We found out that it is against the rules to get off the path ( there is no sign). The two park rangers that informed us of this rule were courteous, diplomatic and level headed.They were really nice people and were just doing their job. I have no hard feelings about them. I appreciate their professionalism.
Is the rule photographer friendly? Not really.
It appears that the policy favors bird watchers that want to look at birds from the parking lot with the aid of 20X-60x spotting scopes. For comparison, a 800mm lens (longest production lens available) is 16X without an extender. I was using a 500mm with and extender (700mm) which gave me 14X.
Like many serious photographers, I’ve invested in long lens to increase the distance I can stay back from the subjects without being in their danger zone. The photos from previous blog posts show birds relaxed and certainly not stressed. The shorebirds in these photos are from heavy crops but they ignored us even when we were “off the path”.I certainly don’t claim to be Daniel Boone, but I’ve had people come within 15 feet of where I’ve been camoed up and not know I was there until I spoke to them. I’ve also shot shorebirds at minimum focusing distance ( about 16-18 feet) as they approached me……not me approaching them and they did not seemed stressed.
It doesn’t matter. The rule is stay on the path.
I’m applying for a special use permit Monday and I’m confident that a common sense solution exists. If there isn’t one then I would suggest that anyone wanting quality photos wait until the Trumpeter Swans return ( end of October (26th) is the earliest my photo log shows)….. and bring a looonnnnngggg lens. 🙂
NOTE: The Heron and Pintail Pond areas are closed October 15 through April 15 as waterfowl refuge. The parking lot is open all year.
Gallery images– heavy crops due to distance so the quality suffers. Use your browsers BACK BUTTON to return to this page then view the next image or click each image to go to the next one.