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Ross's Geese, Sunset, Central Valley | by G Dan Mitchell
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Ross's Geese, Sunset, Central Valley

Ross's Geese, Sunset, Central Valley. Merced NWR, California. February 8, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


Ross's geese in a Central Valley pond, sunset.


Here I'm going to go with the slightly guilty pleasure of sharing a photograph with colors so intense they almost don't fit in the color space of online jpg images! This was almost, but not quite, a last second "grab shot" as I looked up and saw a few geese remaining in this pond as the sun was slipping behind the ridge of the coast range. Not long before there had been thousands and thousands of these geese in the pond, but group by group they had all departed for wherever it is that they go at night... except for a very few stragglers, including this group. I like to think that they perhaps share my fondness for beautiful sunset light and had thus chosen to stick around a bit longer. ;-)


This isn't a photograph that you can really quite plan. Because of the subjects that I had been shooting right before this, it happened that the sun was setting to the left of that compositionally-significant peak along the distant mountains. And fortunately everything was placed so that I could just barely keep the sun itself out of the frame on the left edge. And then I found myself looking at a small number of straggler geese still in the pond. I think I exposed perhaps three frames, and luckily for me they cooperated and assumed such interesting relative positions! One lone bird at the far left looking out of the frame; four of them near the opposite edge and lined up facing right; a group of three closely spaced and facing toward a central point; and one slightly separate from them and facing the opposite way from the bird at the far left. Wow. Talk about good fortune - or well-trained geese!


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Taken on February 8, 2012