I crept cautiously through the damp grass along the tree line following the dim calls of the huddled geese. I was only rocking a 28-70 on my A7M2 so I needed to be close. As I crossed the road the geese slowly materialized from a dense fog wall hugging the Conodiguinet Creek that sat behind them.
I could tell I had been spotted by a number of the flock. They grew agitated and more weary with each step I took. I sought refuge behind, what I can only assume was, a weeping willow tree. The geese seemed to relax a bit so I started snapping some shots of them between the willow stalactites. I am quite happy with the results. Although I do believe I’ll revisit the post production of the images, as I’ve learned a few new tricks that I’d love to employ.
With each unacknowledged snap of the shutter I grew more confident and eventually willing to move from comfort of my cover. I twisted my lens 70mm and slowly crept closer. I imagine my attempt at stealth rendered me as a slightly better dressed Quasimoto limping through the field, eye pressed camera. I wasn’t able to get close enough to isolate any of the individual birds so I chose to shoot the entire flock set against the backdrop of the foggy Conodoguinet.
After feeling satisfied of my shots I stood up and walked directly away from the geese and then turned upstream. Careful not to make eye contact with any of the weary aviary, I slipped passed them and once again took refuge behind yet another ent. From this position I was slightly closer to the outliers of the flock and was able to include the geese, my brother and the bridge in the frame. Ideally I would have been shooting with a 70-200, or maybe even something longer, but thems the breaks. It makes no difference to complain about the conditional tense. It can always be different.
Numerous times I tried to move closer to the geese, but each attempt was met with quacks and agitation. There was no shaking it, the trees were going to be part of the photos. Of course I could have jacked up my shutter speed, cranked down my aperture, bolstered my ISO and ran head-on at the geese snapping frantically as they scurried and flew away. But that would have broken one of my golden rules, “Thou shall not harsh other’s mellows.” They were just there kickin’ it, enjoying the view as I was. Who am I to interrupt that?
Eventually hunger won out and we decided to head back to the rig to start the journey home. All in all, not a bad hour or so of shooting. Of course the fog propped everything up and made it all so moody and dramatic. It gave me a great opportunity to experiment with some post processing techniques and a lesson in making due with what you got.