Take What You Get

Usually when I go out on a photography outing I go out with the intention of photographing a specific subject or subjects. One of my favorite photography subjects for this time of year are migratory birds that pass through our region as they migrate to their summer breeding areas. One of the best places in our area to see migratory birds is at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a drive to get there so I do not make the trip as often as I would like.

During this time of social distancing due to the Corona Virus I thought that going to the Monetezuma NWR would be the perfect activity because At the refuge there is a Wildlife Drive where you can literally drive around the main area of the refuge and stay in your car the entire time and watch and photograph birds. I assumed the Wildlife Drive would be open and did not check the website. That was a mistake. We arrived and the Wildlife Drive had not yet open for the season. I was able to check out other areas of the refuge and the nearby Montezuma Audubon Center. Due to my miscalculation regarding the wildlife drive I wasn’t able to see many birds or create many good photographs.

You can see Photographs from this trip in this Gallery.

Hiding from the waves behind our car.

On the way up to Montezuma I wanted to stop at Seneca Lake State Park at the northern end of Seneca Lake. It is always a nice place to stop and relax. There are gorgeous scenic views of the lake. Great for some scenic photography. There is also often birds around to photograph, which would fit in with my current plans for the day.

When we arrived at Seneca Lake State Park the scenery was not quite what I expected. The wind was whipping and it was cause huge waves to form on the lake. The waves were crashing on the storm break along the end of the lake so hard that the water was slashing up over the bank and onto the walking trails. I’ve been to this park on multiple occasions and never experienced anything quite like this.

This was a really interesting opportunity to create some photography. Luckily I had been prepared and brought my tripod with me. The challenge was going to be keeping myself and my equipment and myself dry. I did not come prepared for a water event. I started off getting out of the car and hiding out on the side of the car away from the lake. I was able to stay dry while the water splattered all over the car. I took several photographs from that location while looking for a way to move to a new location.

Sometimes you get distracted and forget your preparations. You can see the water spots I forgot to clean off while shooting.

I took a cloth to wipe my lens off with should it get wet and then I quickly moved to a position hiding behind a large tree. From this new location I was able to get some interesting views and different unique angles. I really wanted to try working with different shutter speeds and different exposure times. I was really interested in seeing what kind of interesting photographs I could create by adjusting these settings. Photographing moving water this way is one of my favorite types of photography.

Eventually I backed off and moved across the road to try to take some photographs of the waves out on the lake head on. I thought I would be at a safe distance to stay dry but with he crashing eaves and whipping wind I was sadly mistaken. But since I took a cloth with me to keep my lens clear one would have thought that I would have kept the cloth at the ready and periodically cleaned my lens so that my images would not have water spots on them. However, I got too wrapped up in the photography action and never remembered to clean my lens. Luckily I was still able to capture some nice images.

I set out with the intention of photographing migrating birds but found my best photos and most enjoyment for the day while photographing Seneca Lake before I ever arrived at my main destination for the day. Sometimes when you are a nature and wildlife photographer you have to accept that things will not go as you had planned and find enjoyment in what you are presented with.

I added some of my photographs from this trip to my gallery Bodies of Water and you can see them there.

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