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Posts Tagged ‘Canada Geese’

It is almost impossible to take a good portrait of a group of youngsters, irrespective of species—they are invariably energetic and inquisitive, almost incapable of simultaneously looking at the camera.

Yesterday I encountered a family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) as I walked down a path at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. They too were strolling down the path, stopping to peck at the vegetation along the way. When they became aware of my presence, they slowly made their way to the water’s edge and slipped into the water.

The cute little goslings had already learned their lessons well and stayed in a tight little group right behind one of their parents. Once they had paddled a little way from shore, the babies, however, seemed to lose their focus and started to wander a bit. The adult in the rear of the little group, though, helped to bring them back into line as they silently swam away.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some birds are stealthy and fly silently through the skies. Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) would not fit into that category. They like to announce their presence for all to hear, like this pair that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge as they were coming in for a landing.

Unlike at the airport, there was no need for a loudspeaker to announce this landing.

Canada Geese

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Have you ever tried to shoot a group portrait? You get everyone lined up and facing the camera, but there is always one uncooperative subject. That was certainly the case with these Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) at a little suburban pond on Monday. The gaggle of geese was preening and cleaning themselves all in a row on a on a concrete bar sticking out of the water.

Canada Geese

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As the sun gradually illuminates the trees and burns off the mist on the water, Huntley Meadows Park is especially beautiful, especially at this time of the year, when the trees are showing off their changing colors. The park was silent when I arrived in the early morning darkness, but gradually I could hear the sounds of birds singing and I couldn’t help but notice the arrival of a small flock of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).

The colors of the foliage here in Northern Virginia are not as bold and striking as in some other parts of the country, but there is an understated beauty in the muted tones or red and yellow. I am not used to taking landscape-style shots (and a 150-600mm lens is probably not optimal for doing so), but I tried to capture some different scenes to give you a sense of the park where I take so many of my photographs. It’s a wondrous location, particularly when you consider that it is found in a suburban location.

autumn

autumn

autumn

autumn

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) are our constant companions at my favorite marshland park throughout the fall and the winter as the geese migrate south or choose to overwinter at the park. Several small flocks flew in yesterday, accompanied by the usual amount of honking and splashing to announce their arrival.

Folks at the park either love the geese or hate them (because of the mess they make). I enjoy seeing them and they provide me with lots of practice subjects to hone my skills in capturing birds in flight. Their interactions with each other are also fun to watch.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some of the reviews of my new Tamron 150-600mm lens suggest that it has trouble capturing birds in flight, so I was anxious to test out its capabilities and the Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) coming and going from my local marsh served as my initial test subjects.

These five geese were part of a larger group that was departing from the marsh and I started tracking them as they flew past me. Initially thought that one of the geese has flown out of the frame in the second image, but then I looked more closely and realized that all five were still there—the formation was really tight (or at least the compression caused by the long telephoto lens made it look that way.

Sometimes in the past I have had problems in grabbing focus on moving subjects, especially when the background is cluttered and is competing for focus. I was happy to see that I was able to acquire and hold focus pretty well and the geese are separated from the trees in the background.

I am learning how to manage this longer lens and, for example, still have trouble sometimes pointing the extended lens at a subject and then finding the subject in the viewfinder—the field of view is not very wide at 600mm. I plan to check out the different focus options for my camera to see if any of them will improve my changes of getting clearer shots.

Does it show that I’m pretty excited with my new lens? I’ll be sharing more images as I continue to practice and learn with it.

Canada Geese in flight

Five guys in flight

Tight Formation

Tight Formation

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some people love them and some people hate them, but there is no question that the arrival of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) signals the transition to a new season.

Yes, they are loud and often obnoxious. Yes, they are numerous and sometimes crowd out other species. Yes, their droppings are nasty and slippery. Despite all of that, I enjoy watching and photographing Canada Geese in the air and on the water.

There were only a dozen or so geese at my local marsh this past weekend, but I am well aware of the fact that this is only an advance party for the hundreds of geese that will move through this area, with some of them choosing to remain here for extended periods of time.  From the perspective of my blog, this is the first posting of the season dedicated to Canada Geese, but certainly not the last.

Canada GooseCanada Goose

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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