Canada Geese, Mississippi River, Mud Lake, Iowa,

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200mm / f4, @70 mm, 1/1250s, f/6.3, ISO800

During my recent presentation at the Dubuque Camera Club about storytelling in wildlife photography I stated to take the camera with us, wherever we may go. I’m sure glad I did tonight when I took Cooper, the dog, down to the Mississippi River for a walk. The sun had disappeared already behind the bluffs, light was fading away fast, and I thought there wouldn’t be much to photograph. And boy, was I wrong! Hundreds of Canada Geese crossed the river in groups, flying towards the setting sun.

There were at least two ways to make a click and tell the story, and I tried to accomplish both. In the western sky was the glow of the setting sun with some hazy clouds, and to the east, over the river, was the moon. The shot aiming the lens at the sunset was indeed predictable. The geese fly in V-formation and I wanted to bring that somehow in connection with the clouds and the sun light.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 70-200mm / f4, @70 mm, 1/500s, f/5, ISO800

The other photo, with the geese flying “through” the moon, required a little bit of luck. Many flocks crossed the Mississippi this evening and I just waited for the right moment. You can’t really pan with the camera, follow the flock, and shoot with a slower shutter speed in order to keep the ISO low and the digital noise out of the picture. This would result in an even more blurred moon. I had to set ISO to 800 for maintaining a shutter speed of 1/500s. Not that this one is perfect, but it was pretty much how I saw it with the thin layer of haze in front of it.