In my lightboxes:
- Title: Blast Off
- State/Province/Region: North Carolina
- Country: United States
- Nearest Area: Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
- Nearest Town: Columbia
- Brief Directions: The refuge is located six miles south of Columbia, NC off Highway 94 on the east and 18 miles south of Plymouth, NC on Highway 45 on the west. The refuge headquarters and Walter B. Jones, Sr. Center for the Sounds is located on the south side of Highway 64 on the Scuppernong River in Columbia, NC.
- Best Season: Winter
- Description: In winter, the Pocosin Lakes NWR abounds with migrating and wintering snow geese. I'd gotten up about 3:30 a.m. and left my Dare County home in order to be on the refuge at daybreak. I'd never before witnessed a massive blast-off, where thousands of birds take to the sky en masse. That morning, the birds began to feed in fields very close to the road and blasted off several times only to circle around the fields and settle back into the furrows. Although I set up initially with a long lens, I switched to wide angle to better convey the large numbers of birds both on the ground, flying in the foreground, and in the far background sky. The side lighting, some thin clouds, and clear, cold air (it is usually very humid here) combined with the presence of thousands of birds made this a lifetime experience and resulted in one of my favorite bird images in flight.
- Gear: Nikon D700; Nikkor 16-35mm; ISO 250; f/7.1, 1/800
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