Bosque del Apache

|||Bosque del Apache

Bosque del Apache

By |2018-08-14T09:58:59+00:00December 30th, 2017|Categories: Videos|Tags: , |32 Comments

In November and December I attended a bird photography workshop in Bosque del Apache led by Scott Bourne. Over the past ten years I would continually see him share beautiful photos of this area and decided that it was time I gave bird photography a try. It is a subject that I had never given any serious attempt or study, and I learned a lot of bird photography tips on light, composition, and even post-processing that I plan on sharing in another article.

I enjoy creating videos with my work and putting them to music, so in-between my still images I snuck in some video footage as well.  If you are considering a trip to view or photograph the birds, this gives you a good feel for what to expect. All of the footage you see below was created using the FUJIFILM X-T2 and 100–400mm lens (with 1.4x).

One thing that struck me most about this trip was the sound of the birds. The cranes have a beautiful song, which you can hear early in the morning before the snow geese arrive. But the volume increase when the geese are flying in to land in the pond. And then, when the geese blast off all at once (which we witnessed almost every single morning on this trip), it’s like a train passing over your head. (If you watch the video below you’ll see this even happen at around 1:46.) Overall the trip was a fantastic experience and I am considering another trip next year. And, one of the few advantages of living in Nebraska is that we will also have another sandhill crane migration in a few months, which will give me an opportunity to photograph the birds in a different environment. I have been told that the location is much more strict and not as “photographer friendly”, but I’m excited to see the birds again and look forward to putting my newly-learned skills to use again.

Watch the Video

View footage of my trip to Bosque del Apache, New Mexico:

Music by Kai Engel

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About the Author:

Nicole S. Young is a professional photographer and published author whose love of photography and teaching has grown into an online business where she creates training materials and resources for other photographers. Nicole is best known for her books on food photography, but is widely versed in a variety of photographic genres, including landscape, travel, lifestyle, and even underwater photography. You can learn more about Nicole's work on her website,


  1. 34lynwoodWilliam Dobson January 9, 2018 at 3:28 am - Reply

    Wonderful video Nicole, hope you do some more.

  2. John St Clair January 9, 2018 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Loved the video and the soundtrack accompanying it is wonderfully atmospheric. Keep up the good work.

  3. Man January 9, 2018 at 9:49 am - Reply

    Very nice: brava

  4. Rich Ball January 9, 2018 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Nicole – Your video was great. And I hope your efforts on the Nebraska Sand Hill Crane flyway are productive as well. A long time ago I was visiting my sister in Omaha around Thanksgiving. We got up one morning and went out to the Desoto Bend National Wildlife refuge on the Missouri. We were there before dawn. A bunch of people were in a blind there. Right at daybreak someone made a noise and thousands of geese took flight off of an oxbow lake there. It gave me goose bumps.

    Bottom line – go check it out its close to home and I’m sure there are some great photos to be had.

    Rich B

    • Nicole S. Young January 9, 2018 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hi Rich! I do plan on photographing the Sandhill Cranes here in Nebraska … it’s about a three-hour drive from where I live, so it’s nice and close and will make a nice short photo trip for me and Brian.

      • Rich Ball January 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        Do plan on exploring Desoto Bend National Wild Life Refuge. I only had a half day there but someday I hope to be back.
        Check out the web site.

        I’ve been looking forward to what you and Brian will do photographically out on the plains and sand hills of Nebraska and South Dakota.

        Rich Ball

  5. Ray Johnson January 9, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Like one of my favorite Eagles songs, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, is what I felt watching your excellent video. Keep them coming. Also, I have learned a ton about Luminar with your free video series. Keep those coming as well, and let me know when your full Luminar video course will be released.

  6. John Wearing January 9, 2018 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    A wonderful video Nicole, beautiful. I loved watching all the birds take off, that was an incredible sight

  7. Greg Steffen January 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Wonderful, I love the Sand Hills. What were the other birds? It was gorgeous!

  8. Paul January 9, 2018 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Beautiful video! thanks for posting it.

  9. Dan Cooksey January 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    We live in Corrales, New Mexico which is about 2 1/2 hours North of the Bosque del Apache. We’ve been there several times. Your video does an excellent job of capturing the essence and spirit of the place. The Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, Canada Geese, tons of ducks, several Bald Eagles, many hawks and owls and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a coyote stalking for it’s next meal. Finally, if you’re unbelievably fortunate, you’ll see one of the few mountain lions that roam the area. In our little village of Corrales we have about 2 – 3 dozen Sandhill Cranes that spend the winter with us. Starting in late February through the middle of March, the cranes fly back North squawking all the way as they pass overhead. Well done.

  10. Roger Maillette January 9, 2018 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Very nice photography, music and montage!!

    I about to go back doing videos with my pictures and you kind of ‘put the pressure’ on me as a project for 2018!


  11. Neil Wiley January 9, 2018 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing. It was so beautiful that I cried.

  12. David Kell January 9, 2018 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Great video. Please make more like this.

  13. inabech January 10, 2018 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Beautiful, peacefult, soothing

  14. Paul January 10, 2018 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Excellent video. Makes you want to be there.

  15. Scott McGonagle January 10, 2018 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Love the video! Well done! One question, did you recored your sound track straight to the camera using a microphone or the one in the camera?

    • Nicole S. Young January 10, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply

      The audio was all in-camera, I didn’t use an external mic or anything like that. At the time of recording I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use the audio, there were a lot of people around and sometimes their talking and/or shutter noises got into the audio. I did a small amount of editing to the audio to make it work with the video and cover up some of those noises, but did my best to keep it all as organic as possible.

      • Scott McGonagle January 12, 2018 at 8:21 am - Reply

        Thanks again Nicole for the follow up! Fantastic!


  16. mordehai sela January 10, 2018 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    It is a beautiful video that reminds a trip to the northern wetlands in Israel in October ‘ the area is the crossing path of cranes up tp 30.000 birds ,pelicans and others on the way to Africa, your Luminar series are great and I started to use it , keep on with your good work

  17. Jim Pottkotter January 10, 2018 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    You have a real talent with nature video. I hope you do more. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Adam January 11, 2018 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Hi Nicole, thanks for sharing. It’s a pretty awesome, humbling, and captivating experience to watch these birds, no? Recently, I returned from seeing the Eurasian Crane migration in the Hula Valley in Israel. Unfortunately, they aren’t geared for photographers and they are extremely protective of the Cranes. Even with long lenses, they were pretty distant and skittish. We’re you shooting in blinds and what tips do you have for those traveling to Bosque?

  19. Paulina Nelega January 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Goosebumps, it was so beautiful – the imagery, editing, sound – everything.I felt transported there, it was so evocative. Even the ‘train’ of snow geese flying overhead was serene, and the music you chose, enhanced it all wonderfully. Thank you for creating this video and sharing the wonder of this spot with us. As others have said, I hope you will do more.

  20. mordehai sela January 12, 2018 at 7:43 am - Reply

    in the Hula valley in Israel they have tractors that are disguised so the birds come in a range of 75 -100 mm lens , many times they let you off the tractor and you get near the cranes especially during feeding hours [ 3 times a day ] but you have to book the trip

  21. Glen A. Fox January 12, 2018 at 10:31 am - Reply

    You are doing very well at bird photography, and as a videographer! I grew up in Saskatchewan, and many of the cranes and geese you saw passed through there on their way to New Mexico. The call of Sandhill Cranes is very special to me. In 2010, I missed those birds so much I visited Bosque for the Festival of Cranes. It was definitely a VERY special experience and a wonderful location to better develop my skills with my new, but very basic, Canon photography gear.

    My Olympus gear, like my Canon 7Dii before it, is very capable of capturing video by pressing the button. I seldom do it and often wish I had. My failure to do it more is because its another language etc and I don’t know what to do with the footage after it comes off the card. This video was captured from a series of clips, that I presume where captured between sessions of shooting stills. That is what I (and many others) would like to do. Please consider creating a course or e-book to guide the rest of us in giving it a go. That would be awesome! Thank you for all that you do!

  22. Mary Hulett January 17, 2018 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Outstanding video. You really captured the ‘spirit’ of Bosque. I have shared your video on FB with my friends, many of whom are photographers. I was so glad to have met you in person. Thank you for putting this together. Really like the music choice. Good job!

  23. Larry I'Anson January 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Wow! I’ve finally decided to go there and have signed up for workshop this December. Your video answered a lot of my questions about what to expect. I had planned to use my big Canon gear but am having second thoughts now, thanks to you, as I’d much rather go light with my FUJIFILM XT2.

  24. Larry Hollon June 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Beautiful video.

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