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Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is one of my favorite shooting locations in WNY. I could go there everyday for a week and find a new location or subject to shoot. If you’re not familiar with Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge it is located in Shelby, NY – about thirty minutes from Buffalo and 10 minutes from the exit 48a on the New York State Thruway. The wetlands of Iroquois are fed from Oak Orchard Creek which is fed by Lake Ontario. This massive and nearly 11,000 acre reserve is home to so much wildlife that it would be ignorant for me to try and put a number on it.
I go to Iroquois as often as I can, usually with my photographer pal Nick Austen. I try and head there so often mainly because it’s so peaceful there and I can enjoy a pre-iphone world (much of Iroquois is either edge network or a dead zone). Being in the field of photography and media puts you behind a computer quite often, and there are times where I feel like I’m isolated from the world and nature way more than I’d like to be. Forcing myself to go to a place that is inspiring to me helps my creative process and helps cleanse my mind of all the day to day clutter. For me, Iroquois is like a church for a religious person. It is the place I go to and find peace of mind and solace.
I went to Iroquois around 5:30am on May 20th. It is always rough getting up early on a weekend, especially when I work at 3am Monday through Friday. But the opportunity to go to Iroquois for a sunrise is always appealing and usually too good to pass up.
When we rolled up on the general area of Iroquois we noticed a nice morning fog rising from the wetlands and lingering low to the surface. The orange glow from the impending sunrise was beginning to light up Iroquois. The Great Blue Herons were leaving their nests to stretch their wings and hunt their morning meal.
The morning fog at Iroquois created a nice soft light as the sun was about to rise over the wetlands (see above). The back lighting and fog created a very serene landscape, especially with the birdhouse in the foreground.
As I walked along the road and ditch, I began to notice these little spider webs intertwined among the budding vegetation. I crotched down and waited for the sun to rise over the horizon and fired away (left).
I’m always inspired by what I discover at Iroquois. Whether it’s an Osprey, Heron or something as subtle as spider webs on vegetation – I always find a unique image that I haven’t made before. I recommend checking out. I’ve set up a schemer about the location. I hope people check it out and post any stories they have at Iroquois.