Engaging with Nature

Incoming by Shelley Hughes

From Dec. 5 to 10, members of the Sun Lakes Camera Club (SLCC) will travel to Bosque del Apache to experience, enjoy, and capture photographically the marvels of nature that the winter season brings to that area in the form of some of America’s most spectacular wildlife. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is located in San Antonio, Socorro County, N.M., and is one of over 500 units within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

At various times of the year, over 400 species of birds inhabit Bosque del Apache. Seeds of sedges and grasses that have been nurtured in the surrounding wetlands throughout the summer attract over 20 species of ducks and geese that spend part of their winters in this very hospitable environment. From late October to late January, sandhill cranes by the thousands feed, rest, and socialize in the fields and waters of the sanctuary. After spending the night in the water to protect themselves from predators, thousands of these magnificent birds take off en masse at dawn to search the surrounding fields for food. At night, the whole process reverses with their return to the water, providing photographers with ample opportunities at both ends of the day for amazing shots of these birds in flight.

In addition to viewing and photographing cranes, geese, and ducks, one can drive the convenient auto tour loop around the refuge or hike the many trails to observe and photograph hawks, eagles, blackbirds, ravens, coots, and other birds along with occasional mammals, such as mule deer, coyotes, and jackrabbits.

A trip to Bosque del Apache obviously offers something for everyone, from nature lovers to photographers wishing to hone their birds in flight techniques. This year’s SLCC trip will include an extension to the White Sands National Monument, offering participants the opportunity to combine wildlife photography with impressive landscapes.

Registration for the Digital Photography Fundamentals course is open! Explore the fundamental elements of Photography: Perspective, Light, and Exposure. Learn how to construct powerful images that clearly communicate your point of view. If you recently became interested in photography, Introduction to Digital Photography will help you select and operate digital cameras, from smartphones to advanced, interchangeable-lens wonders. You’ll discover that only a few menu selections are necessary, and performed only once in your camera’s life, freeing you to be your most creative while enjoying the image-making experience.

If you are an experienced photographer, Mastering Your Technique is for you. You will learn the advantages of PASM, how to use reflectors and flags, the histogram, effective monochrome conversion, and much more.

Classes begin in January. For additional information, visit our club’s website or contact Dan Dragoon at [email protected].

The Sun Lakes Camera Club meets on the first and third Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Navajo Room of the Sun Lakes Country Club from October through April. For more information about the SLCC and its activities, call SLCC President Lynn Thompson at 480-734-0040, Vice President Judy Daidone at 480-216-3062, or Past President Jan Ballard at 602-621-3344, and visit our website at www.sunlakescameraclub.com.