With our friends G. Dan Mitchell, Patty Mitchell, Michael Frye and his wife Claudia Welsh.
Dan contacted David and Michael regarding meeting at the MWR, the three of them decided on a morning to meet. We’d all met at the refuge last winter but Patty wasn’t able to attend so it was nice to have all of us together. Dave and I were hoping for fog and thought perhaps we weren’t going to get any until we reached Merced and started hitting patches of fog. The further we drove from Merced to the refuge, the denser the fog became. By the time we pulled onto the refuge it was hard to see the road but you could look up at the night sky and see the sliver of moon and stars between the moving gaps of fog. We didn’t have to wait long before the rest of our group arrived. The morning was a chilly 40 degrees when we started driving the auto route. David and I parked on the west side of the ponds where the trees and vegetation looked interesting and waited for the sun to rise, hoping for a red disc in the fog. The fog was too thick to see the sun so we continued on the auto route with Dan and Michael somewhere ahead. David noticed this scene, I photographed it too.
There were a lot of cows being pastured on the preserve. 8:27am
The geese were in the upland where the cows were pastured, lots and lots of geese. 8:41am
After watching/photographing the geese for a while we took a restroom break. On our way back to the geese we could barely see a large group of pelicans on a pond in the fog. 9:29 am
This flock was reorganizing as they landed in a line. 9:54am
A tiny area of the pasture. 10:51 am
Geese taking flight. 10:54
Noon. A portion of the pasture with geese. Note that the tree in the distance is the same tree in the above photograph.
Noon. David photographing the geese. This is an auto route preserve, you don’t leave your car unless in a designated area.
Noon. The direction David’s looking. Dan’s car is up the road and Michael is a little further.
Noon. The geese begin flying to the area by Michael’s car. Claudia is sitting out the window videoing. You can see a viewing platform in the distance.
We re positioned our car closer to where the geese were landing. This is the area to which the birds are relocating that’s near Michael’s car. I enjoyed the landscape in the distance.
Birds flying towards the area of Michael’s car.
A couple of quick sketches in my notebook and one reference pastel. I will work from these later to remember my feelings and what caught my interest. There are 3 small reference sketches on half of the first page, one sketch on half of the next page.
The pastel is 5 x 6 inches. It’s not much but it’ll jog my memory.
Sun!! We decided it was time for lunch while checking out the views from the viewing platform. A large group of geese took flight from the pasture while we were watching them. 1:09 pm.
Looking another direction from the viewing platform. 1:11 pm Time to go to lunch.
End of Part 1