Tess and I live and work in Kearney, Nebraska which is a far cry from the mountainous scenes that we love to photograph. We make the most of our photography trips to beautiful and exotic places. There is no doubt that we would prefer mountains over the flat landscape of Nebraska. When we are not jetting off to somewhere outside of the cornhusker state to take pictures, we often go out to capture the local beauty of our state.

Nebraska is a little harder to photograph and explore than other states like Wyoming or Colorado that have an abundance of beautiful public lands. This is especially true about the area near Kearney which is ridiculously flat. Living in Wyoming, my focus was mainly focused on landscape photography. I had a seemingly endless number of mountains, lakes, streams and forests to explore in Wyoming. Nebraska is beautiful in an entirely different way than Wyoming is, which requires a bit different photography style to capture. Unfortunately, I found the area around Kearney as rather dull to take pictures of. I was spoiled by the mountains so trying to find beauty in the plains was difficult.

Alas, Tess and I were determined to take some pictures in Nebraska that lived up to our high standards for photography. We started exploring the countryside together, looking for hidden beauty to capture.

Nebraskan Wildlife

I think that I really started getting excited about wildlife photography because of Nebraska’s wildlife. I was content with landscape photography in Wyoming, but the need for great pictures in Nebraska drove the idea that I should focus on taking pictures of animals. Tess was also keen on this idea so we started trying to find places nearby where we could find wildlife to photograph.

Nebraska has a number of places that are great for finding wildlife.

Sandhill Cranes

The Platte River Valley is located in pretty much the center of Nebraska. This includes the Kearney area. As the name implies, the Platte River runs through it. The river is full of wildlife. Many migrating species of waterfowl come through the valley including ducks and geese but one of its most famous visitors is the sandhill crane.

Sandhill Crane Waltz by Tess Bagnell
© Tess Bagnell

Sandhill cranes dance near Kearney, Nebraska. Read More

Finding sandhill cranes to photograph near Kearney, Nebraska during their migration is not hard to do. There are thousands of cranes that come through Nebraska to stop along the Platte river during their migration in the spring. The sandhill cranes usually stop in the valley for about 4 weeks in March. The timing of their migration can vary due to weather.

During their peak, there can be as many as 600,000 cranes along the Platte River at any one time. This equates to more than 80 percent of the world’s sandhill crane population stops along the Platte River at once. They stop in Nebraska to fatten up before they continue their journey to their northern breeding grounds.

Photographing them is a bit of another story. It helps to have a really big lens though so that you can capture the close up details of the birds.

Snow Geese

Snow geese can be found in giant flocks as they migrate through the Platte River Valley. Their migration happens generally around the same time as the sandhill cranes migration, but it can often happen right before.

© Marc Bacon

Snow geese take flight before sunrise. Read More

These white birds can be very impressive when paired with their large flocks.

Other Wildlife

Grandfather Meadowlark - Tess Bagnell
© Tess Bagnell

A meadowlark rests on a fence wire.

Nebraska has an abundance of wildlife including a variety of birds (including the meadowlark featured above). We have a lot of fun traveling across county roads looking for more wildlife to photograph.

Nebraskan Doe - Marc Bacon
© Marc Bacon

A whitetail deer stands in a corn field.

Deer are extremely plentiful in Nebraska and are very fun to photograph.

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Marc Bacon

One of my passions is exploring the outdoors and documenting what I find with my camera. My work is primarily wildlife and landscape photography, but I dabble in other fields as well. My photographic style is unique. I am always searching for unique angles and lighting, especially in my landscapes.