In late November I returned for my fourth trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

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This time I travelled with eight others, all members of the South Jersey Camera Club.  This was one of the many field trips the club sponsors during the year, and it was a fun and productive trip.   Full Disclosure:  We broke out eaaarrrrly Saturday morning to capture the sunrise, and I discovered that my camera was still in bed … back home.  I had all but one of my lenses, my filters, and my tripod and all other gear that we carry … but … no … camera.  So ashamed.  Fortunately there were three other spare bodies available so the weekend wasn’t a total loss.  And, the companionship made up for it.

Our field trip leader, Pat, had us out on the grinder at (it seemed like) 4:00 AM, actually more like 5:45.  We drove out to the parking area for the wildlife loop road and proceeded on foot with our flashlights in pursuit of a 7:00 AM sunrise.  There was a wonderful ground fog above which the scraggly pines stood starkly.  Sure enough, the dawn light began to illuminate the Snow Goose Pool and we could begin to make sense of things.   The opening image above was one I captured just as the sun broke above the horizon.

Here’s most of the group that dawn.  There were things to photograph on both sides of the road. 

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Here’s another scene that morning before the sun had actually risen.  These two images show why it was good for us to be there at that time.  Our leader, Pat, and colleague, Larry, had both come down a day early and had scouted out locations for us.

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After that session we returned for breakfast and planned the rest of our day.  That included scouting out some interesting wading bird shots and also the famous wild ponies.

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The day concluded with pleasant relaxing around a bonfire on the beach in the long shadows of the setting sun. 

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After that a great group dinner in town which concluded with a small birthday cake for me, it being but two days after the event.  I was so moved that I offered a birth-inspired toast;

Here’s to the finest years of my life

Spent in the arms of another man’s wife.

My Mother, God bless her.

A splendid field trip with some wonderful people.