After leaving the Big Bog, I headed west towards Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge…but first I had to get around Upper and Lower Red Lake…the largest inland lake in Minnesota. Agassiz is a huge refuge…61,000 acres, half of which is wetlands. (Click here to learn about the refuge) I was hoping to catch some big flights of ducks, geese or swans, especially since the ice just went out on the smaller ponds (late March). I arrived just before sunset…gorgeous light…now all I needed was a subject! Quiet…no visible birds or ducks…so I took this shot of my very long shadow…something we don’t get in the North Woods.

I did find a few ducks at sunset and took some silhouettes. I have been trying to think outside the box with my wildlife photography lately and so I thought why does the critter need to be in focus? That’s why I tried this shot. The idea came from a photo I took in Yellowstone a few years ago…a Bison in a snowstorm (click here to see image). but the autofocus on my camera locked on to the falling snow and not the bison…An accident, but the resulting image worked. I even entered it into the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest (THE most prestigious wildlife photography contest in the world). Amazingly it reached the “semi-finals” of the contest. This image doesn’t work very well but I wanted to share it to inspire all of us to think creatively.

I camped at the nearby Eckvoll WMA campground under a beautiful starry sky…but here’s where you end up sleeping when you forget your tent poles! The back of the Subaru is a little short so I woke up with a kink in my back. But I was not alone in the campground…a tiny Saw-whet Owl serenaded me from the nearby woods. “Toot…Toot…Toot…Toot” and on and on. I imitated his call by whistling and he came in to check me out. But never close enough so I could get the flashlight on him.

The next morning dawned cold and calm…but the ducks were shy and skittish..and there were not many of them. This Phragmites grass was the only image I liked.

Time to head to the prairies!