Dances with Cranes

Watching Sandhill Cranes in their favorite habitat always feeds you.  There is a tactile sense of being in touch with the birds.   They are all around you, like great music playing.  When we go to the wildlife reserves south of Albuquerque we find something new every time.  We went down again on February 21st and it was as fresh and convincing as ever.  A world swimming with life.

Mai Cranes

cranes and mountain

Crane Photographer

The first two photos are from Mai at Sansai Studio.  I’m lucky enough to be married to her.  Here she is in the fields photographing Cranes.  Mai also does bicycle photography and has been a strong partner in promoting bicycling.  Her ability to communicate about bicycling through art is a gift.  For February 2016 Sansai Studio is my bike org of the month.

Cranes up high

sandhill-cranes-map_jpg__800x450_q85_crop_upscale

sunset

There is something renewing about getting outside of the human sphere and being amidst the lives of thousands of Cranes.  The peaceful silhouettes of so many Cranes flowing like ink through the sky.  An upsidedown ocean of life.  The vivid afternoon light slowly rolling away.

Mai sunfire

Mai seeing

Mai flying by

The Cranes place us in the landscape.  You don’t feel elevated above a place, such as when you are in tall building downtown, or on google earth taking in a satellite view.  Instead you are immersed in it and the birds are the masters moving between the land, water and air worlds.

Birds of paradise

Cranes

We watched the moonrise and the sun go down, liquid light slipping away.  The blackening shadows revealing the folded mountains.  A purple sheath of light haloing the horizon.

Mai fly by

Mai in field

Mai shooting under full moon

Every trip we observe things completely new to us.  Reefs of light bouncing off the water, the fading firelight on the Western horizon.  The cranes are dancing.  Cranes are dancing.

sun so yellow

water on sky

Mai Cranes and Moon

Credits and References:
Check out Mai’s art and photography at Sansai Studio http://sansai.photoshelter.com/
The Natural Capital Project  works to improve human well being by valuing nature, and is led by Gretchen C. Daily’s initiatives including research on harmonizing agriculture and biodiversity.
Check out Alex Shoumatoff’s colorful account, 500 Cranes Are Headed to Nebraska in One of Earth’s Greatest Migrations in Smithsonian Magazine.  The Crane migrations graphic is from here

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