Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
When I arrive, I explore one small area with my camera, perfecting the composition and waiting for the light to change. For this image, I took several photographs and stayed for over an hour before this particular scene emerged. When capturing the expanse of the prairie with a dramatic sky, I use wide-angle lenses, either a Canon EF-S 10-22mm or a 17-40mm ƒ/4L. Out on the plains, a set of hard-step, graduated ND filters are a must to hold back the intensity of light in the sky and reveal details in the foreground. Here, I used a three-stop, hard-step graduated ND filter coupled with my 10-22mm lens.
When photographing wildlife on the refuge, I use a 300mm ƒ/4 lens usually coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter for maximum reach. I always carry a sturdy, tall tripod that extends beyond the shoulder-high prairie grass. My tripod head of choice is a Manfrotto 3265 Grip Action Ball Head, which allows me to quickly recompose my composition if the action changes.
Wildlife is abundant at Boyer Chute—red foxes, beavers, badgers, coyotes and turtles can be spotted at various times throughout the year. The early spring and late fall months bring the migratory season and a variety of birds visiting on their journey. Expect to see sandhill cranes, pelicans, mallards, Canada geese, spotted sandpipers, snow geese and herons.
Contact: Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, www.fws.gov/midwest/boyerchute.
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