It had been three weeks to the day when I photographed the last group of cranes in farm country. Part of me knew it was getting too late to see any migrating cranes. Another part of me had to make one last visit to be sure.
Right away, I went to the fields where I’d last seen the cranes. It was empty and the whole area was quiet from all the unusual sounds that cranes make. I decided to travel my usual route, hoping to see what else might be around.
Most all the fields had been plowed for the end of the season, although I saw one farmer finishing his. Except for the low drone of his tractor, the area was totally silent and I saw no critters at all.
The hay bales had been collected and positioned next to the barn, where they’d be easy to access over the winter.
Really, the only activity going on anywhere in the area seemed to be at the Christmas Tree farm. I saw car after car on the county roads with Christmas trees atop their cars.
The whole time I was out, I noticed how far south the sun had moved. The season was definitely changing. I headed in a southerly direction, hoping to get some sunset pictures.
I was as far south of M-113 as I’d ever taken pictures. The Golden Hour had definitely arrived.
The sun finally set behind a hill and some distant farm buildings. As I left the area, I got my first big surprise of the afternoon.
A waxing, nearly full moon had risen behind me in the beautiful, golden afterglow.
I followed the beautiful moon as I drove back north for one last look at the crane migration grounds. Still no cranes, but the beautiful pinkening afterglow sky was glorious to watch. The contrast of the setting sun and rising moon made the whole trip out to farm country worthwhile.
And then I got my second surprise of the waning afternoon. I heard them before I saw them. A flock of migrating geese was flying just above the still vibrant sunset sky. They topped off a beautiful photo experience.