Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Life Begins In Elk Country...

Yesterday I made a post about my recent trip to SNP to photograph whitetail deer two weeks ago, last week Shane and I made the trip to Benezette for three days to photograph Elk. In particular we were looking for bulls in velvet and calves. We had a great time, wildlife was only out a few hours each day because of the summer heat and photographing was not easy but we found what we were looking for and bring back many good memories if not photographs.

Many good photographs were missed by me for one reason or another. Some because I was allowing Shane to use the tripod for his shots. A 200-400 lens just doesn't work well in low light hand held. Others were missed because of my own decisions, right or wrong I made them and as usual I got angry with myself. One morning we had 21 elk, six were calves, one was a small spike and the rest were cows in a field. It was foggy that morning so I had the ISO set high, the photos show considerable noise. On this occasion it was late evening after s thunderstorm and the light was bad. Not wanting to turn up the ISO I shot at a shutter speed that was so slow if the elk moved at all the images were blurry. Yes I was angry at myself again, maybe I should have turned up the ISO a little more. Those are decisions I need to make to get the shots. The more I do this the more I learn. One of these years maybe I will get it.

To give you an idea of how this shot was captured it was taken at 8:22 p.m. after the storm so it was darker than usual at this time. The camera setting were ISO 400, 1/25 at f4 at 600 mm and then cropped in some. The photo is not as sharp as I would have liked and hind sight had I bumped the ISO up to say 640 I could have gotten the shutter speed up more and had little noise. Live and learn I guess. I hope these turned out okay, I have been having computer problems and by the time you see this post I should have a new monitor and have it calibrated. More from this trip and the SNP trip in the future.

Please stop by Shane's blog today for a new post.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Beauty Of June In SNP...

I mentioned last week on a post that I took a two day trip to SNP. It is a great time of year for whitetail photography as the bucks have antler growth and are in velvet and the does have dropped their fawns. The downside is that the shooting is only good for about two or three hours a day just after sunrise and right before sunset. That leaves allot of time in between with nothing to do. I tried shooting at other times but the lighting is very harsh and the contrast in sun and shade is just terrible. Most animals are not out at that time either.

Some of the other problems encountered at SNP compared to the rut and winter is that there is many more people and traffic at the park. When you mix tourist with point and shoot cameras to wildlife experience is means missed opportunities and wandering why on earth they would try to pet a wild animal or allow there children to do it. The other difference I noticed it the deer are spooky compared to winter. The does keep the fawns hidden and the bucks do not want their photographs taken. I still made the best of the trip and enjoyed it very much. How could I not after seeing such beautiful wildlife like this. I will do it again this summer and can't wait for the rut. More on the actual trip in a later post, I have to save something to say or I will be left speechless.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Bears And Fans Celebrate...

Last week I made a post about the Hershey Bears and I mentioned that they were having a celebration the day after their Calder Cup clinching win at the Giant Center. Well like last year we attended and like last year we did not wait in line to purchase shirts or hats. We also got out early because we already had every ones autograph and didn't need to wait in lines to get them. My guess is the team will change drastically before next season so I do not expect to be doing this again next year. Maybe it will be the Caps turn to hoist a Cup. I love summer but it will be a long time before I get to watch hockey again, I miss it already. I would take the time to tell you who these players are but I know if you are a HB hockey fan you already know and if you are not then your probably do not care.

Please visit Shane's blog today for a new post. Hey a week without birds, who would have guessed that, maybe next week I can post some new big game photos.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shane And Our New Toys...

I mentioned last week that Shane celebrated a birthday on June 13TH (he turned 14). One of his gifts was a World War 2 Russian sniper rifle the Mosin Nagant. The day after we took a trip to Cabela's to look at handguns and I purchased a gift for myself the Walther's P22. It was a hard decision as a couple other pistols were in the running. Not wanting to see the guns grow old and dusty we headed to the range for some target practice. The P22 was allot of fun to shoot, we do need to adjust the laser site and the Mosin was just as much fun. I will admit the Mosin has one heck of a kick to it. I think we will be spending many more days at the range with these and some of our other weapons.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Mid-Week Visit To SNP...

Last week I went to Shenandoah National Park for the first time in the summer. In fact I had never been to SNP before the rut last year but since then I have been to the park four times. I went to the park in hopes of photographing antler growth on the bucks and fawns. Of course I would have been more than pleased with some black bear, turkeys and bobcats. The plan called for three days and two nights but that changes to two days and one night. It was a successful trip and I probably should have stayed the extra day and night. More on this trip in the future. I will leave you with these two young bucks playing in big meadows last Thursday morning.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reading WWII and Air Show...

The weekend of the 4,5 and 6 was a busy weekend for Shane and I. We attended to Reading World War 2 and Air Show at the Reading airport before heading to Hidden Valley Scout Camp for the Order of the Arrow ordeal. One of these years we will not have multiple events on the weekend of the Reading show and we will be able to spend all three days there. If you like WW2 history this is a must attend event. There is over 1,000 re-enactors along with vintage aircraft and veterans from the war including the real men from the "Pacific" and "Band of Brothers". With a little luck Shane and I will be participating in the event with the 45Th Infantry Division next year.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Fight For Food Continued...

Well you can see I did something right this time. The settings were correct and the Egret set off after the Bittern again causing it to fly. I got the Egret and swung the camera to get the Bittern as he took off. I manages five or six of the Bittern in the seven or eight feet he traveled before heading back into the tall grass. The Egret gave up and the Bittern staid hidden, rest assured I left a happy man after looking at the LCD.

Next week will be some new photos, maybe not as much wildlife but some Hershey Bears and Shane with his new toy. But then who knows maybe there will be some new big game photos to post also.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Fight For Food...

A couple of months ago when I got back from Florida and began posting photographs of birds I mentioned briefly an experience I had with two birds and the fight for food. I seemed to forget to post them. I will start with three photos today and finish with the best on Friday. I wanted to post more I just do not have the chance to get them worked up and posted so maybe I will revisit it on a later date.

I noticed this American Bittern setting on the edge of one of the ponds during one of my trips through Viera Wetlands. I got this photo before he decided it was time to fly. I watched closely as the bird traveled away from me to try and go to the place he landed. After a short time I got to the area and began looking around when suddenly this White Egret came up from the tall grasses and began flying. It was at that point I noticed the American Bittern come pout of the same grass and begin to fly with a frog in his mouth. Not knowing when they would fly again or if they would I set the camera up on the Egret and made adjustments for a darker bird in hopes of capturing the Bittern. In turn that blew out some of the details on the Egret. I was fine with that as long as it worked on the bittern if he decided to take off with his catch.

Come back on Friday to see if I planned correctly or if I screwed up again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bears Win! Bears Win!

I just could not pass up the chance to make a post about the Hershey Bears. Monday night the Bears beat the Stars 4-0 to clinch their 11TH Calder Cup championship and first on home ice since 1980. I thought I should make the post now because if they wait 30 years to do it on home ice again I may not be around. The Bears had the best season in the AHL's 74 year history. They set many records from win streaks at home to most wins to the first to come back from a 0-2 deficit to win the cup. It was special to be part of the celebration but something seemed to be missing. I think it is because we have been in the finals four of the last five seasons and it was our third cup in that time period.

Just my luck, I spent time researching point and shoot cameras (something small) over the weekend and purchased one on Monday so I would have it to photograph some of the game. If you remember we can not bring cameras into the arena that have removable lens. After setting down and pulling out the small camera I was informed that late afternoon the Bears announced that you could bring real cameras to the game. So there I set with a point and shoot and the D300 with the 70-200 2.8 at home. Just my luck I guess. Last night the Bears had a celebration open to the public so you may see a few more photos soon. Hopefully the video will work, I have been having problems since the blooger changes in the last week.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blue Heron And Chick...

More from my spring Florida trip, these were taken at Viera Wetlands. This Blue Heron and chick were nesting in a tree in one of the ponds. This was the best chance I had to photograph a heron chick in the last two years. Unfortunately my best video found the delete button, just because it makes a good vertical photograph does not mean it will make a good vertical video. Yes that is right I video tapped the heron and chick vertically. After downloading the card and viewing the video it donned on me that the video will be displayed horizontally. I never claimed to be the brightest candle on the cake. The video last 20 seconds and shows the adult fixing the nest while the chick moves about.

Since I do not post on the weekends and I skipped yesterday this is a couple of days late BUT, Happy Birthday Shane. On Sunday June 13TH Shane turned 14 years old, he is out of middle school and will be going to High School next year. My how time flies. I think he had a good birthday and I feel certain he liked his gifts. Speaking of Shane's don't forget to visit his blog today for a new post.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Juvenile American White Ibis...

Juveniles are largely brown with duller bare parts; they are distinguished from the Glossy and White-faced Ibises by white underparts and rumps. Over all both sexes look alike.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Black-crowned Night-Heron

This is the Black-crowned Night Heron I photographed the same day as the Yellow-crowned Night Heron. For as much time as I spend at Wildwood Lake I had never seen this bird there. After photographing the Yellow-crowned I thought I would make a quick trip around Wildwood lake in search of a few more photographs, I guess I made the right decision for a change. I wasn't far from the truck when I spotted this bird on a log. He allowed me the chance to set up the tripod and get some photos.

Please stop by Shane's blog for a new post today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eastern Phoebe...

The most familiar flycatcher in eastern North America, the Eastern Phoebe nests near people on buildings and bridges. It can be recognized by its emphatic "phee-bee" call and its habit of constantly wagging it tail.

In 1804, the Eastern Phoebe became the first banded bird in North America. John James Audubon attached silvered thread to an Eastern Phoebe's leg to track its return in successive years.

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

Monday, June 7, 2010

D-Day, A Day Late...

Picking a photograph for today's post was very difficult for me. With yesterday being D-Day I wanted to post something World War II related. Over the last week I recorded many images that could be used for this post from five WWII veterans that marched in the Shippensburg Memorial Day parade, to the real heroes from band of brothers or the Pacific to the re-enactors portraying WWII soldiers at Reading this past week. But when it was all said and done one person came to mind, Jake "McNasty" McNiece. Jake was one of the Filthy 13 and sort of the unofficial leader. Jake wrote a book called the Filthy 13 that I purchased at last years show. It was one of the best books I have ever read and even though I met him and some of his fellow soldiers from the "13" last year this year I just had to shake his hand again and thank him. He is an amazing person, it is veterans like him that can choke a fellow up when talking to him.

For those of you that do not know, yesterday was D-Day. The largest amphibious invasion of all time, with 175,000 troops, 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships. Some of the beach's taken by these men were Sword, Juno, Gold and Omaha beach.

Back to Jake, he was a fighter a drinker and had a total disregard for the rules, but he was a soldier. He never rose above the rank of PFC until his discharge from the Army when he obtained the rank of Sergeant. The face paint and hair cuts on the 101st Airborne on D-Day was Jake's idea. Jake completed four combat jumps in World War II including D-Day, during Operation Market Garden.

Thank You Jake and all other Veterans.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tricolored Heron...

The tricolored heron is about 22 inches in length and has a wingspan of about three feet. It has slate blue feathers on most of its body except for a white chest and belly and a rust-colored neck. It has long yellow legs, a white stripe that runs up its neck and long pointed yellow bill. The bill turns blue during breeding season. Males and females look alike.

The tricolored heron wades in the water in search of prey. It mostly eats fish but it also will eat amphibians, insects and crustaceans.

The tricolored heron is also known as the Louisiana heron. It sometimes wades in deep water when looking for food and all that can be seen of it above the water is its body.

Please stop by Shane's blog today for anew post. I do not know what it will be but he has been on an aircraft roll lately, and guess what he will be shooting more this weekend.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Harrisbur Blue Jay...

This Blue jay was photographed at Wildlood Lake in Harrisburg a couple of weeks ago. No sense in saying anything else, no one has been reading this or the other blog lately anyways.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Heron Trifecta...

Saturday morning I pulled off a Heron trifecta in Harrisburg. I have only been photographing birds for a little over a year now so sometimes I am a little slow on local birding. That being said I finally went to a local park in Harrisburg that was said to have nesting pairs of Yellow Crowned Night Herons. I arrived and quickly began to scan the area for the Herons, I was searching trees as I was told that there was numerous nest and that you could not miss them. With all the leaves I never seen a single nest but I did locate on Yellow Crowned feeding alone in the grass. Not knowing if I would get any photos by taking my time getting out of the truck and putting the camera on the tripod I began firing aways from the window with the D90 and the 70-200 f2.8 attached. The second photograph of the heron with the worm was from that encounter. I found a place to pull over and and got the D300 with the 200-400 f4 attached out and set up. He was kind enough to allow me to get a few photographs before flying away (the first photo came from this set up). Two other times I seen the yellow crowned fly by but this area is not open and has many trees so you do not get the chance to see them soon enough to get set up for flying shots.

These birds are considered endangered here in Pa and in New Jersey. Apparently one has been nesting here for years and recently one began nesting in the Lancaster area and just this year on in the York area. I hope to try and photograph them a few more times this season.

The trifecta occurred when I photographed a green heron in a tree at this location and then later in the morning I photographed a Black Crowned Night Heron at Wildwood Lake. All in all it was a good morning for birds.

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