Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall In South Central Pennsylvania...

I set out the other week to photograph some fall colors, in doing so I learned one very important thing. Don't quit my day job. I live in a beautiful area and could not visualize any images, I apparently have no creative abilities. But then I already knew that. The first photo is a view of Huntsdale, Pa. from the top of Kings Gap, click the photograph for a much larger view.

On a side note today is my 600Th post, it is hard to believe I have been doing this blog that long.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hartford Stag...

Same bull again even taken the same day as yesterdays post except they caught my eye for a different reason. Some of you may have heard of Hartford Insurance. As a child growing up in the fire service they were big in making children's fire helmets with their logo on the front piece. It was always a large bull Elk. I had many different ones as a child and must have thrown them all in the trash at sometime. Now I wish I would have kept them. The first photos reminds me of them.

It's not clear exactly when the elk first appeared as the company’s logo. The oldest on record is the one that appears on the 1861 policy issued to Abraham Lincoln. The Elk logo changed numerous times over the years but they still use and Elk as there symbol today. In the company the stag is referred to as "Larry." The nickname comes from the name of the actual stag used in a series of television commercials: Lawrence. Lawrence first showed up in 1974, he was an impressive animal at ten-feet tall (hoof to antler tips), five hundred pound elk with eight point antlers and thick reddish coat. Beginning in the early 2000s, television commercials use a computer-generated stag, not a live animal.

I just like the second photograph with little of the bull Elk showing over the mountainside as he bugles.

It is Thursday so please visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Same Bull, Different Poses...

Wow! after all the Elk post from Benezette during the rut it is getting harder and harder to come up with something to type. This is the same bull taken the same morning just different poses and different backgrounds. Most of what I had been posting were close up shots but I came across these in my files that included some of the background and I was drawn to them so here they are.

For most people it is over the hump day but for me it is a Monday and the start of my work week. Four more days and I get another four day break, I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mason Hill Whitetails...

Like the Ruffed Grouse from last week, these are not the best of photographs but I wanted to post something other that Elk again today. Also like the Ruffed Grouse, these were taken while on Mason Hill Road but on the way up the hill. I had high expectation of seeing many whitetails and turkeys during my trip north for the Elk rut. Of course I only seen one flock of turkeys and a few whitetail does. On the bright side the Elk watching was pretty good. Before I forget this is Tuesday and that means visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More From My Walk...

These are a couple more shots from the walk I took a couple of weeks ago. I had to look these birds up so if I do not identify them correctly please let me know. I think the first bird is an American Wigeon and the second bird a male Common Loon.

I guess I should have expected the numbers to drop I just hoped they wouldn't. After I posted the photos of the Elk stuck in the swing set from Benezette in August my hits on this site were far higher than I would have ever expected. I watched the views begin to drop a couple of weeks after the post until they finally got back to what they were before. It was fun while it lasted. I guess I need to go out and find something strange again to drum up more traffic.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ruffed Grouse...

Keeping with what I have been trying to post lately and not post all Elk photos I will end the week with the Ruffed Grouse. It has been difficult to come up with other photos lately with nothing working out as planned. Last weekend my family and I had reservations at the Shenandoah National forest, we were hoping to photograph the fall colors and some whitetail deer. With the weather that trip got scraped. I do not have another free weekend to try it again until the middle of December. I tried going for a drive around here over the weekend but it was just raining to hard to get out of the truck with the camera. On Monday I set out again in search of wildlife and fall colors, my destination Kings Gap State Park. Well no wildlife and nothing in me was creative. I did take a few photographs but nothing I could really say I liked. I really want to get some good fall color shots I just keep coming up empty.

I took these photos while in Benezette photographing the rut. One late morning Willard asked If I wanted to go for a ride and see a few things I had never seen before. We headed to Driftwood to see the Civil War monument, a stop along the way to see where Tom Mix was born and then up the Mason Hill Road for the view. On the way back down the road we came across this Ruffed Grouse standing on the dirt road. I had not seen a grouse in years and had never photographed one. It was a little dark so I had to bump up the ISO and hand hold the camera so they didn't turn out the way I would have hoped they would. All in all I am just glad I got to see one.

For those of you that do not know this is Pa.'s state bird. To learn more about this pretty bird click the Ruffed Grouse.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No Close Ups Today...

Sometimes when photographing wildlife I get like a horse with blinders on and forget about my surroundings. I took very few photos that included the landscape, I guess that is something I will have to work on. The top photo and video was taken on Test Hill, if you have watched Willard's Pennsylvania Elk DVD set he mentions this area and features a fight that was filmed here sometime ago. The video shows the bull digging around in the grass with his antlers, just like bugling this is always an impressive sight to see. With the amount of Pa. Elk post I have made lately, it is getting difficult to come up with something to say.

Hey it is Thursday, that means go visit Shanes blog for a new post.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Elk Bugling...

More Elk bugling today, being music to my ears and many others I just can't get enough of it. Both taken on different days in different locations one early morning and one late evening both these Elk have one thing in common and that is bugling and trying to impress the cows. The photo was taken at almost 7 p.m. as light was quickly fading, to get the photograph I had to shoot at ISO 1000, 1/20 second at f4 with the D300 and the 70-200 2.8 with a 1.4 teleconvertor attached. He was one of eight bulls in a group with only a few cows that Buckwheat and I found by following the bugling.

The video is 23 seconds and again I must ask you to TURN UP YOUR VOLUME. While the video is a bit soft (sorry I didn't have my glasses on to manually focus) it is good in that is shows a bull close up bugling and urinating all over himself. Bulls do this because the urine scent on their bodies help the cows to identify different bulls and helps to keep the cows near during the rut. The scent may also induce cows to come into estrus in preparation for breeding. If I ever pass along bad information please correct me Willard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Pennsylvania Elk Herd...

You didn't think I could stay away from the Elk photos for too long did you? Both of these were shot on different days and in different areas but both were taken with the Nikon D90. As always TURN YOUR VOLUME UP, the video last 18 seconds and this nice bull does not disappoint when he lets out a great bugle. That is one of the most impressive things you will ever hear or see. It is sad to think we have to wait another whole year to enjoy it live again. After doing this photograph and looking through the D300 files I found I got a number of good shots of this guy on the mountain that evening. Don't forget most all of my photos get larger if you click on them.

Hey it is Tuesday go visit Shane's site for a new post.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dover Nationwide Race...

Last month I took a day off work so my family and I could go to Dover, Delaware for the Nationwide Dover 200 race. We always have fun but we may never go again. It seems every time we go to Dover it rains and this race was no different. They did get the race in but it drizzled the last 25 or so laps and was pouring by the time we got out of the parking lot.

The top photo shows the four cars that dominated most of the race, #29 Clint Boyer, #18 Kyle Busch, #88 Brad Keselowski and #11 Mike Bliss. The second photograph shows Clint Boyer doing burn outs at the start finish line after winning the race. The last photo is of my best friend and son Shane and a self portrait. This was the first photograph I got of Shane since he got his braces a couple of months ago. He went with Miami Dolphins colors of teal and orange. Back to Elk photos in the morning.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Greater Yellowlegs...

First let me say if I misidentified this bird please step up and let me know. When I first photographed it I thought it was a type of sandpiper but after looking at it and checking my books it appears to me to be a Greater Yellowlegs.

After being north and photographing the Elk the fire has been burning in me to get out and see and photograph more wildlife. Last week I took a walk at one of the local watering holes in search of migrating birds. While doing so I came across these two guys in the water. To learn more about the
Greater Yellowlegs click the link. Don't expect the break from Pennsylvania Elks to last very long I will revisit them again next week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Elk Antics...

The photograph was taken one evening late while shooting with Buckwheat. This young bull just layed in the meadow chewing his cud apparently uninterested that to his left was seven more bulls and a number of cows. To get this photograph I had to remove the 1.4 teleconverter from the 70-200 2.8 lens, lay flat on the ground and not do much zooming. I just wish my photos looked as good on the web as they do on my own systems.

The video was taken early Wednesday morning in some of the newly reclaimed area from strip mining. I really don't care to shoot in these areas because I do not like the green as it appears in the backgrounds and foregrounds, but sometimes you have no choice when that is where the action is taking place. The video last 18 seconds and as always I am going to ask you again to PLEASE TURN UP YOUR VOLUME. What you will see is two dominant bulls square off and lock antlers as they push each other down the other side of the mountain watch the screen to the upper left first and then to the lower right. The younger satellite bulls (much like some men) will come running in bugling as soon as the big bulls get out of site. These bulls know they do not have a chance with the cows and take advantage of any opportunity they get. They usually do not score as the larger bulls return quickly and run them off. Wow! what a great time it was.

Hey it is Thursday and that means go visit my son Shane's site for a new post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sparring Elk In Pennsylvania...

I hope most of you are enjoying the Elk photographs and videos. I know I had so much fun watching and recording them and I am enjoying seeing them again and sharing them. Since I have been home and people have seen some of the photos and footage I have noticed more interest generated in traveling north to view the Elk. I was a guilty party until last August when my family made the trip to view the Elk. Until that point I traveled out west to photograph the rut. Why I didn't take advantage of a resource just over three hours away from me is mind boggling. I have now been up three times in just over a year and plan on going again over the winter in hopes of photographing the Elk in the snow.

The photo and video were taken on different days in different areas but represent the same subject. Young bulls sparring during the rut. Both were shot early morning in difficult lighting situations. The photograph was taken at 2000 ISO to allow enough light in and get the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action (1/125 sec., f4). The video last about 27 seconds, PLEASE TURN UP YOUR VOLUME to hear the Elk bugling and the crashing of the antlers. I promise no funny business this time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Pa. Elk Rut...

Back to the Pennsylvania Elk rut as promised. The photo was taken my first morning out, this young rag horn followed a cow in my direction thankfully turning and heading into the tree line before reaching me. I don't know what you think of the sharpness or quality of the photo but it was taken at 1250 ISO. Have you ever looked this closely into a bulls face when he was bugling?

The video was taken shortly after my arrival in Benezette. While not the best footage and by far not the best setting, the short 23 second video taken in the rain and shows one of the more dominant bulls trying to entice two cows to get involved with him (do you like the way I put that?) and a calf run up to a cow trying to feed. For you mothers out there you should be glad children are more gentler than calves. This was one of the first videos I have taken with the D90 and while I was far from an expert by the time I left for home I had learned allot and began taking much better videos. It looks like after only about six month of using the D90 it will be going up for sale very soon so I can upgrade to the D300S. If anyone out there wants a great camera with HD video features, the optional battery pack on the bottom and remote shutter release, all with less than 3,000 shutter releases let me know I will be selling it at a good price.

Hey it is Tuesday, you know what that means, a new post from Shane. He didn't get a post made last Thursday because the home PC was giving us fits again. About time for a new CPU here also.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Washingtonburg 2009...

Like I mentioned last week I will mix somethings in with the Elk rut photos and videos, so here is your one mixer up for the week. September 20TH on the way home from the Eisenhower farm WWII weekend I made a pit stop at the Army Heritage Center in Carlisle. They were having there 3RD Washingtonburg weekend. I only had a short time to run through the encampment as I had to get to work but I did manage to get in a few shutter releases. This years event was not as good as the first two but still worth attending. The period vendors were in attendance, General Washington was there but the military units were not there as in years past. I was told is was due to a scheduling conflict. No matter what the case this is a free event that is still very good and a must for any historian that lives in the area. I know if I am off work next year I will visit again. Guess what, Elk in the morning.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Funny Friday...

I need to say this first, please TURN UP YOUR VOLUME. The video last 23 seconds, the cow eats while the calf seems to focus it's attention on the two of us. You will hear bulls bugling in the area as well as Haney's shutter release. The beeping noise is his auto focus, before the morning shooting was over he learned how to turn that off, good job Haney. As the video plays listen closely to the last couple of seconds and the sound that comes from the Elk. Now that was funny! Note to self, remember when you are recoding video and that it does record sound. Sorry I may be older on the outside but I am still a little boy mentally and darn glad I am. The video was taken my last morning of shooting. The cow photograph was taken the same time as yesterday's calf photo. Some people will only photograph bulls, I don't care what it is as long as it is wildlife and presents me with the right opportunity. This cow did, with color in the background, catch light in the eyes and a mouthful of food it was as if she begged me to take her photograph, and I am glad I did.

I hope you enjoyed my Elk post this week, I have plenty more. I will try and mix something in each week with the Elk but I have many other photos and videos I want to post on the Elk rut.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Elk Calf and a Wet Morning...

I am not the educator that Willard is and I have already spoken of the difficulty shooting in low light and fog, the long hours and people you shoot with so it will become more difficult for me to come up with comments on my Elk County posts.

The calf was photographed late afternoon about mid week. I used the 80-200 f2.8 on the D300 and the 80-400 f4-5.6 on the D90. Because of that most of the still were taken with the D300 and the video with the D90. Knowing I wanted to concentrate on video my last day I switched the lens around on the cameras. I just can't say enough good about the 80-200 2.8, it is awesome glass. Because of the speed I was able to capture this calf with great depth of field, none of the blurring was done post processing this is the way it was photographed, to me it adds dimension to the image almost making the calf stand out from the foreground and background.

The video was taken Friday morning in the rain. Please turn up your volume when watching. It only last 27 seconds but you hear bulls bugling in the area, the rain falling and this bulls distinctive bugle.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Sounds Of Rut Season...

You just had to know I was going to stick with rut photos as much as I love wildlife. Photographing wildlife can be hours of fun, exciting at times and depending on situations even scary at times, Haney knows what I am talking about. It can also be very difficult, wildlife is most active in the early mornings and late evenings when lighting is not easy. In Elk country fog is a big factor many times and that also makes things difficult. Bob covered it in a post recently and he also got to photograph the bull that was stuck in the swing set in August the week before I got their. Coy who was there the previous week with his brother and he also covered the difficulties of photographing in fog and low light. I mentioned them both with links because you can visit there sites to view more Elk photos if you enjoy the wildlife.

Photographing wildlife can also take allot out of you. One must get up very early to be out and in place for first light. Many times you stay out until the sun goes down and the light is gone. All this takes place while hiking distances on rough terrain and up and down mountains and hills. The average person that visits Benezette during the rut photograph the Elk from the roads and that can be done but one learns little about the animal that way and never really sees them in their natural settings. This is all done while carrying heavy cameras, tripods, additional lens and camera gear along with whatever else may be needed for the days adventure. Many times meals are eaten from the tailgates of vehicles and the lack of sleep and constant activity begin to take there toll on you. I never nap during the day and even I passed out for almost two hours in my truck Friday afternoon to awake and find people, cars and Elk around me. I am not saying any of this to complain, on the contrary I love every minute of it. I am just trying to pass along to those that do not do this what it is like to photograph Gods beautiful creatures.

The photo was taken one early morning as we were trying to reach the top before the sun rose. If you are working to see the Elk and get into place the chance to get silhouettes occurs often. The video although not that good because it was shot at 2000 ISO along Dewey Road with tourist around gives one the idea of what lighting conditions can be. It also provides you the chance to see numerous bulls, cows and calves as they begin to leave the meadow to escape the people shooting their point and shoot cameras with flashes going off. Now I am not putting point and shoot cameras down I believe photography is a great thing no matter what camera you use or can afford, just be smart enough to turn the flash off. The video also gives you a chance to hear some of the sweetest music one can hear and that is the bugling of Elk during the rut season. The entire video only last 33 seconds, PLEASE TURN UP YOUR VOLUME, it will be worth it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Pennsylvania Elk Rut...

I mentioned yesterday that I took a trip north last week to photograph the Elk rut in Benezette, that post and all of last weeks were scheduled posts. For those of you that left comments and or have blogs that I frequent I will get to them. It was late Saturday when I got home and then it was off to the Hershey Bears game and then back to work Sunday morning so I will be catching up this week.

I edited yesterdays post Sunday night adding the last paragraph and that pretty much sums up the week. The Elk were as fantastic and vocal as could be providing me with plenty of great photographic opportunities. If I did not get the photo or didn't get it right that was my fault. The guys I shot with were a great bunch, I hooked up with Willard (I couldn't get the link thingy to work with Willard) his knowledge of the Elk and area and his photographic and video skills are fantastic not to mention just a really great person. I also had the opportunity to shoot with Buckwheat whom I met last month on my trip to Benezette. Buckwheat is nothing short of amazing, he seems to know the Elk on a personnel level. He has a way of getting you in the right spot to get the perfect photo or at least the chance to get it and he is an excellent photographer. The only thing with Buckwheat is if you are going to tag along with him you better be in good shape and willing to move in a hurry for long periods even if it is uphill. There was times I thought I would need oxygen following him but I was determined to keep up and learn what I could and I am dang glad I did. I made another new friend that we shot with and that was Steve from Erie. Steve was another great guy that has really gotten into photographing wildlife and was capturing some great images. Steve and I were the rookies on the trip but I believe as much fun and excitement as we both had we will see each other again in the back country photographing Elk again.

On Friday night Haney came up and on Saturday morning we got to shoot together. I had captured many still the previous four days so I concentrated on learning how to use the HD video feature and capture some footage on the D90, and did I. The other three will never believe this without seeing the footage but we got into an Elk fight, not a sparring match but a fight and within about 25 yards from us. We did not set out to be that close they just happened to move the action closer to us and we stayed still. A couple of times during the week we joked when we got split up that the other missed a fight so I hope to be able to post some video of it for the others to see and believe. Unfortunately the best stuff I shot is to long and large to upload onto blogger and being an idiot on these machines I will have to learn how to do it.

The rut was not over when I left and I wish I could have stayed, maybe next year I will plan a vacation around it and do 12 days, if my body can take it. The photo above was captured while shooting with Buckwheat, this seven by seven was laying down in the late afternoon sun. I moved around until I got the only tree with color behind him and waited patiently for him to get up to start shooting. For any of you that I mentioned if you read this I just want to say THANKS for a fun and memorable time. You guys remind me of firemen the way you excepted me and passed along knowledge, it was so much fun.

Before I forget, this is Tuesday and you know what that means, go visit Shane's site for a new post. And don't be scared to comment on his photos.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Eisenhower World War II Weekend...

On Sunday September 20TH Shane and I traveled to the Eisenhower farm in Gettysburg for their World War II weekend. Like always we had a great time learning about the weapons and expanding our knowledge on WW II. The reanactors are great, they are more than willing to share their knowledge and help out the visitors. This was the first time we attended this event but it will be on the calendar for years to come. We now must wait until January for our next trip like this and we can't wait.

I said last week I would give the people that do not enjoy wildlife a break and post something else, well there you have it. I know the few people that knew I was taking a trip last week to northern Pennsylvania to photograph the Elk rut would be checking to see what I am posting from the trip, they will start on Tuesday. For those of you that didn't know, (I don't post it on here since my family is at home when I am gone) I spent five days last week in Benezette photographing the Elk rut. It was a fantastic time filled with Elk, fresh air, beautiful scenery and great people. All those combined add up to two weeks next year if I am not out west.

Friday, October 2, 2009

One From The Front...

This is not the same mule deer from yesterday but I figured since I showed you one from the rear I would post one today from the front. This mule deer was also photographed last fall in Yellowstone, but no place close to yesterday's photo. Next week I hope to bring you some non wildlife photographs, so for those of you that are not big wildlife fans stick with me.

Tomorrow is the big day, as a hockey fan my Washington Capitols and Hershey Bears both play their home openers. The Caps will raise the division banner and the Bears will raise their record 10TH Calder Cup banner. We will be on hand to see the banner reach the rafters. Oh, hockey season, it makes winters worth it, sometimes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

But, Butt...

Looking through the photographs from Yellowstone to post it just seemed fitting that I use this shot. Like most people that like to photograph wildlife I have a large collection of butt shots. No it is not that I want to photograph their butts it is just that it is what you see most often. Like all I normally delete most of them but occasionally I keep a few. I kept this one from last fall because of the size of the mule deers rack. He really is a trophy buck and if he stays in Yellowstone and does not fall pray to any of the predators he will continue to grow and bring enjoyment to many others for years to come.

It is Thursday again so please visit Shane's blog.