Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Trip To SNP...

It did not take me long to learn what I was missing out on earlier in the month. And like Elk county I have already began to take advantage of wildlife within a three hour drive. Working 10 out of 12 days over the holidays doesn't leave much time for photography, but with my son and I both off last Friday we decided ahead of time that I trip for whitetails was a must. Like the last time we were up at 2 a.m. and gone just before 2:30 a.m. heading down the interstate with visions of bucks dancing in our heads (I had to sneak a Christmas thing in there). We watched the weather all week and by Thursday night is was looking better, the rain had stopped so I did not have to drive in the dark and the rain. For those getting a little older or should I say more mature with fading eye sight a drive in the rain and dark is no fun. As we crossed the mountain between New Market and Luray my spirits went up when I noticed there was no fog present. That was a good sign that the meadows would be clear.

Just after 5 a.m. we pulled up to the entrance at SNP to find the darn cones up blocking it just like last time. You have got to be kidding me, not again, I felt like giving out the Charlie Brown AAAGGGHHHH!!!!! About ten minutes later a car pulled up next to me rolled down the window and inquired about the closure. After telling them what I knew (nothing), I said didn't we set and talk like this a couple of weeks ago? I quickly got a "your Brad, what are you doing here again". I have no idea how they remembered me or my name, maybe it was because I am sooo sexy, yes lets go with that one. Shortly before 6 a.m. a ranger showed up and inquired as to my destination. I said big meadows, then it was why are you going there. My reply was my son and I would like to see and photograph the whitetail deer. I then asked her when the park would be open and she said, it is now you may proceed. Now where I come from you do not take away cones and drive on unless you want trouble so I had no intentions of doing it in a national park.

Luckily we over heard the ranger warning the ladies of snow and ice around the 30 milepost in the park. We are back on the road and felling better again knowing we will still get to our destination before day break and it will not be foggy. But unlike other trips in I am not dodging deer. As we get to the area of the snow and ice the white knuckles came out on the wheel. Wow! it was slick. Time to shift into four wheel drive and downshift the truck. It was to bad we were not photographing in that area as everything was covered with snow. Next stop the visitors center at big meadows for the rest rooms. At this point I am thinking like the last trip we will pull out and the deer will be all over the meadows, I will be happy and Shane will be amazed. There was none to be seen. Not only no deer but no people were out. I don't mind the second part. And did I say it was COLD, well it was. The temperatures were in the 40's but it was very windy and it went right through you. Good thing we dressed in layers prepared for the cold.

For the day we seen between 50 and 70 whitetails, 17 that were bucks. Some I seen on the last trip, some were new and fantastic. We got to photograph deer while it snowed and sleeted on us, bucks grooming each other, playing and occasionally fighting. We did not see any of the other wildlife we expected or were hoping for but Shane did get to photograph a Peregrine Falcon (a piebald last trip, falcon this trip maybe it will be a bobcat next time). He now has subjects for future post including video. I have many more whitetail photos to share and even a greater excitement at getting back in January in the snow. Shane and I had a great boys day out and I look forward to many more with him. I do not think I seen your buck Jeff, but keep watching for others that you have probably already seen. Speaking of bucks I already photographed, the nine point buck with Shane was posted here on November 16TH. And for everyone out there I do not condone getting this close to a wild animal, they are unpredictable and can not be taken for granted. A larger lens like I used on this shot should be used to photograph wildlife.

Then came the drive home, tired with no one to keep me awake since Shane slept the whole way. The wind was very strong on the highway, it made you drive the entire distance with both hands on the wheel trying to keep the truck in a straight line. But I would not change a thing and I can't wait to do it again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hawaii Revisited...

Just as the title says I am revisiting our Hawaiian vacation again today. I mentioned a number of times that I will mix things up from time to time. Of course I also post what I have and sometimes that gets difficult. If it makes you feel any better I will be making a trip back to Elk County and the SNP in the near future so I should get some new Elk and Whitetail photographs, LOL. No they may be different, they could have snow in them and that is my plan.

The first photograph was taken from Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. This is a place I would like to visit again, but I want to spend days here photographing the birds and enjoying the scenery. The second photograph is the Halema'uma'u Crater. It is two miles across and 400 feet deep, and believed that the lava feeding it is from two miles below. If you click on the photos they will get larger, that is the way most of my images are.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More SNP Whitetails...

There is not much to say that I have not already said about the trip to SNP for the whitetail rut. This young 4X2 buck was photographed my first morning in the park. I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving and gets plenty to eat. For me it is another day at work. That should bring a few oven fires, a regular for us on Thanksgiving.

Don't forget to visit Shane's blog today for a new post.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


How about something different today, like a couple of photos of Shane while vacationing in Hawaii. The first one tells allot about Shane, he just had to have his photo taken with the Monkey, you ask him why. The second was taken on our cruise ship, he though he was part of the press corp.

Speaking of Shane it is Tuesday so visit his blog for a new post.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wow! What A Huge Buck...

I guess by now you know I was just kidding about a huge buck. You should have also figured out by now that I don't just photograph rack bucks but also does and small bucks. I find the beauty in the animal not just the rack and enjoy watching any deer.

I just realized that other than the video I never really told you about the trip. I learned about Shenandoah National Park by viewing Willard's blog. We tried twice before to get there in the last year but weather or something else always seemed to mess up the trip. When I noticed the Hills were there for the whitetail rut I emailed Willard to see if the week I had available would be a good time to go. His reply was it should be the peak of the rut. He got me, just kidding Willard. When photographing wildlife nothing is a given from the weather to the animal. I awoke at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning two weeks ago and was on the road by 2:40. After driving over three hours I pulled into the Big Meadows the same time as Coy and Andy. Shortly after Willard and Billy came pulling in. They told me the places to go and we set off in search of whitetails. The weather was a little warm with increasing clouds. The typical rut activity was not present. The bucks were not curling their lips, chasing the does or locking up with other bucks. I seemed to be the only one tickled by the days events. But of course I had never been there and didn't know any better. For the day I seen upwards of 100 deer and about a dozen bucks photographing many. The trip out of the park was an experience in itself dodging deer along the road on almost every turn.

The next morning I awoke to rain and fog. Getting in the park before sunrise I ran into Willard and Billy again, they quickly departed for home but I was determined to get some whitetail photos. Seven hours later I left the park after seeing about 25 to 30 deer and three bucks. I did get some decent videos and a few good photos. The next morning I got to the park about the same time only to find it was closed. It snowed the night before and I was informed it would be about two hours before they opened the park. I decided to wait it out. I never said I was very smart. An hour and a half later I was told it would be another three or four hours because of black ice. I am not that stupid, I left for home. All in all it was still a good time and the first of many return visits. I hope to get back in January for some whitetail and snow photos. I really need to quit looking at Willard and Coy's blogs before they get me in trouble for taking off every chance I get. But then maybe my wife likes me being gone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blooms For The Birds...

I have been posting mostly wildlife and have mixed things up on occasion. Recently I posted a few Hawaiian and Pa. birds, what good is birds without blooms. I have no idea what this flower is and didn't take the time to look it up, it was photographed in Hawaii during our July vacation. Surprised I photographed a flower?

UPDATE to today's post. I added four more links to my links on the left. If you like wildlife these are sites you will enjoy,,,, and one for the firefighters out there Stop by and check them out sometime, you won't be sorry.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Blogging World...

Today's photograph is the same eight point whitetail that was featured yesterday. I know I said yesterday that I also preferred the full view photo better but until I can keep reminding myself to take a step back and view the whole picture sometimes close ups is all I get. With this buck turning at the neck to view me from around the tree with his rain soaked coat I just liked the pose.

Today's post is about the blogging world and the friends you can make doing this. I have been lucky enough to photograph wildlife with some really good people I met by doing this and others I have known for years. Often I get to walk the camera with
Brian Bastinelli, Brian got me started on wildlife in the west and has past on allot of his photographic skills and Photoshop knowledge. Haney is another one I have shot with. I have known Haney since we were teenagers. Two other bloggers' I have spent time with is Rich Bistline and Woody Woodward. Now if Rich would get back to keeping his blog up. Last February I had the opportunity to photograph birds in Florida with Klauss. Klauss is an excellent photographer and was more than happy to show me around a few places in Florida that I will be going back to often. Because of others that I will mention shortly I have had the chance to meet and shoot with people like Buckwheat, Steve Friel, Henry Pierce, Andy, Carl Eckstien, Bob Shank and Billy Cromwell. There has been countless others that I have met in Yellowstone that are good people and share the same love of wildlife. I also get to meet people that are not there for the photography experience but are there for other reasons. One such person was Jeff Sullivan last week at SNP. Jeff is there as a contractor but it was obvious he shared the same love of wildlife that we did. He took the time to speak to a number of the Pa. posse and even offered to do me a favor on the last day that I will not mention to keep him out of trouble. I do thank you for the offer and hope when I get back your are still there working. If not maybe I will run into you someplace else while enjoying wildlife.

Two in particular I met doing this stand out more so in there love of wildlife and knowledge of them and photography, is brothers
Willard and Coy Hill. After viewing there sites in amazement of the excellent wildlife photos and knowledge of the subject I emailed Willard a few times and began to get the impression that I knew him. He got me started on going to Benezette and this last August I finally got the chance to meet him. Willard was very helpful showing my son and I around places to go off the beaten path to photograph the Elk. During the rut this year he introduced me to more of his friends and showed me a great time that will be repeated for years to come. This past week I got to photograph whitetail with him at SNP. While there I got to meet his brother Coy for the first time. Both men are from small rural areas like me and share the same interest in wildlife. With any luck I will get to share more memorable experiences with them in Benezette and SNP. Photography is a fun and rewarding experience that can also lead to new friendships.

Of course I can't forget my favorite fellow blogger and son
Shane, and did I tell you it is Thursday and he has a new post for you to visit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Which Do You Like Best?

Both of these photographs are of the same 8 point deer taken last Wednesday at Shenandoah National Park. I spent the bulk of this day alone in the park searching for whitetail deer and hoping the weather would change. I did see some deer, maybe 25 or 30 and three bucks. This eight point was the nicest of the day. The weather didn't change, it rained all day, heavy fog had the meadows socked in and the wind was pretty strong. The weather was not good for still photography but videos do not come out bad so I took advantage of that feature on the Nikon D90, occasionally firing a few shots when it was clear enough to do so.

I find myself fixated on taking close up photos of wildlife when I am out. Often I forget about the big picture and only after looking at other blogs like Coy and Willard's do I realize I am missing out on other photographic opportunities. That brings me to this question, what do you prefer a full body shot like the first one or a close up like the second one? I like both but need to get more of the landscapes in when they contribute to the image. As for these two I like the first one better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Young Bull Waiting His Turn...

Like most of the others this young bull was photographed during the rut in the Benezette area. If this young bull stays out of the hunt zone in a couple of years he will be able to take part in the rut and compete for the cows. Lets hope he stays out of the hunting areas.

It's Tuesday and after months of me doing this you all know that means go visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Biggest I Seen...

Last Friday you found out that I went to SNP last week for the whitetail rut. Like most of my trips I don't tell to many people in advance or post it here because of leaving my wife and son at home alone. Like my trip north for the Elk rut there will be many photos to come, I will be trying to mix them up with more Elk and other photos for those that don't share the same love of wildlife that I and some others do. This was the largest buck I seen when it comes to points. He was a nine point that I followed in the woods trying to get good photos. I really think he was playing with me as we seemed to make complete circles. Everything I got of him were stills but I wish I would have carried the D90 when I got out of the truck, he rubbed a pretty big tree putting on a nice show for me. More on the trip later including weather and shooting friends.

Today I would like to revisit the Pennsylvania Elk hunt. On October 8 of this year I posted a video of bull number 40 taken during the rut this year. The video was taken early on a Friday morning as Willard and I enjoyed this old bull in the rain. He was not the largest bull there that week but for me he was the most attractive and had a very distinct bugle, please click the link and listen to this fine animal. I found out Thursday evening after getting home from Shenandoah National Park that he was taken this year during the Elk hunt. For more information on him and other Elk killed this year visit Willard Hill's site "Pa. Wildlife Photographer" Thanks Willard for keeping us informed on the happenings with the Pa. Elk herd.

Friday, November 13, 2009

SNP:Whitetail Rut...

Watch the video for today's narrative, 57 seconds and yes I also took the video.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

They Need To Rest Also...

You have seen this bull many times in the past on this site. Sometimes with grass on his antler, grooming calf's, chasing cows or just posing beautifully for photographs. Sometimes they get tired working so hard for the photographers that they just need a break.

It's Thursday, visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Red and White-Tailed Tropicbirds...

Like the past few weeks post I am trying to mix other things in with the Elk post. While going through my files I realized there was many photos from Hawaii that could be used. If you are new to the blog in July my family and I vacationed in Hawaii for two weeks.

These photographs were taken at Kilauea Point the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on the north shore of the island of Kaua'i. I will point out now that if I ever went back to Hawaii it would be to this island as it has it all in beautiful scenery, many birds, active volcano great snorkeling areas and the whales in the winter.

These two birds are the red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbird. If I only had more time at this location to shoot more the birding was fantastic. These birds nest on the ledges and cliffs of the island. The locals call them "crater birds."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ah! That's Sweet...

I am not even going to tell you where this photo was taken, if you are a regular to the blog then by now you already know. If you don't telling you will not help any. This bull approached the calf and began grooming him, wouldn't you know it while photographing this the memory card became filled and I had to switch cards in the middle and missed most of it. It never fails.

This photo was taken under similar circumstances and lighting as the one from November 3RD's post, I like the way it came out better with the golden colors we were seeing.

It's Tuesday, you know what that means visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cleared For Landing...

A couple more from my morning at Wildwood Lake. These Canada Geese were coming in for a landing in the area I was standing. If I learned one thing it was that I need much more practice panning with flying birds and that my fingers need to move much quicker when making adjustments to the aperture and shutter speed. Something to work on before my winter trip to Florida.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall In Cumberland County...

In the last couple of weeks I have driven around Cumberland County numerous times with the intent to photograph fall colors. There had to be many beautiful locations out there but either I didn't find them or just didn't have a creative eye for it. I did get one that I liked very much, this was taken last Monday in Penn Township just off Route 174. Each year I say I am going to photograph the fall colors, this year I really made an effort maybe next year will be the year. By the way I went past here earlier in the week and the leaves are all off the trees and the corn has been picked making it look nothing like ti does in this photograph.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

You Pick The Title...

Not only can I come up with nothing to say in the post I could not even come up with a title for today's post. Just a mallard giving me something to photograph recently at Wildwood Lake in Harrisburg.

Hey it is Thursday, visit Shane's blog for a new post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Elk Cows...

To many Elk posts leaves me speechless. I do not know if it is the same cow but they were both taken the same day in the same area, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Not to worry I will switch things up on Thursday and post something other than Elk, maybe.

My post are normally scheduled post often uploaded an completed as many as two to three weeks in advance. This one was no different, but after reading the Pa. Wildlife Photographer (Willard's site) last evening I felt the need to update this post. The Elk hunting season is underway in Pennsylvania and I will not take information from his post and copy it here but I will ask you to click the link and visit his site for additional information. I will say that unconfirmed reports are that the large 8X9 bull featured in the November 2 post and the header for this site was taken during the hunt. I spent enough time around these beautiful animals during the rut and this guy in particular to know that he was not scared of humans and was acclimated to people. He would not have posed a sport to shoot no matter what the story ends up being. I want everyone to know that I am not against hunting and hunted for years along with many members of my family. But somehow shooting one of the Elk that is acclimated to people and spends his time around the town of Benezette possible being hand fed from time to time is no different than shooting the neighbors dog as he is chained to his dog house and mounting his head on the wall. It is just not a sport and needs to change.

My son and I had planned a December trip back to photograph the Elk in the snow. Unfortunately he will not get to enjoy this great animal the way I and so many others did. You know some people just really piss me off.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Have Grass On My Head...

By now you should have guessed that there would be more Elk post. If you want to see something else contribute money to my get away and take other photos fund drive. Actually there is not a fund drive yet, but I can start one if anyone wants to donate. Lets see I would like to go to Canada, back to Alaska and Yellowstone, Maine and I could go on but I don't think it will help.

The top photo seems to warm for me but it was shot late evening with the sun coming right over my shoulder and everything was glowing gold that evening so it really is what we were seeing. With the golden yellow colors I did not know how to post process it. I kept going back and changing it over and over again until I got to the point that I felt happy with it. Of course now that I look at it I am not happy with it and felt I made it worse. Now I do not know if it looks green or yellow, I just know it is messed up. The video last 32 seconds and shows a calf eating while the cow grooms it, there is the occasional bugling in the background. If it looks a little strange it is because it was shot in fairly dense fog the last morning I was there.

It is Tuesday so don't forget to visit Shane's site for a new post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Largest Bull We Seen...

This was the largest bull we seen during the rut in Benezette. This guy was an 8X9 and appeared to be the most dominant bull and had the largest herd of cows during the rut. For me he was not the most attractive bull there, my vote would go to the old one I featured on a video a couple of weeks ago with the tired bugle. If this guy looks familiar, check the new blog header I put up last Sunday.

Can you believe it is November already, where does the time go. We will soon be Christmas shopping and starting another new year.