This photo was the culmination of a week long process. Without boring you with the details of the entire week, my photo trip led me to Apache Del Bosque - a truly magical place. I got there before sunrise and left after sunset. During those 12 hours or so, I had met a few photographers that were very friendly and gave me some tips on where to be that evening.
I set up facing west with a few hundred of my closest friends and waited for the magic to happen. Not many clouds in the sky, but the ones that mattered were hanging around the mountain range. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous. Something that seems to only happen in the Southwest. And as was predicted by the more experienced photographers, the cranes started their daily landing exercise. One after another came in from wherever they were that day to land in this partially flooded field. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, by shooting I mean photographing.
Anyways, I learned 3 valuable lessons that day.
1. When shooting wildlife, it helps to know your subject and their patterns/habits.
2. When you don't know you're subject, make friends with someone who does.
3. Most other photographers are very friendly and willing to impart their knowledge.
Thanks to the many photographers that helped make this photo possible. (No I'm not accepting any awards - yet.) I hope to pay it forward and help the next struggling photographer anytime I go out in the field.