Stalking yellow trees … sort of

OK stalking yellow trees isn’t hard during fall in Saskatchewan, in fact it’s incredibly easy. I just got this crazy idea that I wanted to get photos of Sandhill Cranes in front of some beautiful yellow leaves.


There’s the contrast I was looking for … and it was nice of the birds to stop in mid air for a split second so I could get the shot.

You might think that stubble fields are yellow too, and often a gorgeous yellow, so what’s the problem? Nothing really, I suppose. It’s just that I already had a lot of photos of them in the stubble since that’s where they eat all day and I figured it would be nice to mix it up a bit.

DT6C5320 (1)

I love the way these birds can float with their huge wingspan. It’s all so graceful in the air.

As hard as it may be to believe, the birds didn’t seem to get my subliminal messages right away. They tended to fly all over the place and even seemed to intentionally skirt around the best-coloured trees. My subliminal message range probably didn’t extend to the end of the wide berth they typically gave me.

Now I could have parked myself in front of some nice trees and waited for the scene to unfold as I imagined. I’m way too impatient for that. I imagined myself still sitting with an empty memory card, covered with a blanket of snow and fallen leaves.

So I kept looking for sandhills, yellow leaves and the right opportunity. After a few false starts, OK maybe after many humbling flights, a few of them were kind enough to humour me. Ironically by then there were only a few trees left with their leaves which meant that my odds should have been lower. I thanked them profusely but they didn’t seem to care. They were too focused on the stubble field buffet where they were headed.


I admit the yellow is a bit subdued here but I thot the overall impression more than made up for it.


Latest Comments

  1. MikeW says:



  2. Jocelyne says:

    These photos are incredibly beautiful Lyle !


  3. dda53 says:

    Beautiful BIF’s. I like how they are set in front of the yellow background.


  4. caleephotography says:

    Stunning shots, stunning birds, stunning backgrounds 😀


  5. Gunta says:

    Absolutely stunning, every single one! They are truly beautiful birds. You’ve managed to push the GBH out of #1 position on my favorites list. Your patience definitely paid off handsomely.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      It’s not easy to push the GBH to do anything to do anything and it’s a fabulous bird so I am impressed. Glad you enjoyed the photos. I certainly enjoyed taking them.


  6. Terry Brown says:

    What can I say Lyle, spectacular job on the photos! Being able to decide on a specific look then set out and accomplish what you intended is Pro photographer through and through. Well done!


  7. Phil Lanoue says:

    Wonderful birds all in beautiful settings! Couldn’t be better.


  8. bits and pieces on photo says:

    So beautiful! you must have a lot of patience! 😉


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Patience is one of those funny things because the more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. But I’m happy that the sandhills are helping me learn it.


  9. Steve Gingold says:

    They are all fine images but the top one is really nice, Lyle. Great of them to accommodate your needs. 🙂


  10. brandt says:

    Last print of the bunch….absolutely perfect. Print it. Mat it. Frame it. I dont even like birds but this is exceptional.


  11. Cee Neuner says:

    WOW!! Truly gorgeous photography!


  12. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Truly gorgeous photos of truly gorgeous birds! You hit my awe meter as well as my funny bone. 🙂


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Heh those are two great bones in my opinion – likely of equal value to me. Thanks so much. My compliments to the beautiful sandhills for making it all possible.


  13. westerner54 says:

    Wow. Really. Wow.


  14. Honie Briggs says:

    Lyle, these have everything I enjoy about your photography and more. Vibrant, tactile, and I love how the red around their eyes pops against the subdued background in the last one. Exceptional!


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Thanks so much. It’s hardly news that backgrounds matter but the variety of backgrounds can bring out different features so well as you said. This ended up being the last day I saw sandhills this year so I’m quite pleased I got these photos before they vanished for another year. Now if only I had bobcats running through my neighbourhood …


  15. Mike Powell says:

    Glad to see that you were able to take some of the photos you imagined before the leaves were gone. The Sandhill Cranes are beautiful birds under any circumstance and I would be happy to get shots of them in stubble fields, but the only cranes that I observe regularly are involved in construction and the only stubble is the stubble on my face before I shave. The autumn colors, just as you envisioned it, really do give your crane images an extra pop. In addition to the difficulties that you describe (including the range limits of your telepathy), it’s always tough to get birds to fly in a proper formation, far enough to get good separation but not too far apart–I especially liked the formation and wing and body positions in the last image. I have had similar experiences with migrating Canada Geese, which are at times equally uncooperative (but I will refrain from making any disparaging comments or generalizations about Canadians).


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      You missed a glorious chance at generalizations that could have started a great debate:) It’s funny I never see photos of the cranes you mentioned!

      The group shot continues to be a challenge for me too. Inevitably I have cropped off a body part or the formation just looks odd. I have one more interesting group shot from that same day that I will post at a later date where I resorted to another creative option to address the challenge. In the last shot on this post I had scratched my head of few times before settling on a final crop.


  16. Dina says:

    Grandiose Aufnahmen!


  17. The Earth Beneath My Feet says:

    They’re beautiful. They remind me of the Blue Cranes in the Cape Overberg which are under threat. Nice to see their American cousins!


  18. Cornel A. says:

    I like these photos. Sandhill Cranes are so beautiful birds.
    You know, I follow some bloggers and I see many posts daily in my Reader but almost every time I can recognize which are your photos, they have something special (Perhaps it’s about the way you’re taking photos, perhaps it’s all about the light there, perhaps it’s something else… I don’t know.)


  19. vanbraman says:

    Beautiful, I love the contrast with the yellow.


I'd love to hear what you are thinking ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s