Saturday, April 26, 2008

Frozen Chicken

I arrived in Minnesota with hopes of photographing the Greater Prairie Chicken lek and immediately knew I would be needing all the layers I brought with me. 30 degrees Fahrenheit isn't too bad when you are dressed for it but in jeans and a t-shirt I was under dressed. I picked up the rental car and headed out to the Blue Stem Prairie to explore the blind site. I wanted to be certain I could find the site in the dark the next morning. The grasses around the lek site were golden and I visualized the images I wanted to capture.

The temperature seemed to drop as I headed back to the car. By the time I reached my hotel room the snow had begun to fall in earnest. I listened to the reports of road closures and accidents before heading to sleep.

I headed out at 4am, very skeptical that I would come away with any photographs - they would definitely be very different than those I visualized the day before. The snow was knee deep as I hiked the path I had explored the afternoon before. I made it to the blind, kicked off the snow and settled in to wait for the sun to rise. When it finally did the chickens began to arrive on the lek site.

They tried their best to proudly display and boom but even they were cowed by the driving snow. I kicked the iso up to 1600 and did my best to focus through the snow. By 7:00 the chickens gave up and so did I. I managed a few images and it was incredibly fun to see these impressive birds. I'm hoping for better luck tomorrow.

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