There is an early springtime event that literally takes my breath away every year. Located along the Mid-Atlantic Flyway, Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Stevens, Pennsylvania is a resting stop for tens of thousands of migrating Snow geese on their way north to the Northern Tundra for the summer.
I await anxiously each year and watch the wildlife report from the WMA to hear how the numbers of the geese are doing. Staff at Middle Creek monitor the arrival of the Snow Geese and begin posting regular reports when their numbers become significant. Due to an unseasonably warm winter, the snow geese have arrived nearly a month early. First reports had nearly 40,000 geese present, and on Valentine’s day 30,000 more joined them. Naturally that means I jump in the car and go the next day to enjoy this amazing spectacle.
The geese spend the evenings on the lake roosting and during the days they fly out to the nearby corn fields to forage. With 70,000 geese the flock is in constant motion. Flowing along the water, and then randomly flushing up like a huge tidal wave, the sky filled with the thundering sounds of their flapping wings and the frame is filled with nothing but birds.
As this is the fourth year I’ve visited the snow geese I wanted to try some different ways of capturing the flock. I usually travel with just my Canon 500mm Lens, and this time I added a second camera body with the 24-105mm lens to get broader captures of the scene.
Along with the two camera kits, I also included my iPhone 6 as a form of filming the flock in motion which is included in the video linked above. I used both the Canon 1DX and the iPhone to create the video clips in the video montage. Both of them had difficulty keeping up with the flock, losing focus many times, but the feel of the motion and the power of the enormous flock was still captured.
As I now have the new Canon 5D Mark IV which has been designed to have enhanced 4K video capture, on my next visit I will add the 100-400mm lens and set it on a tripod with a gimbal head. Using this alternate kit, I hope to get a higher quality video of the Snow geese when they flush and fly overhead.
The Snow geese have always been such an awe inspiring sight to see and if you’re in the area, it’s well worth the drive for a visit.