Friday, November 28, 2008

Yes I know Three Days In A Row..

Yes I know I posted these critters three days in a row, but I had the photos ready and didn't know witch ones to use so I thought I would use them all. I promise no more muskrats, unless I go shoot them again and get something better. I said everything already so I really don't know what else to say except look at those claws. I hope you enjoyed them and I promised something different on Monday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Muskrats...

I guess I should start today's post wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am working today so lets hope no one burns their turkey in the city this year.

As I said yesterday more muskrats photographs were coming along some information on this small mammal. The muskrat is a large rodent with a long skinny tail and dark brown or blackish fur.

Muskrats lead a semi-aquatic life like a beaver but do not build dams. Their houses are either cone-shaped piles of mud and vegetation or burrows in the bank. These guys lived in the bank. They are most active at night and during the dark time periods or rainy days. They eat aquatic vegetation and roots, especially cattails. I did not see any cattails in the area but they were eating plenty of the greens along the water.

An interesting note about the muskrat is that they can close their lips behind their front teeth so they can gnaw underwater.

No sky watch for me this Thursday, I have to work daylight and since it is Thanksgiving I am having family over so I would not have the time to visit other sites.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise...

I set out Sunday morning on a road trip on the country roads in my area looking for wildlife or anything interesting to shoot. As usual nothing creative was coming out of me and I was finding no wildlife to photograph. I was traveling along a small stream that I have shot in the past when I noticed a pleasant surprise, muskrats. When I first spotted them it was the one in the first photo. Only seeing a muskrat for the second time in my life I was not really sure what I was seeing at first. It wasn't until I noticed the tail that I realized they were muskrats (thanks to Salty's muskrat post earlier this year). There was four of them in a small area eating and swimming around. I spent about a half an hour there firing away before they tired of me and retreated to their den. Stay tuned for more muskrat photos this week including a little about this small mammal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Bison Tuesday...

I hope you noticed that I stayed close to the original title I came up with yesterday. Hey if I couldn't come up with anything then what would make you think I could come up with something now. Speaking of coming up with something, a few months after I started the blog I realized it would not be easy to keep come up with photos all the time to post on here. What I am starting to realize now is that it is even harder to come up with something to say all the time. See if I ramble on enough like this I don't need to say much more.

These two photographs were taken the same day as the ones in yesterday's post. This was after they exited the water and climbed the hill forcing us back and across the road to a safer area. Once out in the field the younger bison decided it was time to play. They are fun to watch when they start doing this as the do not just run but seem to jump around more. The second photo is of a very large bison that didn't follow the group, he chose the same path we took. Taking his good old time he just slowly walked towards us like the world was his (and I wasn't going to tell him any different). As he crossed the road it became obvious he planned to walk right where I stood shooting away. Needless to say I quickly moved to the other side of the large vehicle parked next to me and looked for my next hiding spot before turning my attention back to him. He walked right past and into the field watching his herd and grazing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bison Monday...

Like the title? Yes I know real original, but I really didn't know what to type in today. That seems to be happening more and more these days. The photo and video were taken on October 2, 2008 in Yellowstone. These buffalo were crossing the Yellowstone river and it is always great to capture any of the animals in the water. Like the other videos this was shot with my cell phone, it only last 17 seconds, but if you have never seen the bison in the water take a look.

The sad thing about uploading the videos onto blogger is they always come out this size. After I download them from my phone to the computer and watch them they are much larger, making for a better picture. The other bad part is I can only make them load to the left and not centered like the photos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something To Shoot...

I really didn't know what title to use for today's photographs so I settled on "Something to shoot". These were taken the other Sunday when I was out searching for whitetail deer in rut. I only found the two deer that I posted on November 12TH, but I was out to enjoy the Pennsylvania countryside and shoot some photos and that is just what I did.

Hawks have become a common site around our area, photographing them is a different story. Often they are to far away, bad lighting or just want no part of me getting close. This guy was sitting on a pole along the road, not best of settings for shooting but he was nice enough to hang around long enough for me to get a few shots. Now for those of you out there that are knowledgeable on these subjects, what type of hawk is this? I assumed it was not a red tail because I seen a red tail a little later in the day and his tail was red.

The second photo is something I really didn't expect to be shooting, a rainbow trout. I was walking the creek bank looking for birds when I noticed this trout swimming up stream looking for food. If you look close his head is coming out of the water about to bite into the white object just in front of him.

Not the photos I expected to come back with that day but it was a beautiful day in the country and I will take any kind of wildlife.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shades Of Grey...

Welcome once again to Sky Watch Friday, for me this is my 13TH edition of sky watch. I would like to thank Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise for the great site and wonderful time. Don't forget to click the sky watch link and visit many more great sky watch photographs from around the world.

Today's photo comes from the Grand Tetons, this was one of only a couple of days with clouds during my two plus weeks in the area. Funny thing is before I really got into photography I wanted sunny skies and no clouds when I was on vacation. Now I find myself begging for clouds or overcast weather. Don't forget to click on the photo to make it larger.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Elk Photos...

For today's wildlife photographs I decided to choose a couple of random elk photographs my my fall 2008 Yellowstone trip. These photographs were taken on different days but could be the same elk. The first one was taken very late in the evening as it was getting dark. We were heading north towards our camp when we spotted the traffic jam. For those of you that have been to Yellowstone you know I traffic jam can only mean one thing, wildlife. This bull was on top of this ridge with a herd of cows, but by the time we exited the truck and set up the tripods he dropped down the other side. It was already to dark to shoot anything else so we waited him out, hoping he would show up again. Just as we were about to give up he reappeared.

The second photo was shot eight days later and in the same general area but on the other side of the road after the rut had wound down. I really need time to get out and shoot some new wildlife. Like an addict I need a wildlife fix.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Attempt At Art...

This was my attempt at creating art with a photograph. It does not make a difference what you are photographing if you are not really into it. For those that shoot allot they will know what I mean when I say you have to feel it or you are just going through the motions and getting garbage.

Sometimes I am like that, I just can't feel it, like this particular day. Brian and I were in Montana and he wanted to stop and shoot some trees. We got out of the truck and he began firing right away. I looked around without releasing the shutter, I just wasn't into it at the time. But then I noticed this fence, I got down and looked at it closer along with the back ground. And I felt it, up came the camera and I started shooting. I was pleased with the results, I know that doesn't mean anyone else will like it.

I guess the moral of the story is don't just do something to do it. Do it because you like it, it strikes your fancy or what ever you want to call it. Nike isn't always right when they say "Just Do It".

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Mule Deer...

This is the same mule deer, but not one that I had previously posted. Unlike the others this buck really wasn't effected by our presence. He allowed us to photograph him all we wanted while he just kept eating berries. I don't recall exactly where we photographed him but I think it was just south of Tower Falls. In years past you would be looking at many Elk photographs from my trip but this year the Elk were scarce and the mule deer were plentiful. That being said expect more mule deer in the future.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Slough Creek...

I am getting to the point that I don't know what to say after uploading a photograph from Yellowstone. I guess the best I can do is tell you that if you have never been to Yellowstone you must find a way to get there in your lifetime. I think I mentioned it before but to people that love wildlife, natural wonders and beautiful landscape it would be the same thing to you as Disney is to small kids.

This photograph was taken along Slough Creek in the Lamar Valley section of Yellowstone the same time I took the photograph of the eagle I posted on Friday November 7. I noticed this lone bison under the tree and it was just what I picture in my head when I think of Yellowstone. Unfortunately I don't think the final product came out in the same beauty as I viewed it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Montana Sky Watch...

Welcome to another great week of Sky Watch Friday, don't forget to go to the sky watch site and visit all the other great post today.

Today's photograph comes from Montana in the area of Glacier National Park. I would like to be able to tell you exactly where I took the photograph but I don't know. I just know we were very close and it was extremely windy and very cold. Some days I am at a loss for words an today is one of those, so that is all for now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pa. Whitetail Rut...

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to get out in search of wildlife in my area. I got out early but not early enough as these were the only deer I found. I came across these two laying in a field in the area of Route 174 and Route 34. After firing a few shots the doe decided it was time to get up, this seemed to excite the buck as he soon got up also. He quickly put his head down and approached the doe in a hurry. He was obviously ready but she was not and soon walked away from him. Before long he was chasing her off through the field.

Often I mention I would like to have a bigger lens or that the photograph was shot at full focal length and cropped in. Well as long as I am married and taking photos simply for the fun of it the big lens thing will never happen. But I thought today I would give you an idea of what the photo would look like before cropping occurs. These photos were shot at 600 mm with the camera resting on my truck. The top photo is actually cropped slightly since I size everything to 5 by 7 for the web I had to cut some off the sides. The second photo is then cropped in to get a finished photo. I enjoyed watching these two and that is the most important part of the road trip, but it sure would be great to have been able to get s super sharp photo.

By the way I did shoot a few more photos of hawks, trout and the country side that will show up later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day...

I hope everyone out there knows that this is Veterans Day and that this is not serving as a reminder to you. I am a very patriotic person with great respect for our military past, present and future. On this day please take the time to thank the veterans you know, and the ones you don't know.

Last year I took this opportunity to acknowledge a number of my family members that have served this country, that post can be found at you can also see more military post by clicking on the military label to the left.

These two photographs were taken this past September at the Washingtonburg event in Carlisle. I have said enough about the event that I will leave it go at that. By the way the top photograph is of General George Washington. In the future I will follow up with a few more on his encampment.

May God Bless the armed forces and thank you for everything you do to keep this country free and safe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cumberland County, Pa. Turkeys...

During the last few weeks I have posted many wildlife photographs but they have all been from the western part of the country. Today it is time to bring you back home for some good old Pa. wildlife. A couple of weeks ago I finally found the time to go to Shippensburg and spend the day hanging out at the firehouse.

I decided to take the back way to town and avoid the highways. My hopes were to photograph some farmers and maybe the Amish out working in the fields. With that in mind I took my bag I carry when I chase fire calls and other events and left the big lens at home. When will I ever learn, oh that's right I am to old to learn anymore.

For those of you familiar with the area I was traveling Rt. 174 and just past the village of Lees Cross Roads when I spotted these turkeys off to my right in a field. You know the routine from before, lock up the brakes, hope no one is riding my tail and about to hit me, back up to find a place to begin shooting and hope like the devil I don't blow the shot. Well these birds wanted no part of me and began moving rapidly towards the fence row. Only being able to shoot at 200 mm focal length just wasn't getting the job done so once they crossed the fence row I made a tactical decision. I could drive on not getting another shot, or run like the wind to the fence row hoping to get one more photograph before they take off forever. The last photo is the result of that decision.

A little about the flock, from some of the other photos I got this day there was 21 birds in the flock. The first photo has 18 in it. I do not know how many gobblers were their but when I reached the fence row and they began running I noticed the last bird had a beard, it looked to be four or five inches. Unfortunately the only shot I got of him was from behind.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lamar Valley Eagle...

Yes, another photograph from my trip west this year. But that's okay because I think most of you that look at the site are more interested in wildlife than any other photograph, and to tell the truth I am more interested in photographing and watching wildlife than doing anything else.

This eagle was shot in the Lamar Valley off the Slough Creek road. It was another one of those mornings when we were not seeing anything and getting the same old "you should have been here five minutes ago" story. At the time this photos was taken many people were set up on the hill sides with there spotting scopes watching the wolves off in the distance. I really need a bigger and faster lens.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yellowstone Sunrise...

Hello everyone and welcome to another addition of Sky Watch Friday. Today's post comes from Yellowstone again, the nice thing about spending two plus weeks there in the fall is it gives me plenty of photographs to choose from to keep this blog going when I am not out shooting anything else.

This photograph was taken the morning of October 2, 2008 between Mammoth and Roosevelt near the Blacktail Plateau Drive. It was a beautiful sunrise in Yellowstone, but then again every sunrise in Yellowstone is beautiful.

Now for the technical side and request for assistance. The photo was taken at 3200 ISO, hence the noise, but I am still amazed at the limited noise for that high an ISO. My D70 and D2X had noise like that above 400 ISO. My photoshop skills lack, so I know nothing about HDR. I was able to bring back most of the foreground in the raw settings and help things out with layer masks. The part that I don't get is the colors always look better and the photos just look better until I upload them for the web, then they seem to wash out. I save my photos as 72 dpi jpegs (save as) that I am going to use on the web. Should I be saving them in CS2 under save for web? Does this make a difference, will it preserve colors?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Portrait Of A Mule Deer...

With the Pennsylvania whitetail deer rut here, I thought it would be appropriate to post photos of Pa. whitetails. But since I have not been out to get any new ones lately, I am going to substitute a Wyoming mule deer, just don't tell anyone. This nice six by six was shot last month on my trip out west, he was one of the bucks in the herd of five along Lava Creek in Yellowstone. I feel like I should be typing more, but my tank is running on empty and that is all I can come up with.

For more on the whitetail rut visit Willard and Salty Hill's blogs, links are to the left, they are country captures and Pa wildlife photographer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pa. Renaissance Faire Continued...

These photographs are a continuation of yesterday's Renaissance faire. The faire features good food, and great shows. If you go be sure and take in the multiple mud shows, the people that perform are some of the funniest around. If you have a camera and want to practice taking portraits this is also your place. Last year I photographed the girl playing this part also, I just wasn't happy with the way they turned out. It was one of those days that you download your images and say "what the hell was I thinking".

The hard part of shooting her is she is always up on a stump with the bright sky behind her. I don't know what it is about her but I am drawn to shoot her, maybe it is her costume or it could be the way she plays for the camera. Whatever it is I just really enjoy photographing her.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pa. Renaissance Faire...

These photographs were taken at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The fair is held at the Mount Hope Estate & Winery every year from August through October. is event has been held for years but we had never attended for one reason or another. Last year I reluctantly agreed to attend this event with my family. Much to my surprise I really liked it, enough that we went twice this year.

The first photo is the Queen, "Long live the Queen". The second photograph is of this attractive lady I came across my first time there this year. I was simply smitten by her, I don't know if it was her long golden hair or her enormous, well you can see for yourself.