Winter Canada Geese – Longing For Cooler, Smoke and Wildfire Free Days

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One year ago it had already snowed in the high country and that had lessened my concerns about wildfires up there, this year it is still warm and wildfires are still raging in the high country and down in the valley. Yesterday morning I woke up to the smell of smoke in my apartment because I had opened a window during the night for fresh air. That was a mistake because when I woke up it smelled like someone had built a bonfire right outside my window and for the rest of the day I couldn’t not smell it, that smoke came from the Pole Creek fire which is about 50 miles south of where I live.

More fires started here in the area yesterday and the strong winds fed them. Wildfire season is scary here in the West. I worry about going up into canyons or into areas where there is only one road in and out because if a wildfire started while I was on the wrong part of the road I could be trapped with no easy way to escape.

Yesterday I found myself wishing for winter, a time when wildfires don’t happen with the frequency they do now. Sure they can still happen but personally I don’t worry about them as much during the winter as I do during the summer or fall.

Winter Canada Goose portrait, Salt Lake County, UtahWinter Canada Goose portrait – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

So while thinking of winter I thought of the hours I have spent photographing Canada Geese close to home and how I enjoy myself while photographing these large, abundant birds. I know some people find these geese annoying, loud and messy and I know photographers who’d rather go home than to spend time taking images of them but that simply isn’t me.

Winter Canada Goose in landing mode, Salt Lake County, UtahWinter Canada Goose in landing mode – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/5000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve spent a lifetime appreciating these large geese and when I have lived in locations where Canada Geese weren’t present I have missed hearing them calling overhead or seeing them floating by on the water.

So I photograph them as often as I can and why wouldn’t I? I enjoy having all species of wild birds in my viewfinder.

Life is good.


The dangerous Pole Creek wildfire to the south of Salt Lake City is what caused the smoke I smelled yesterday morning, you can read more about it here. Hat tip to my friend Wade Haskell whose stunning nighttime image of that fire is featured as the cover photo of the video on the page.

2018-09-16T05:40:14+00:00September 16th, 2018|Categories: Birds, Canada Geese, Salt Lake County, Utah|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |10 Comments


  1. Joan Carey September 17, 2018 at 5:22 am

    How could anyone not appreciate this magnificent creature? I knew you’d love them Mia.

  2. Jane Chesebrough September 16, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    I do not smell smoke now and can only hope that the fires have died down in B.C. Canada which was where the smoke in the prairies drifted in from for most of August. We have had a mix of snow and rain all weekend but the white stuff hasn’t stayed except in surrounding areas around the city where there has been an accumulation of a few inches. I like landing position and how that shot of the goose frames the bird in the background without any merging. I enjoy watching them and hearing them honking as they fly overhead in the Spring and Fall. I got some shots of them preening by the water about 3 weeks ago, not sure if there are any hanging around now. Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks are two species that I get overloaded on in the peak times but remind myself that I sure would miss them if they disappeared.

  3. Marty K September 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I enjoy Canada geese! They’re not quite as mean as some of the other species (at least the ones I’ve come across) and they make a beautiful sight in flight.

  4. Elephants Child September 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Fires terrify me and are a fact of our summers. And increasingly the rest of the year. We have already had some shockers and one firefighter has lost his life.
    The geese make a fine antidote.

  5. Ken Schneider September 16, 2018 at 11:51 am

    The Canada Geese can be very photogenic. Am visiting in NE Illinois this week and we have flocks moving over. None visit us in south Florida, but we do have Egyptian “Geese.”

  6. Patty Chadwick September 16, 2018 at 10:29 am

    These big birds are among my favorites. I love their limited palette, the simple sophistication of their color patterns,and, most if all,their haunting cries as they fly overhead. There is a primative wildness that stirs my heart….

  7. Cindy September 16, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Tired of the fires, the smoky air as well. Yesterday I went out on the deck and it smelled like a campfire next door and we live in Kaysville! Have yet to see the geese winging by but like you Mia, I love their calls, almost a mournful cry of time passing. I’m always a bit amazed at those who judge critters as too common, not native, etc. Yes, the world is changing due to mankind’s actions and inaction so we only have ourselves to blame. Though I love others there is nothing quite so common as all of us and this is meant respectfully—just an observation.

  8. Linda Lee September 16, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I love that you care about all the critters, not just the glamorous or rare ones. Sad about the fires and no rain in sight. How can we even hope to get a winter anymore.

  9. Bob Mcpherson September 16, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Beautiful photos Mia.Love the Portrait.

  10. Kathy September 16, 2018 at 5:58 am

    I find the Canada Goose to be a beautiful bird…though some say ordinary. Love the portrait…nothing beats the opposite colors!

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