Sandhill Cranes captured by Z 6II / 800f5.6 AFS

My first time was just as magical as my last time last December to my favorite New Mexico Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, Bosque del Apache. In Nov ’85 I went to Bosque not prepared in any sense of the word for the experience. I definitely did not have warm enough clothing. I ran short of film (yeah, this was film days) the third of my fifth day there. And especially the visual and audible experience this very special piece of our wild heritage Bosque protects. Many ask, “Has it changed?” The answer is a resounding YES and I regret, not for the better. Water is the heart of Bosque and every year, there is less and with less water, so there are fewer birds. And people, they have increased in number and decreased in field ethics and craft. The combination has made the photography not even the same as the “good ‘ol days.” We are so fortunate to have the Refuge system that we do! We are still guests of nature though, we are entering their home and we’re not being the good guests we should be. Managers are having to “corral” us to protect this fragile and vanishing resource. I still say today what I’ve said since the first time to Bosque, it’s one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Everyone, everyone should it experience more than once!

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