Sandhill Cranes Linger In The Fire Mist

Equipment Info
Canon Canon EOS 7D
Nearest Area
Bosque del Apache NWR
Brief Directions

North of the Flight Deck, Bosque del Apache NWR, NM


Image captured during a workshop with Rick Sammon and Juan Ponds, December 2011. The temperature was - 3 deg F after a storm dumped 6 in. of snow on the refuge. Conditions were ideal for the backlit morning mist to light up like it was on fire. I wrote a blog post for Rick Sammon about taking this image:


"A new day has begun on the crane marsh. A sense of time lies thick and heavy in such a place. ... The cranes stand, as it were, upon the sodden pages of their own history." Aldo Leopold,“Marshland Elegy,” A Sand County Almanac At Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near San Antonio, NM, Sandhill Cranes linger in the Morning Mist while Snow Geese depart for the corn fields. It was -3 deg F after a snowstorm dumped 6" of snow on southern NM, and the mist rising from the refuge ponds turned to fire as the sun cleared the horizon. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge recently posted this on Facebook and used my image to explain the mist.: A common question from photographers at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is, "where/how do I photograph the steam/fog/hot springs?" The "steam/fog" seen forming above wetlands is not actually the result of liquid water boiling to gas form (there are no hot springs here); but rather is a process of condensation as water vapor in the air directly above lake surfaces is cooled by the low temperature of the surface water. The effect is usually most pronounced in winter months following cold clear nights. Water just below the surface remains warmer so that vapor still forms above the lake; but the chilled surface causes the vapor to condense into a misty layer of "steam/fog."

Date Added
March 17, 2014
Date Taken
March 17, 2014