Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Preserve is a favorite place of mine to photograph large waterfowl. Each year during the annual migration you can find a spectacle that is somewhat unrivaled. Thousands upon thousands of Sandhill Cranes make the Bosque a stopover. In addition, tens of thousands of White Snow Geese litter the landscape as well. This is the site of a marketing story for my artistic photography images.

Photograph what you love

Dennis Chamberlain, a fellow photographer based in New Mexico, invited me to join him on a photoshoot at Bosque del Apache. (Click here to see Dennis’s artistry work.)

He noted my new love for photographing wildlife. We went to the preserve in November 2016. Waking at ‘O-dark-thirty’ in the freezing cold making images during sunrise until the birds scattered and the light became a bit harsh. Then we were off to breakfast. Back to the room to download and review the mornings captures. Return to the Preserve for sunset photography capturing the fly-in of the birds.

Original photo crop of sandhill cranes before creation of the watercolor cover image

Dennis and I did this replayed this scene for four days. Did I mention it was cold? Really cold for me. Did I also mention it was early? Did I tell you I loved it anyway? I enjoyed it so much that we did it again in 2018.

The marketing part of the story

I noticed that the Festival of the Cranes produced a magazine style brochure. I decided to look into providing the art image for the cover. Research showed that a contest is run each year to decide the cover art. I immediately started work on putting together a submission. I sent in a few images for consideration.

The art

The T-shirt art with the brochure cover inset of the winning image.

I’ve been working toward adding a watercolor look to my artwork and thought this might be a good opportunity to practice. As you probably know I use personal projects to push my learning forward. I sent in three watercolor style images and received a call asking if I could make some minor adjustments on one of them. No problem, I create custom work. With the yes, the cover was mine.

Tell a friend

Here’s a little motivation tip. In order to put a little extra pressure on myself I told my friend Dennis, “I’m going to work to be on the cover of the Festival’s brochure.”

Telling other people about my plans has always had the effect of keeping me on track to complete the attempt. Doing this is akin to having an accountability partner. It helps you push to attain your goals.


Getting the cover means I was named Festival Featured Artist. The winning image appears on the cover, T-shirts and coffee mugs that help fund the Festival. I get a lodging during the and a booth to sell my art. This is a win-win for the Friends of the Bosque and myself. In addition, I get the promotion material for my business. If you are at the Festival please be sure and say “Hi!”

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob