Tricked by a Sandhill Crane!

It started out easy enough.


Not everyone seemed to be on the same page.

I was hired (in a volunteer sort of way) by the Sandhill Crane Association Of Central Saskatchewan In Autumn (SCAOCSIA) to update their photos.

The SCAOCSIA wanted me to take some snappy new photos before the members all took off for parts unknown. I met with the leading sandhill cranes who made up the executive committee. In the parlance of politicians we had a productive discussion. If you’ve ever been around these characters, you know it’s never a quiet affair!

I carefully explained that in previous years I thot we had too many shots of sandhill cranes standing in stubble. This year I wanted something a little more creative to show off their charm and beauty. Everyone agreed with my plan. I was a little surprised since sandhills seem quite attached to their stubble.

The next day I went out to the field to meet at the prearranged spot. It was noisy as usual. As soon as I took out my camera the wheels started to fall off our plan. You would have thot this was just my plan.

“What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.” Richard Harkness


At one point the disagreements got physical. In the stubble field of course.

The long-legged SCAOCSIA vice-president wanted to show off a new goose step that would be perfect for a public relations photo. Good grief! The secretary seemed to remember some opposition to the plan that I suspected was really just his belated squawking opinion. The president wondered whether we should perhaps take a step back and rethink the whole process. After more disagreeing and dithering, they reluctantly agreed to proceed with the photo shoot before it got dark. This was eerily like working with humans!

In the end, most of the committee members stayed in the stubble and got distracted by snacks. Some of the members flew off pretending to be camera shy while the rest seemed determined to drive me crazy. They kept flying in and out at random times without giving me warning – despite promises to the contrary. Some of them even started new arguments among themselves.

I had nearly given up on my idea of getting a shot of sandhills flying in front of fall-coloured leaves, when I finally convinced one sandhill crane to give me a flyby. He came in fast and low toward the trees. I was excited that this was finally going to happen. But at the last possible second he smiled, turned and went behind the trees. Argh!

At first I was frustrated. Then I looked at the photos later and decided this had worked out better than I could have imagined. Just to get even, I’m putting him on the front page of the website!

Next year I’m going to be more wary when the SCAOCSIA comes calling for more photos! Ah, that is if they come calling …



Latest Comments

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  2. melodylowes says:

    My favourite is the last one – the sky and the silhouette is very striking. Funny that there was dissension in the ranks of that committee – it’s so obvious, now that you pointed it out. 🙂


  3. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well I guess things went a little worse then hoped or expected but it could have been worse. Noise and disorganization seems to erupt at many meetings.
    But hey, I like how you held focus as that one troublemaker flew into the trees.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      You’re absolutely right about the meetings. I was sure pleased and surprised when I found that eye between the leaves. Maybe he wasn’t such a trouble maker after all.


  4. Mike Powell says:

    I live in the world of government bureaucracy and acronyms, so your description of organizations and committees really hit home. Wonderful shot of the Sandhill Cranes, a beautiful species that I have yet to observe. I absolutely love that foliage shot–that one would be tough to replicate.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      You may guessed that I have encountered some bureaucracy along the way. Sometime all a person can do is make fun of it. You’re certainly right about the foliage shot. Never would be my guess!


  5. Christopher Martin says:

    Wonderful images and I’m still laughing from the story. Great work Lyle – I hope the SCAOCSIA appreciates your efforts. The image through the autumn foliage is very special.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I think that committee is bound to be ungrateful despite my best efforts! I’m glad the humour landed – it can be a tricky thing sometimes but knowing people laughed is special. That first photo was not a high percentage shot so it makes it extra special. I appreciate the comments.


  6. Suze says:

    The last shot is amazinh, Lyle! I love it! ❤


  7. Steve Gingold says:

    I think those guys from the SCAOCSIA figured they had you played, Lyle. But you fooled ’em by getting some pretty good ones. The flying silhouette shot is beautiful.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      It’s not easy taking on an organization with a handle like that! The silhouette was an afterthot as I was losing light – funny how that works sometimes. I appreciate your comments.


  8. vanbraman says:

    I hope you got paid in a timely manner. I hear that they are a flight risk and like to take off without paying.


  9. Birder's Journey says:

    Terrific photos and fantastically creative story. I’m glad you were “on the case’!


  10. Honie Briggs says:

    Diva Cranes. Exceptional!!


  11. Vicki says:

    Great photos, especially the last silhouette.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I remembered to end with a sunset this time! It’s funny that when it gets too dark to take regular photos, I’m forced to come up with something else. Glad you liked it.


  12. Brian Main says:

    A great funny read and of course great photos.


  13. Dick Trew says:

    I’m a little surprised that the committee work didn’t involve a review by Avian Resources, Health and Safety, a union representative (at least a shop steward) or a perusal by the feds (perhaps the Migratory Bird Act solicitors). To have something of this caliber come off without any ruffled feathers would mean that it was accomplished without administrative or supervisory interference. When dealing with matters that fall under air traffic control, you’re fortunate to have got anything off the ground! If there is anything to this future planning, you might want to start the paperwork now. Who knows, there may be a possibility of getting it approved by 2015 or 2016. I’ve come to understand that miracles can still be worked if all parties are on the same page (of the same feather?), no one gets his oar (wing?) in the water prematurely and keeps his eye on the objective (prized field?)

    Great images, Lyle–I truly enjoyed your “take” on the Sandhills. The second image captures the spirit of the blog. I, too, am joining in the joy of this blog. Keep them coming, please.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Apparently there were all sorts of ways that my feathers could have been ruffled that I hadn’t even thot of, not to mention all the feathers on the sandhills. I’m amazed that anything worked!

      I had a lot of fun with this post and I’m happy to hear the joy is shared. I will do my best to continue. Thanks for the comments.


  14. Lavinia Ross says:

    Those are beautiful photos, Lyle! Glad you endured the committee session!


  15. anotherday2paradise says:

    Amazing images, Lyle. Love the Richard Harkness quote. 🙂


  16. Susan Portnoy says:

    LOL.. great read Lyle.. I really liked your approach and I just love the first photo. I wonder if I could ever have the same discussion with the lion auxiliary of Botswana? Ya think?


  17. Alison says:

    Very clever! I don’t know where you come up with these ideas. Love it!


  18. My Heartsong says:

    love the sunset shot!


  19. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Very amusing story with great photos, as always. Love the definition of a “committee!”


  20. Victor Rakmil says:

    Cannot stop laughing. Stunning photographs!


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