~Ribbons cross the sky and a Night Sky Photography Class

I pulled into the parking lot and turned the engine off. I opened the car door and was focused on collecting what items I would need. As I sat there fumbling around, I began to notice strange sounds emanating somewhere near me.

“What a strange sound?” I wondered. Leaving my stuff in the car, I headed toward the location I though the sound was coming from. I stood and listened. I just knew birds were in the tall grasses located near the parking lot. “What are they?” I didn’t notice any movement in the  tall autumn grasses and I didn’t see any birds.

As I continued to stand there listening all of a sudden I knew; I smiled to myself and looked up toward the late, evening sky. It was a most awesome moment. High up in the sky, flying south were hundreds of Sandhill Cranes. No mistaking their “distinct chattering” as they elegantly graced the  sky.

Hundreds of them, flying in perfect “V” formation. I followed the long line of birds until my eyes landed on the leader. I looked at this bird, wondering just how long and far he or she had been the first to face the wind, leading the others to their new destination. Admiration was what I felt.

A long “V” formed on the outside of the flock, another “V” was formed inside the outside “V”. Small “ribbons” of straight lines formed behind these “V’s”.

The flock was huge! Their sound distinct. The sight was stunning!  It was simply beautiful. I am standing there watching as they pass overhead, admiring their strength and determination.

All of a sudden, I realize I am holding a camera in my hands, I also realize  I am too stunned, too in awe and too late to take a good photo. They were too high up and I didn’t have the correct lens on the camera. But, take a shot I did.

Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes

On this evening I saw a total of four waves of Sandhill Cranes flying high over the Rockies, heading where, I’am not sure. I am appreciative of the fact I got to see and hear them as they flew over.

After the last bird flew out of sight, with camera in hand, I head over to where a group has gathered. The reason I pulled into this parking lot was to participate in my first Night Sky Photography class. I am going to learn how to take photos of the night sky.


It was a fun evening, truly an adventure as we walked the darkening paths, setup our cameras on tripods and began the task of capturing the night sky. The beaming comes from red flash lights were needed to see the settings of the camera and provided a spooky mood.

Red Flash Lights provided spooky moods.
Red Flash Lights provided spooky moods.

The evening glow of the late evening sky turned to dark, clear skies. The quarter moon rose and was shining brightly in the west. The Milky Way outlined its presence east to west, the stars were twinkling in the clear, cool night sky and the Devil’s Backbone provided the perfect setting .



Quarter Moon
Quarter Moon


Beauty filled the night.

23 thoughts on “~Ribbons cross the sky and a Night Sky Photography Class”

    1. Hi Judy, so very nice to hear from you. And, I would bet money that you would do just what I did – stand and admire these gorgeous birds.

      I wish you happiness this winter and fun times experiencing your “new” winter home! Hugs to you and Emma. Will miss seeing you.

    1. Hi Gay! It was a first and a fun evening. I hope to practice a lot. I just enjoy being outside and the beauty of the night sky. I have a telescope, but haven’t gotten it out this summer. Colorado is getting too much light pollution. ;-(

      Hope you and Joe are continuing to enjoy your “home” out west!

      Hugs to you!!

      1. Hey Sheila, we will be landing in St. Augustine, FL tomorrow. Our nephew is getting married there. Then we will head up to Georgia to visit family and get my driver’s liscense renewed. From there we will visit Joe’s two sisters and brother in Spartanburg, SC. Then…Westward Ho! Hope to spend Dec and Jan in San Diego before Joe’s six month check-up in Feb in Tucson. Whew!

        I will be praying for Kloud to have a great check-up…

        1. WOW, you will enjoy it there for the wedding! I can’t believe we were in Hobe Sound, for October 11th last year for a wedding.

          Have fun!

          Nice to be going to see family, have a wonderful time. December and January in San Diego sounds perfect, with lots of beautiful sunshine and pleasant temperatures.

          Tucson will be great, no problems!! 🙂 Hugs to all the gang!!

  1. What great timing! So glad you did take some photos. Those were huge “V’s!” I can only imagine how loud they were.

    Beautiful evening photos. I’ll be looking for more:)

    1. Hi Pam, you are so sweet for always posting! What the photo shows is just the very end of the flock. I didn’t think fast enough to capture the beginning and middle of this beautiful sight. The flock was huge and the “V” long.

      Saw your hike to the “columns”. Very usual and beautiful!

  2. How wonderful! I have a passion for cranes and would’ve stood there watching until they were long out of sight. Hope you enjoyed that class. Night photography is something I’d like to experiment with.

    1. Hi Ingrid. How have you been? So nice to hear from you. I know, from you blog, you enjoy the cranes!

      You would have enjoyed seeing these flocks passing over. The sound is what you notice first, then the cranes flying over.

      I saw another one on Saturday! Lovely

      Take care, keep in touch, and happy travels!

      1. It was a hectic summer and now we’ll slow it down a little here in Phoenix. We plan to do our Texas sojourn in January which will include plenty of crane photography. I’ve gotten rather good at understanding their behavior and listening for their sound 🙂

        1. Ingrid, glad you are in Phoenix visiting with family and are able to slow down. What a wonderful experience for you to be able to see these cranes and be close enough to study their habits. They are amazing. Enjoy your time in AZ and TX! Keep in touch.

    1. Hey Beth! I am delighted to hear from you. I have seen most of your fun travels!! I apologize for not commenting; I will try to do better!

      This class was a first for me. I have always been interested in the night sky and I hope to continue to try to take photos. We need to get our telescope out more as well. Thanks! Hope to chat with you more often. Still busy playing Pickleball several times a week!! Hugs!!😄

        1. Yes, we hope to. We will take Kloudy to CSU next Wednesday for her fourth and last chemo treatment. During these past weeks, they have postponed twice, which pushes us back from leaving. We are hoping they will perform the fourth treatment and do the ct scans and release her. If something is wrong we won’t leave. We are booked thru the end of February down south😜😜😳😳 So keep your fingers crossed for us!! What about you, where will you spend the winter.

          1. Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well for Kloudy! We have a short trip to a couple of parks in north Florida and south Georgia planned but other than that we will be at home.

  3. Hi Sheila – I look forward to many more beautiful examples of night time sky photos. I just love these! I too, have been reading about your beautiful Kloudy and have my fingers crossed. She looks so hale and healthy – may it be so!

    1. So sweet of you to be thinking about our Sibi girl, appreciated so much. She acts like she is feeling good. It would be so much fun to see several Whooping Cranes in the wild. I will have to see about where to go to see them. I haven’t seen any more flocks of Sandhills since last week. Seeing these huge fllocks fly over was a treat.

Leave a Reply to Gay Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s