Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Summer is almost over and the fall season is fast approaching and I can’t wait.  Foliage colors are superb in New England.

I have not been out so much recently as summer is not too exciting unless there is a good sunrise or sunset forecast which there was a couple of days ago for Cape Cod.

I decided to go to Wellfleet as a friend has asked if I could get a shot of the Mass Audubon sanctuary there.  The nice thing about Wellfleet is that it lies on the inner side of the Cape’s “arm” (near the inner elbow) so it is looking out toward the Westerly bay…perfect for sunsets.

However, I didn’t have any knowledge of the place as far as compositions go other than the fact that the tides go out quite a way leaving interesting patches of grass and tidal pools.  I looked at the tide chart before leaving and it was on it’s way out but still several hours to low tide at sunset (around 7.30).  I decided to go anyway, driving 2 hours to get there, arriving early afternoon to check out the area.

Wellfleet sanctuary marshes

After walking and scouting for hours there was still so much I didn’t get to explore.  It is a fascinating place and I highly recommend it, especially if you want a day out with the kids.  I saw great blue herons, egrets, a male horseshoe crab (I was informed by one of the experts).  This was the first live horseshoe crab I have seen and they are very alien-like.

I walked down to the boardwalk in the afternoon to find many people already there.  Some bird-watchers, wildlife photographers, families with kids who were catching fish and crabs in the water as the tide steadily rose.

Boardwalk and marshes - Wellfleet Bay

I was busy looking for some interesting compositions which is tricky as the tides ebb and flow, changing the view hour by hour but I did have an idea of the land shapes which could work with so I decided to return around sunset.  By then I was alone.  I donned my muckboots so I could head onto the marshy areas which I love to do.  I also made sure I had spare clothes back in the car as I nearly always get a soaking!  One thing I did forget was to wear my anti-bug clothes and hat.  The midges were having a bit of a feast but I did have a long sleeve rain jacket so I wore that in 70 degree weather.  I ended up soaked in sweat instead.

The clouds looked very promising but as the sun set there was a darker bank of cloud on the horizon which limited the intensity of the color after sunset but it was still quite striking.  I could explore many different compositions with some long exposures for the nice, flat water effect and also to provide a dream-like effect on the reeds moving slightly in the wind in some cases.

I was happy with the results and I will certainly go back and explore more in the future!Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary sunset

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