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This photo of Canada geese flying low over a brown field makes for a nice fall scene. But it was shot in late December 2006 on a snowless winter morning.

And the photo was planned, although it was a plan hatched rather quickly.

I was walking through Pickerington Ponds Metro Park near Pickerington, Ohio, a couple of days after Christmas when my approach alarmed a number of geese on a nearby pond. They quickly flew off over a field adjacent to the pond. As I watched I thought the scene would make a nice seasonal photo with the brown geese flying low over the warm yellow-brown plants. But those geese were gone before I could react.

There were still more than a dozen geese on the pond and they were raising quite a ruckus as geese often do when they are considering taking flight. So I quickly pointed the camera at the geese, assuming they’d follow a similar flight path as the first group, and prepared to pan the camera so I could trigger the shutter when they were above the field.

They took off moments later and flew even lower over the field than the first group had. Their wings were barely above the plants. I had my shot.

       About the photographer

I’m a photo hobbyist who lives in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. I typically spend several mornings each week in the woods of local parks, photographing birds and other wildlife. I also enjoy shooting sporting events and photographing different cities when I travel around the country.


I began doing photography in the pre-digital, pre-autofocus, pre-Internet 1970s. I had a color darkroom in the basement of our house in our hometown, Ashland, Ky., and on occasion would shoot for the newspaper where I worked first as a sports writer, then as city editor. But I put the camera away in the 1980s after burning out from too many of those "hey can you" photo jobs — “hey can you shoot my son's Little League team," or "hey can you shoot my daughter's wedding." I reached the point where I dreaded picking up the camera.

After taking a vacation from photography for more than 20 years, I was using my daughter’s point-and-shoot digital camera to get some photos of her first college tennis match in fall 2004 (she played four years at the University of Akron) and realized how much I missed photography. After doing the “Nikon or Canon” research, I bought a Canon digital SLR, started adding lenses — that’s my Canon 600 f/4L, the lens I use for wildlife and some sports photography, in the photo above — and have been shooting ever since.