Wednesday, September 30, 2009

With Any Luck...

With any luck I am viewing something similar to this right now, and if I am lucky it will be two larger bulls fighting and not two younger ones playing around. The rut is in full swing the action should be plentiful ever place, now it is up to me to be in the right location. Did I find the right location? You will have to wait for next week to find out. The two young bulls were playing around more than fighting last fall in the Mammoth area of Yellowstone. It really is a beautiful site to see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ox Bow Bend In The Fall...

This photograph was taken last fall at Ox Bow Bend, Grand Tetons. For me this is the most beautiful place in the world, I love everything about it from the Tetons Mountains to the moose, deer, river otters, eagles, beaver and many other wildlife species that call this home. The location is beautiful any time of the year but with the willows and aspen trees it is just amazing in the fall. Yes even with all the snow I could still live in this area. By the way that is a bull and three cow moose in the water.

It is Tuesday by now you know what that means, Shane has a new post.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Change Now...

Why change up what I am posting now, I already had the Yellowstone 2008 files open I might as well keep using them. This is the same bull taken near the same place as last Friday's post. For those of you out there that come back for the wildlife photographs I have a few more scheduled and for those of you that are getting bored, well to bad. No, I am going to switch things up soon, lets hope I got some new photos to post on my recent trips. Since I am making this post two weeks in advance I don't know if that happened. I get photos ready when I have the chance to set for a while and do scheduled postings some times as many as three weeks in advance.

Friday, September 25, 2009

More Yellowstone...

When I think of Yellowstone in the fall I think of the Elk rut. By now the Elk should be in rut in Yellowstone and here in Pennsylvania. I don't expect to add any shots of them in the water next week but I do hope to get some good photos of the Pa. Elk herd next week. This photograph was taken last year along the Madison River.

Tonight the Bears open their home season with a preseason game, today's trip to Hershey will be just one of many over the next six months and hopefully longer if we get into the post season again. It is Dover Del. race weekend also, man I wish they would add a few more hours to the days and a couple more days to the week. I could get so much more done or go many more places.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I wish I was there...

It is the time of year to be in Yellowstone, but with to many things going on and the money put out to go to Hawaii and upgrades to the house it is not happening this year. With fall here wildlife is what I think about the most, after hockey, and since I dug out the Alaska photos I thought I would dip into last years Yellowstone photos. For those that don't know this is a mule deer doe that was nice enough to pose for photographs.

It is Thursday, go visit Shane's new post.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Valdez Fish Cleaning...

Sticking with my Alaska photos this one was taken in the port at Valdez. These areas were set up for fishermen to clean their catches when they return to the docks. What do you know two days in a row without a wildlife photograph, I guess I will have to do something about that in the morning.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seward, Alaska...

Today's photograph also comes from Seward, Alaska. Taken in the port one cool morning as the fog lifted from the snow covered mountains. Like last week I am not going to be typing much in for comments again this week and next week. Hey! it is Tuesday, that means a new post on Shane's site, go visit.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seward Harbour Seals...

I told you I may stick with Alaska but that I would not keep posting bears. These Harbour seals were photographed from a small ship while on a cruise near Seward. The cruise was for glaciers so the seals, eagles and whales were just a bonus. I mentioned last week about going back for another vacation on a cruise, everyone that I have spoken to that has done it makes it sound like a great place to photograph sea mammals. I hope you don't mind the shorter post these days, it is easier and I can think of nothing to say lately.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last Katmai Bears Photo For the Week...

Yep it is my last Katmai bears photograph for the week, of course it is my last post for the week also. I do promise not to post bears next week, but I think I will keep with the Alaska photographs for a little while longer. I try to mix things up on my end also so I do not get bored.

I want to thank everyone that has been looking and commenting on the site. When I posted the Elk stuck in the swings photos a couple of weeks ago the visitors really picked up, some of you stayed and keep coming back. If you like what you see or even think it sucks, leave a comment and let me know. If it is that bad I can always switch the camera to automatic and give it to my wife. I added a couple more links on the left for wildlife sites, check them out the photography is awesome, Rocky Mountain Photography and Nature's Moments.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yep More Katmai...

I did say I was going to revisit my Alaska photographs and you know with as much trouble as I have keeping this site up and running I am not going to publish more than one photo a day. On the bright side there is only one more day left this week for me to post bear photos. If you want to learn more about Katmai click the word to be taken to their National Park Service site. It is an awesome place.

I almost forgot to remind everyone it is Thursday and that means a new post on Shane's site, please stop by and visit him and don't be afraid to leave a comment if you like or hate what you see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Katmai Continued...

I mentioned yesterday that I would like to go back to Alaska sometime. We did the main part of the state, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Valdez, Seward and other places. We would like to take two more trips and do a cruise of the inner passage and I just recently found out about a place to drive to from Seattle that has fantastic wildlife and scenery that has moved high up my list of places to go. Next years vacation is already planned so I guess it will have to wait until 2011.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Katmai National Park, Alaska...

After talking about bears this weekend with some friends and not getting out and shooting much wildlife lately I thought I would revisit my Alaska photographs. If you are new to the blog then you may not know that my family and I vacationed in Alaska July 2007. One of the side trips was Katmai National Park. We were there at the right time of year as the salmon were spawning and heading up stream to Brooks Falls. I knew about this and planned the trip accordingly, after behaving like a child until my wife agreed to go. Even she admitted that it was the best part of the trip. I would love to go back again some day as it may be the best place in the world to view grzzly bears in the wild.

Don't forget to stop by Shane's site today and check out his new post.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oh! Those Were The Days...

Wow! what a great time in life the cars all had class, life was not as complicated and everything seemed so much easier. You drank milk from a bottle that was put in the box on the front porch, baseball cards were .15 cents at the corner store and if you forgot what you went for Art would call your house and ask. Down towns were filled with stores like G.C. Murphy's and every one went their to shop. What I wouldn't give to go back, don't get me wrong I would still want the same wife and son and job. Lately with spending more time working on my family tree I realize how much I miss family members that have passed away. In just five years, yes I know I said five but time fly by so quickly, Shane will be heading off to college leaving the house empty. I don't know what I will do with an empty house. And he better call often or I will cut off the money. And now with less than three and a half years to go before I can retire and maybe being forced to go then because of the financial difficulties of the city I have to start thinking about leaving the best job there is and possible look for another job to hold me over for four or five years. As I sit here typing this with my glasses on to see the screen I understand it is a normal progression in life but it does not mean I have to like it. I guess I will just keep on enjoying family and cherish what time we all have left here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Staying Close To Mother...

Can you tell I like wildlife and wildlife photography? I try to get the most out of any of my trips to photograph wildlife and for all the more we seen last month in Benezette I am getting quite a few post from it. This cow and calf were photographed right in town. It was early morning with low light and fog, yes I know that is what I said about the others but when we seen wildlife the lighting was difficult and it was usually foggy. This was taken from the cab of my truck, hand held at 232 mm, ISO 1000, 1/15 at f4. It is amazing what can be done in Photoshop, now if I just had a clue how to really use it and the camera I could get a few good shots.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Couple More Front Yard Friends...

Today's post is a couple more of my front yard friends. These were just taken last week, the tufted titmouse was in my red bud tree enjoying some sunflower seeds. These are the first to visit my feeders since spring, I wish I knew they were coming I would have set up the blind instead of photographing them through the front window. The second photo is the gold finches finishing up the seeds that were left on the sunflower plant. It appeared that the male didn't want to share his food as he kept running the female off. Hey it is Thursday, that means another new post on Shane's blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"No" To HB-1828

Politics is something I stay away from, I normally don't discuss the issues with anyone and will not argue politics with any one. I believe everyone has a right to vote for who they want regardless of their sex, race or stance on the issues. With that being said I always thought the politicians were to be working for the regular working class American and to have there best interest in mind. Unfortunately I learned a long time ago that this is not the case and that they are for what is good for them and pads their pocket. I have become more and more disappointed with our elected officials to the point I consider them all to be crooked scum bags and as I have for the last few elections refuse to vote for anyone already in office. Wow! for someone that started this post the way I did I kind of got carried away there.

Yesterday I spent the morning at the Capitol along with other firefighter, police officers and ASCME employees from across the state trying to save our pensions. It seems that bill HB-1828 that started out as a way to raise the sales tax 1% in Philadelphia to help a struggling city had something else slipped into it and passed the Senate in less than 72 hours with very little discussion. The following was taken from IAFF Local 1400's site and gives you a little background on the bill:

On Wednesday, August 26 -- after less than 2 hours of consideration -- the Pennsylvania Senate passed an amendment to House Bill 1828. This Senate legislation, if approved by the House and signed by the Governor, will hurt municipalities, their employees and taxpayers across the Commonwealth – all under the guise of "pension reform."

Here is what the so-called reforms really mean:

A State Takeover of Many Pension Plans That Will Hurt – Not Save -- Municipalities, Employees and Taxpayers.

Section 13 of the Bill, starting at page 54, calls for the automatic and permanent transfer of municipal pension plan systems that are under 50% funded to the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System ("PMRS"). PMRS will have total control over these plans – and can send an extra bill each year to the municipality (and thus its taxpayers) if there is a funding shortfall, even if such a shortfall is caused by PMRS’ mis-management (see page 55).

PMRS also will set up new, significantly lower benefit plans for new hires. These plans will include lower defined benefit plans with huge offsets for things like Social Security benefits, and/or defined contribution plans that place an employee’s retirement security in the hands of the ever-so-reliable stock and bond markets (see pages 55-61).

An End to Collective Bargaining Over Pensions.

There is a widespread mis-conception that pension under-funding is the result of benefit improvements won in collective bargaining. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most municipal employees receive pension benefits based on formulas set by the General Assembly -- such as in Act 600 for police, and in the Third Class City Code for uniformed and non-uniformed employees alike. And people also forget that all public employees contribute a substantial amount of their own pay to fund their pensions.

Public employees, then, are not to blame for pension under-funding. Rather, it is certain municipalities that for many years did not contribute adequately to their plans, and 2 stock market crashes since 2000, that have brought us the current crisis.

Collective bargaining on pensions has helped municipalities and their employee representatives develop local solutions and fair contracts within the applicable statutory structures. But if there is a PMRS takeover, there will be absolutely no
collective bargaining over pensions now or in the future, even if a plan’s funding situation improves (see pages 54, 55-56). Similarly, plans that are less than 70% funded can never be improved until they reach 90% funding (see page 39). And the Senate bill requires the City of Philadelphia to freeze pension benefits for current employees and impose a third tier of lower benefits on new hires, or it loses the right to increase its sales tax and defer pension contributions to meet its budget preferences (see pages 73, 76, 82).

This is simply not pension reform – it is rewriting labor law to hurt employees and their chosen representatives. New police officers will not face 80% of the bullets of their more senior brothers and sisters. New fire fighters will not face a lower percentage risk of a roof falling in on them when attacking a fire. New municipal employees will not face a fraction of the case-load, or sanitation and water calls. If anything, we will ask them to do even more. Yet under this bill, their contribution to the same critical work that makes the Commonwealth run suddenly and forever is worth less.

Rejection of the Right Solution – Increase Funding for Pensions That Will Not Hurt Municipalities, Employees and Taxpayers. Each year, modest taxes on the premiums of fire and casualty insurance policies written by out-of-state insurance companies seeking to take advantage of our state’s insurance laws generate tens of millions of dollars in state aid for municipal pensions. It is real money that helps municipalities meet their pension obligations. Yet at no time during HB 1828’s rush through the Senate was there any discussion about increasing this tax to help municipalities fund their plans.

Are foreign fire and casualty insurers more valuable than our own municipalities, their employees and Pennsylvania taxpayers?

HB 1828, as amended by the Senate, is not pension reform to save Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and other municipalities across the Commonwealth.

It is instead a power-grab by PMRS, with the downside exposure borne just by the affected municipalities and their taxpayers.

It is instead the effective elimination of 40 years of collective bargaining rights for public employees.

It is instead an outrageous effort to "solve" pension under-funding that public employees did not cause, but that they single-handedly will pay for in frozen or slashed benefits.

And it is also so very unnecessary to put municipalities, their employees and taxpayers at risk when the Commonwealth instead could update a tax on out-of-state companies writing insurance here.

HB 1828, as amended by the Senate, must not pass.

My retirement system in Harrisburg is very strong with no thanks to the city who regularly puts no money into it. It is strong because of the contributions that come off of my pay check and other fellow firefighters paychecks every pay period. In effect what the want to do is rob me of my money to give to other people, prohibit me from negotiating a better retirement and at some point in my retired life say "oh and by the way we screwed up your money also and now you will get less for retirement". All this when most of us as firefighter will never have social security to help us out because we have never been allowed to pay into it. Why don't they just take my cane when I am old and beat me to death with it while they are at.

I failed to mention that they were to be in session during our rally and vote on the bill but for some reason they postponed the session. I guess they did not have the nerve to look the Innocent in the eyes and say we are stealing your money.

This bill must not pass the Senate, please contact your representative and urge them to vote NO on bill HB-1828.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2ND Anniversary Post...

Today's post is the second anniversary of my blog and post number 562. It is hard to believe I have been doing this for two years now. When I get out shooting subjects that I am really interested in it is easy to do, but when I don't get out much and I am searching for photos to upload this becomes very difficult. Today's post is a look back at the first photo I posted, the photos I posted on my first anniversary and a new photo for today. It is not an original idea as I got this from a post that Coy Hill at Country Captures made during his last anniversary.

The grizzly was photographed in July 2007 at Kat Mia, Alaska. That was the best vacation spot I have ever been, if you have never gone there save your money and make the trip sometime when the salmon are spawning. The bear viewing is just fantastic, it was an exciting experience that I nor my family will never forget. The two baseball photos were taken in Harrisburg last year at Metro Bank Park. It was the Senators final home game and thanks to a friend Shane and I got to set in the visiting teams dugout for a few innings. This years photos was taken last month in Benezette, Pa., this young whitetail deer was thankful the bad weather had passed and made the best of it to come out and feed.

I do not know what the next year will bring in photographic opportunities but I am planning a few trips and hope to make the best of my chances. Thanks to all the view the pages on a regular basis and to the occasional watcher. And an additional round of applause for those that comment from time to time, your feedback is encouraging and important to me. Don't forget it is Tuesday, that means another new post on my sons Shane's blog, please stop by and check it out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It Is A Nene...

This bird is a Nene, the state bird of Hawaii. If it looks somewhat like a Canada Goose it is because it is also referred to as the Hawaiian Goose. The Nene almost became extinct partly because of the mongoose but thanks to and active campaign of captive breeding and the release of the birds into protective areas the birds are making a comeback. This bird was photographed on the big island at Kilaue Point.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finally Some Elk...

After seeing very few Elk during our trip to Elk County Thursday night when it was getting dark and the fog was rolling in we finally found a large herd of 17 cows, calf's and young Elk. It was not the best of light for photography but we quickly set up the tripods and took advantage of our new found luck. The sounds of the calf's "mewing" were as good as seeing them. To get the photos I had to up the ISO to 1600 shooting at 420 mm at 1/40, f4. While their this young calf tried to get some milk from mom and I was excited at the thought of photographing it but mom wanted no parts of it and kept pushing the calf away.

While there we did get to meet Bob and James Shank from the Pocono area of Pennsylvania. They have a cabin nearby and love photographing the wildlife also. Both have blogs that have been linked to the site, stop by and check them out sometime.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Owe These To The Chipmunks...

Thanks to the chipmunks, I have a few sunflowers growing in my yard. In my front yard I have an open gourd that I keep filled with sunflower seeds, the cardinals and other birds love them but occasionally drop them to the ground. The chipmunks quickly fill their cheeks and run off to bury them. Some grew this year right next to our porch. This one was the largest and the gold finches loved it. Not wanting to pass up a photo opportunity I photographed this one through the front window.

Don't forget this is Thursday which means my son Shane has a new post, go visit his site. And yes I will keep reminding people until the remember every Tuesday and Thursday are new post days for him.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What A Beautiful Animal...

This nice 6 by 6 was photographed in the town of Benezette, Pa. one early morning. I just love the new cameras, they allow you to push the ISO with little effect on the noise compared to digital cameras just a couple of years ago. Note the little bit of velvet left on the top of the antlers in the upper right hand side of the photo. I wish I could have gone north a couple of weeks earlier to see these bulls in velvet rubbing it off in the trees. Just posting these photos makes me anxious to get back there the end of the month for the rut.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pa. Whitetail Deer...

I thought I would stick with some of the photographs I took in Benezette last month but change from Elk to whitetail deer. We didn't see as many whitetails this year as we did last year and none provided photo opportunities except this young buck and another that was with him. This photograph was taken our last morning there along the Caledonia Road while heading to Benezette. He is more than likely a second year deer by the size of his antlers. I cropped in the photo to give you a better view of the velvet that covers the antlers as they grow. I am hoping that when I go back the end of September for the Elk rut I get the chance to photograph some nice whitetails. Don't forget to stop by Shane's site today to see his new post and if you like what you see there please leave a comment for him.

A quick note about last weeks series on the Elk stuck in the swings. It turned out to be a hit on this site and other places. I had the best day ever for this blog and an awesome week for visitors. In a seven day period between last Monday and Sunday I had 674 visits, just over 49% of those had never been to the site before. They came from 18 different countries and 39 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S.A. Pennsylvania alone gave me hits from 84 different towns. Quotes from my series were used in the Endeavor News from Emporium in an article ran this past Saturday along with links to mine and Shane's site. I missed out on having a photo ran with it because I was not able to get the photo to them by the deadline. I was also contacted by the editor of the Pennsylvania Outdoor News about three of the photographs for the September edition. It looks like they may use two of the photos in that edition. Monday looks like it is going to be the same way as the hits are high as I make this post. Thanks to all that stopped by and to those that left comments. I am glad the story had a happy ending.