Cherie from Getzville, NY
Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 01/03/13 - 01/07/13
I love Road Scholar programs that focus on photography. They have a limited number of participants in each program so that there is comfortable space for each person with their equipment. The leaders are experts in photography. I have attended 3 of them.
Tom from Oakland, CA
Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 01/03/12 - 01/07/12
A hint of winter sunlight appears over the New Mexico mountaintops. Our van pulls quietly into a dirt parking area next to a flooded plain. We speak in hushed tones. The predawn air is a crisp 29 degrees. We silently set up tripods and mount cameras in anticipation of the morning fly-out.
We see outlines â€“ large, gray, feathered humps of perhaps a thousand or more sleeping Greater Sandhill Cranes, heads and long necks tucked under their wings. They stand in the shallow water that helps protect them from marauding coyotes in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.
Iâ€™m bundled in layers, gloved fingers clumsily fiddling with camera settings. The dim dawn light glows brighter and brighter. A lone crane raises its head, standing its full height at about four feet. Its long, pointy beak opens as the rolling, rattling trumpet-like sound of its unique call emerges. It is joined by another, and another and another. The calls are now a noisy chorus.
To the southwest, we hear the honking of hundreds of Snow Geese. They glide across the sky, turning toward us and settle onto the pond just beyond the cranes. As daylight continues to spread, the white of the smaller geese is a contrast with the gray of the cranes. The cacophony is almost deafening as the Snow Geese, followed by the Sandhill Cranes begin to take flight, heading out for a day of feeding. First just a few take wing, then dozens, then hundreds and then a thousand. The sights and sounds are incredible.
I repeat this ritual of photographing these and other wildlife for three days in early January. I retired to pursuing my avocation, photography. I celebrated my first anniversary in retirement at Bosque del Apache with a group of 16 other amateur photographers under the tutelage of wildlife photographer Robert Winslow through the Mountains & Plains Institute of Lifelong Learning and Service out of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Road Scholar.