scott bean photography

Goosed – Photographing the geese this winter

Canada geese in flight

This fall and winter I have really enjoyed photographing the Canada geese that have moved in to the area. I know the geese are noisy and messy and can be a nuisance (I wouldn’t want them in my backyard), but they are fun to watch. In flight they are very graceful, when they begin the landing process they always look a bit out of control to me but then they recover their gracefulness as they hit the water. Although sometimes when a large group lands on the water near another group of geese the whole process can look a bit like a controlled crash to me. I also enjoy listening to the geese – they seem to be very enthusiastic about whatever it is they are communicating. They also seem to not really pay attention to what the other geese are saying and they always are ‘talking’ over the top of each other (reminds me of a lot of committee meetings).

Canada Geese flying
The Joy Of Flight – ISO 400, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/250

I started photographing the geese in the late fall, often at the Pottawatomie County lake near Manhattan. “Pott County 2” is a smaller lake and the geese are often close to the shore and don’t seem to be very bothered by vehicles driving around the lake. With the geese not that bothered by people, it is easy to get close to them and photograph them from your vehicle. I made the photo above as a few geese flew along the shore line. I really liked the sense of motion that this photo has and it captures the gracefulness of the geese in flight. I think this might be my favorite “goose photo” of the year.

Canada geese landing
Landing – ISO 400, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/320

This next photo was also made at the Pottawatomie County Lake as a small group of geese were landing. I like how this photo has captured geese at different stages of preparing to land on the water. I was fortunate again in this instance that the geese weren’t very bothered by my presence and I was able to photograph them from a close distance.

Dispute between two geese
Goosed – ISO 400, 400mm, f/5.6, 1/500

This next photograph inspired the title of this blog post. I was photographing the geese at the River Ponds area below the dam at Tuttle Creek Lake when a commotion erupted in the middle of the flock. I’m not sure what started the ruckus, but it was noisy and created quite a stir. Eventually one of the geese had enough and tried to get away from its antagonist, but the other goose took pursuit and was grabbing the rear end of the first goose trying to flee. I guess now I can say I really have seen someone getting “goosed.”  As the goose on the losing end of the confrontation was trying to flee it flew into another group of geese which caused the whole flock to explode with intense vocalization. Several geese were now hollering and lunging at the poor goose that was just trying to get away. I thought it was entertaining, but I’m sure the poor goosed goose did not think so.

Canada geese in flight
Let’s Go – ISO 400, 285mm, f/5.6, 1/320
A single Canada goose takes flight
Single – ISO 400, 275mm, f/5.6, 1/320

These last two photographs were made back at the Pottawatomie County Lake as a small group of geese near the shore took flight. This lake is small, 75 acres, and last time I visited it, the lake was completely frozen over. I’ll have to get my goose fix at the River Ponds area now for the remainder of the winter.

I mentioned in my last post how much I was enjoying watching and photographing the birds this winter and I’m looking forward to getting out this coming weekend on another “bird run.” With the landscapes around me looking increasingly monochrome as winter takes more of a toll on the grasses of the prairies, the birds in the area have provided some great photographic opportunities for me. One of the things about photography that I really enjoy is trying to learn new techniques and bird photography has given me a lot of new stuff to learn and practice.  It is no secret that I really enjoy nature and being outside and the birds have given me one more reason to head out the door with my camera. It is interesting to me the health (mental and physical) benefits that we get from nature and I do believe that watching the birds is good for me. The nice thing about birds is that you don’t have to go anywhere extreme to find them, put a feeder up in your backyard and they will come to you.

If you enjoyed the photos in this blog post, please stop by my wildlife photography gallery to see some more related photos. I hope my nature photos will bring you a moment of peace in our hectic world and inspire you to get outside for a moment.


Scott (249)

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