Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society was holding its annual meeting, which is a big affair. In this photo, which I made with my iPhone from the balcony of the conference room at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Doug Tallamy orates to the group. It was a packed house - about 350 attendees. They take their flora seriously in the Hoosier State. I was flattered to be asked back (3rd or 4th time!) to speak, especially given the otherwise star-studded lineup: Doug, Rick Darke, Mike Homoya, and Kevin Tungesvick. It was a great time, and fun to catch up with lots of people and hear some great talks. Kudos to all of the conference organizers and volunteers for the usual bang-up job.
Mid-November in Indiana means crane time, though, as in Sandhill Cranes. And the Mecca for Hoosier State cranes is Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, which is in only two hours or so northwest of the conference venue. Even though I've made the Jasper crane scene a number of times, at the last moment I decided to stay over there and arrive at the big crane field the following morning before daybreak. This decision was partly based on the weather - it was to be a bright clear day, and every other time I've been, the skies have been leaden-gray. Blue ether would make a better backdrop for photography, of course.
I prefer being here as the sun rises, for a few reasons. One, the light is to your back. Two, there are generally way fewer people than in the evening. Sometimes the viewing platform is overly packed for the dusk show, but even on this beautiful Sunday morning, just after sunrise, there was plenty of room for everyone and our tripods.
RIGHT HERE. In general, bird photography is a solo pursuit, but in this case it doesn't matter. The cranes are probably going to act the same whether there was just one person hiding under the platform, or 75 people gabbing away on the deck.
Jasper-Pulaski should be prime for cranes into mid-December, so if you're looking for an interesting avian experience, check it out.