Cranes on Fire

sandhill cranes in flight

Shot with Pentax K-x on auto w/ 55-300 telephoto lens

There was serious sandhill crane action Thursday afternoon at the Bernardo Wildlife Area south of Albuquerque. My wife’s sole objective for the trip was to see a single one, and there were thousands! Cranes in the empty fields, cranes in the corn. Cranes in the air, cranes on the road. We’ve never been anywhere where running over cranes is any kind of danger. Well, guess what.

These two were moving right along. You can see the little rocket thrusters in their wingtips and the glow from inboard power units. They landed safely, I am happy to report, and the dry grass didn’t burn.

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John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • christian ienni January 10, 2014, 11:57 PM

    godDAMN, John!!! that is an AMAZING shot!!!!!
    man, you should be selling framed prints of your photos in a gallery for a hundred bucks a pop! 🙂

    • christian ienni January 11, 2014, 12:01 AM

      i write that, THEN remember that “oh yeah! he sells prints right here through smugmug! duh!” 😉
      even so, this is still some seriously gallery-worthy work!

      • JHF January 11, 2014, 12:59 AM

        Thanks! And yes, I could take this more seriously. I’m wholly self-taught. No pretending here. I’ve also always been very respectful of the skill and dedication of professional photographers and would never presume to be a member of that league. But I love to take pictures, and as an art form of mine, it occasionally succeeds. Using that just means being there at the right place or moment and knowing what I like.

        The world is changing in a big way for photographers, however. Have you seen this or the preceding article?

        • Joe January 11, 2014, 9:45 AM

          JHF, I was a photojournalist 31 years and loved it. I hated to have a day off the job. I retired in 2004 and have a nifty little point-and-shoot now but seldom use it. There’s something missing with all the tech stuff out there today. Something personal. I still like looking at great photos like you put up on this thing.
          And I must say, you do make some fantastic photographs. You really should consider talking with a gallery about hanging some of your work.

  • Marti Fenton January 11, 2014, 12:16 AM

    Amazing! Such a powerful and haunting shot. Perfect composition, and you caught it.

    • JHF January 11, 2014, 1:08 AM

      Thanks, Marti. A major part of the composition comes from cropping, of course. But there they were and so was I.

  • MaryMartin January 11, 2014, 5:51 PM

    What an awesome picture!! I wonder, do they all fly in sync?

    • JHF January 11, 2014, 8:52 PM

      Surely not! It must just happen once in a while.

  • John January 12, 2014, 10:21 AM

    Actually the cranes do seem to fly in sync more often than chance would seem to predict. Magnificent birds. Great shot John. Thanks for inspiring me to pay a visit to them at Bernardo yesterday. John

    • JHF January 12, 2014, 4:28 PM

      Hey, John! You know, I just looked through all the rest of my photos from that day, and you’re absolutely right. Numerous examples of flying in sync! I’ll post more eventually.

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