Sandhill Cranes at Kensington Metropark

Last weekend, my friend Raaj and I ventured to Kensington Metropark in southeast Michigan.  Our goal was to see what we could photograph in overcast, drizzly conditions.  When I entered the park,  a pair of relatively tame sandhill cranes stood off the side of the road.  What an exciting surprise!  I had never been so close to these birds in my other endeavors, and would have stopped to shoot, except that I was already late meeting up with Raaj.  I hoped that I would run into them again before the day was out.

Sandhill Cranes @ Kensington Metropark

Sandhill Crane @ Kensington Metropark
200-500mm @500 mm, 1/320 s, f/9, ISO 1600

After there or four hours had passed, I wasn’t having too much luck with my shooting of dreary lake- and landscapes.  And, we were both getting tired after a morning of shooting (yes, it can be a bit of work making photos).   As I was driving us to Raaj’s car, we discovered the cranes along the way.  I pulled over and started shooting out my window.  The cranes were backlit by reflections off of Kent Lake, which is what gives the white background in the headshot, above.

Sandhill Cranes – Second Sighting

Sandhill Cranes @ Kensington Metropark

Sandhill Crane @ Kensington Metropark
200-500mm @500 mm, 1/320 s, f/8, ISO 1600

Then, as luck would have it, I came upon another pair of sandhill cranes as I exited the park.  This time, I pulled over and got out of my car.  The birds seemed oblivious to my presence and I suspect I could have gotten much closer without disturbing them.  But, I didn’t want to risk over-stressing them and was excited to be even this close.  When I had photographed cranes in more wild conditions, I was much, much farther away.  In this situation, with the birds comfortable with people, I had plenty of time to shoot, and I was plenty close enough to capture their preening behavior, as above.

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