Bosque del Apache Photo Tour

Dawn Snow Goose blast-off, Bosque del Apache
~ photo by Jeff Parker, copyright 2012.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico is one of my favorite places and a must-do for a wildlife photographer. Mary and I met some friends there the first weekend in December. Our first morning held an extravagant sunrise display complete with a Snow Goose blast-off in front of the wild colors.

Seconds after taking the above picture I pulled away from the viewfinder and just stood there with a silly grin on my face and a tear in my eye. For a few minutes photography was forgotten and I just experienced one of the most moving sights I’ve ever witnessed.

Snow Goose silhouette against sunrise colors, Bosque del Apache.
photo by Jeff Parker; copyright 2012.

Soon enough I came to my senses and went back to attempting to capture the beauty of the morning through the camera. Early mornings were spent chasing silhouette images against the sunrise colors. As the color faded, we would head to the crane pools for some Sandhill Crane action.

Sandhill Crane action, Bosque del Apache; ~ by Jeff Parker.

The cranes provided lots of entertainment as they jostled, displayed, and got a running start for takeoff.

Sandhill Crane in flight above distant mountains, Bosque del Apache.
~ Photo by Jeff Parker

Bosque is the best place I’ve seen for practicing flight photography. At times the action is so fast and furious it’s hard to decide where to point your lens next. If you are new to flight photography and/or have difficulty acquiring your target with a big lens, this is the place to be. Miss a shot? Don’t fret as there will be hundreds of more opportunities to try again.

Sandhill Crane against pastel sky, Bosque del Apache.
Taken by Jeff Parker at one of his very favorite places.

When photographing into the sunrise or sunset remember to look behind you. The sky opposite the sun often turns pastel pink and blue. These sky conditions make great backgrounds for your flight photos.

Coyote, Bosque del Apache, New Mexico; ~ photo by Jeff Parker.

Bosque del Apache has plenty of other wildlife besides cranes and geese. Have a camera ready as you never know what you’ll see next. I got a grab shot of this coyote trotting along a refuge road.