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Entries in Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (2)

Monday
Mar212011

Photos of Fire and Ice from Bosque Del Apache

At Bosque Del Apache every winter, cranes and geese flock to make this man-made wildlife refuge their home. Man-made ponds irrigated by the Rio Grande River present an ideal habitat for these migratory birds that head south for warmer temperatures. This past year I visited there to photograph this migration. With one last image uncaptured I returned for a second week of photography to capture a specific meteorologic happening.

New Mexico can be quite cold in the winter and the cold temperatures have the potential to freeze the ponds. When this happens, the cold air from the frozen ponds rises toward, what could only be, slightly warmer air above and creates an ethereal look. The steam that rises off of the glowing ice makes it look like a whole different planet. On the morning that I made these images, the temperature was 9 degrees fahrenheit and the ponds were frozen solid. The cranes and geese were huddled together on top of the ice just before the morning blast off. The heat from their bodies created a beautiful steam that glowed in the light of the sun which had just crested over the mountains east of the Bosque behind them. On this morning there were hundreds of geese, a few dozen cranes, and two hungry coyotes occupying this particular pond.

I could almost feel the birds shivering out there. With about 8 layers of clothes on I could still feel the chill of the sub-freezing temperature. The ice appeared to be on fire as the light of the sun penetrated through their feathers leaving the warmth behind.

























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