Back from Monte Vista

Sandhill Cranes by Gary Gray
Sandhill Cranes in Flight

The Greater Sandhill Cranes that migrate through Monte Vista are the same group of birds found in Bosque del Apache from December – February.

Each year, the town of Monte Vista hosts the Sandhill Crane Festival, normally around mid-March. I don’t attend the festival as it’s a bit too crowded and hectic. My trips to Monte Vista are normally during the week before or after the festival

There are hotels in Monte Vista and nearby Alamosa. I typically stay in Alamosa due to the infrastructure. Monte Vista is more of a sleepy town, and has its’ own charm; though, I’m not going there to be charmed by anything except birds.

In the coming days I’ll discuss the general concepts and techniques of photographing these magnificent creatures.

Sandhill Cranes of Monte Vista

Sandhill Cranes by Gary Gray
Sandhill Cranes in Monte Vista

I’ll be heading to Monte Vista, Colorado this week to photograph the annual Sandhill Crane migration.

I don’t make this trip every year so it is time to update the portfolio and play with some new gear.

Stay tuned for photos.


Heron Photograph by Gary Gray
Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is what I refer to as an LST.  (Large, Slow Target)

As an LST, it’s easy to fall in to the trap of taking the easy shots. I fight that urge constantly and growing older doesn’t make success come easier.  No, it’s always better to try something a little different, to push the edges, to get a shot you don’t have.

There is a park near my house where the herons nest every year. You may have heard me refer to it as the tree in the lake. There are; however, three different lakes within a quarter mile circumference so I don’t always work from the most common and comfortable photographic vantage point.

On occasion, one or more of the nesting Herons will leave the nest for an extended visit to one of the other lakes.

Yesterday, I followed this Heron to a shallow area in the lake full of cat-tails and reeds. They sometimes hunt these waters for small fish, crayfish and other water critters

I’ve worked these birds in this location for many years but there are shots I have yet to get as things don’t occur when you want them to occur.

The real trick to wildlife photography.  Persistence and Patience

The Tree in the Lake

Bird Photography by Gary Gray
Double-crested Cormorants Sing Their Mating Songs

With Spring waiting to spring here in the Denver area, migratory birds are beginning to make their way in to the suburban lakes.

One of my favorite locations is a large lake about 5 mile to my north. In the middle of the lake is an island. On that island, cormorants, blue heron, ducks, geese, American avocets and numerous other species gather for the summer.

Today, I broke out the Nikon D800, which is still a fine camera by the way, with a Nikkor 200-500mm VR.

So long as the weather allows, I’ll be out there often to keep track of the progress of Spring mating for these critters.

Great Blue Heron Mating Pair by Gary Gray
Great Blue Heron – Mating Pair

Stay Tuned!

The Conclusion of Deer Photography Season

Seasonal cycles.

I consider October through February my primary season to photograph deer in Colorado. My first choice for locating both mule deer and white-tailed deer is Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, though I have other locations along Colorado’s front range that I visit as well.

In Colorado, mating season is over, the bucks have begun dropping their antlers and I’ve wrapped up my seasonal deer photography for 2017-18.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite deer photographs from the past few months.

I’ll spare you the flowery descriptions and camera settings.

It’s all about the photos.
Thanks for visiting.

Moose Monday

Moose Photography by Gary Gray
Bull Moose Sheds Velvet

A fresh start to a new week.

These days, I prefer weekdays to weekends. Being semi-retired, I’ve become accustomed to doing my local business when traffic and crowds are more thin.

A little relief from the Winter cabin fever we have been suffering from with a drive into the mountains yesterday to visit Trudy’s sister in Bailey, CO.  I always take a camera with me on the chance that there may be wildlife in the area. Mid day though, isn’t exactly when the moose are going to be hanging around the local stream.


So, I’ll start the new week out staring out the window at the fresh white stuff while I drink a tall cup of hot Dunkin Donuts coffee and work on getting more stock photos uploaded to the agencies.

Been watching the Winter Olympics, but honestly, I just can’t get in to it. I’m all for “Team USA” rah, rah, rah, and I hope we win lots of medals and everyone gets famous. The best part of it is the distraction from the political bullshit that has engulfed the US. Driven by everyone’s need to out scream everyone else and the lies are at a record crescendo it appears.

Who do you trust?  I don’t trust blatant liars, I know that much.

We’ll do our job come election day I reckon.

Small Surprises

Bird in Flight by Gary GrayI was thinking of posting a photo of Great Blue Herons today but to my surprise I found a nice sequence of this Cormorant sitting undiscovered amongst the photos of the herons.

Small surprises are the best I think.

Trending on Thursday

Photography by Gary Gray
A herd of buffalo at the base of the The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado

The Bison are part of the herd at Wolf Springs Ranch in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Westcliffe, Colorado. With over 55,000 acres of land, you can purchase this property for a mere 49 million dollars.

If you’re looking for a good place for Colorado outdoor photography, try exploring what the Sangre de Cristo Mountains have to offer.