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My colleague and I frequent a national preserve near Buffalo that has an abundance of wildlife and avian dwellers. The Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is located near Alabama, New York right in the middle of Buffalo and Rochester. The site is one of the over 500 wildlife refuges managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife service. There was a time last year we visited the refuge multiple times a week, however the winter months take a toll on the land and between hunters & the lack of consistent wildlife it is difficult to maintain a schedule for shooting there. However as January rolls around the wildlife begins to return, especially the Eagles who begin repairing and building up their nest for the spring and summer. Throughout all of our visits there I have not been able to get a usable photo of the Iroquois eagles, whom we’ve named George, and this will be the mission for 2011.
Wildlife photography is great on multiple levels. The first that comes to mind is the fact you’re documenting life in a very pure and innocent form. Due to the vast amount of land it is considerably easy to view wildlife from afar with a 300-400+mm lens without disturbing any habitats. The other reason I enjoy spending hours upon hours in one spot observing nature is that it’s a great exercise in patience, which I’ll admit is one of my less than strong points. A wildlife photographer can and will spend hours and days waiting for that one shot you’ve been wanting – and then who knows if you’ll be able to react quietly and effectively enough to take the shot properly.
This shot was taken last fall at Iroquois, converted to B&W in Aperture using Nik’s Silver Efex plugin. The sky that day was very consistently overcast, which is why I was able to adjust the contrast and levels to whiten the sky in the background. Iroquois has many Herron’s that nest on the grounds and sun in the marshes, they’re quite abundant and any photographer who shoots there will easily find Herron’s to shoot. Eagles on the other hand, don’t get me started.