I’ve made trips out to the Skagit Valley nearly every year since moving out west to seek opportunities to get some nice shots of vast flocks of snow geese. So far I haven’t succeeded with snow geese, at least not really, but I have gotten some beautiful photographs as a result of these attempts, including these.
The top image is a shot of Mount Baker towering over a farm on Fir Island. The lower one is a group of swans flying in a nice elegant formation. I tripped the shutter several times while panning with them to get this shot, and picked out the one where the geese had the most pleasing formation, and where the wingbeats were almost exactly in sync. This isn’t a black and white conversion, it was an overcast day so the sky was grey, and the swans are mostly black and white.
I pulled these images out of my archives partly because I like them, and partly because I’m planning on trying again this season; this time I have the advantage of having explored the area a bit more, and found places where snow geese like to spend their days.
The challenge of course is that, being birds, they get around quite a bit. They like to find themselves quiet places in the water to rest overnight, where they’re relatively safe from predators, and head out to feed during the day. There are several wildlife sanctuaries in the Skagit Valley that are set aside for snow geese in particular, and more that are more generally protected. The ones set aside for snow geese have farmers contracted to seed the fields with goose food, which has helped restore the population of the Wrangel Island geese that winter here in Washington.
I’m going to be working with Art on the Ridge to lead a workshop/safari in February to chase snow geese, so it will be an opportunity to come along for the ride and get a tour if you’re so inclined. If you’re interested, subscribe to my blog or my newsletter, or to the Art on the Ridge newsletter. Or some combination of those three.