prior to our arrival.

Kachina Point, Painted Desert

Kachina Point, Painted Desert

After the Rain, The Tepees, Petrified Forest National Park

From Holbrook we travelled across to Bosque del Apache. Along the way we stopped to photograph the Very Large Array near Socorro. Again, it had been raining just prior to our arrival.

Truck in the Rain, Plains of San Augustin

Radio Telescope, Very Large Array, Plains of San Augustin

We spent four very productive days at Bosque del Apache. As always there were plenty of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese, but two my favourite photographs from this part of the trip are shown below.

Red-tailed Hawk, Bosque del Apache

Sandhill Cranes and Moon, Bosque del Apache

More photographs from the trip can be seen the gallery.

All photos were taken on Canon EOS 5D MkIII or Canon EOS 7D MkII. Post processing was carried out in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC 2014.

Day 10 – Arizona and New Mexico Photo Shoot

Day 10 began and ended with trips around the various ponds and marshes at Bosque del Apache. The following images are a small sample of those taken during the early morning and late afternoon.

Sandhill Cranes in Early Morning Light

Pintail Ducks in Flight

Sandhill Cranes in Flight

Shoveler Duck

Pintail Duck

Snow Geese Blast-off

Snow Goose Landing

Sandhill Crane Landing

Day 9 – Arizona and New Mexico Photo Shoot

This is our last day in White Sands. So, like previous days we headed off to catch the early morning light before travelling back to Bosque del Apache for another couple of days bird photography.

The early morning light in White Sands was particularly good and the opportunities for making interesting images was further improved by the delicate cloud formations that developed during the morning.

Morning Light, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Our journey back to Bosque del Apache was along US  Route 54, which took us past the site of the Three Rivers Petroglyphs.

The Three Rivers Petroglyphs site is one of the few locations set aside solely because of its rock art. It’s also one of the few sites were visitors have direct access to petroglyphs. With over 21,000 petroglyphs the site at Three Rivers is one of the largest and most interesting rock art sites in the Southwest.

Rock Art, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site, New Mexico

We arrived back at Socorro mid afternoon, but rather than check into our motel we decided to finish the afternoon off with some bird photography at Bosque del Apache. The following are just two of the many hundreds taken before sunset. Hopefully, I’ll capture a lot more in the remaining two days of my trip to the US.

Snow Geese in Flight

Snow Goose Landing

Snow Goose Preparing to Land

Day 4-6 – Arizona and New Mexico Photo Shoot

We’ve been in Socorro three days now and the photography at Bosque del Apache is excellent.

Bosque del Apache, which means “woods of the Apache” in Spanish was originally named for the people who often camped in the riverside forest. Today, it is more widely known as one of the most spectacular Refuges in North America. The refuge straddles the Rio Grande Valley in Socorro County, New Mexico, and covers some 57,000 acres. Here, tens of thousands of birds including sandhill cranes, snow geese, and many kinds of ducks -gather each autumn and stay through the winter. Snow geese erupt in explosions of wings when frightened by a stalking coyote. At dawn and dusk, flight after flight of geese and cranes can be seen flying between specially prepared corn fields and their roosting areas in the marshes.

The following images are just a small selection of the many species of birds that I’ve managed to photograph over the past  three days.

Snow Goose Preparing for Take-off

Sandhill Cranes at Take-off

Snow Geese in Flight at Sunrise

Bald Eagle

Sandhill Crane in Flight

Red-tailed Hawk in  Flight

Great Blue Heron

Snow Goose in Flight

Equipment used included: Canon EOS 7D and 5D Mark II with Canon 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 L IS Zoom lens and Canon 400mm f5.6 L telephoto lens. All images were shot in raw mode and processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. Lightroom 3’s new noise reduction algorithms were particularly helpful in dealing with the luminance noise present in images shot at high ISO values (i.e. 800 and higher). Where necessary image retouching Adobe Photoshop CS5.