Friday, October 29, 2010

Coyote At SNP...



While In Shenandoah National Park I expect to photograph whitetail deer and turkeys, squirrels and some birds, I always hope to see some black bears and can't wait for that bobcat encounter. What I should have expected to see but never thought about it was coyotes. When I was there earlier this month I spent time both days photographing this coyote from a hill side. He dug and dug and came up with a mouth full of dirt numerous times. If he ever caught anything that first day he ate it before showing it to me. I have photographed coyotes numerous times in Yellowstone but never like the photo opportunity this guy gave me. I have also never seen a better looking coyote as this one. He looks like he eats well and had a very nice coat. You will be seeing some more of this guy from this day and the photos I got the second day.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

SNP Does...


These does were photographed earlier this month in Shenandoah National Park. The first photo didn't come out quite like I had planned. The sun was setting and this was the only deer I could isolate with a red back ground. Unfortunately the beautiful sky never materialized and the grass was a little high, but here it is anyways. The second photo was taken early one morning when these two groomed each other for some time. With the end of the month here it won't be long now until the whitetails begin to rut in the park. I can't wait to get there and enjoy the fresh air, beautiful scenery, wildlife and great company.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Recent Fire Ground Photos...




Today's photographs come from four emergencies that occurred this month. The first one is a HAZMAT incident that occurred on Monday October 11 in Southampton Twp. Franklin County near Shippensburg. We made a trip to visit Linda's parents and I could not help but drive past to see what was happening, in doing so I caught a couple of shots from across interstate 81. The truck was leaking sulfuric acid, crews handled the situation and returned to service after spending hours on the scene. The next two photos are from an auto accident that was near my home. Shortly after getting home from work on Wednesday October 13TH local companies responded to an accident at the intersection of Church and Mulberry for a van overturned with confinement. Crews worked to remove the patient but unfortunately that person passed away. The next two photographs are of a minor house fire we had in uptown Harrisburg on Saturday October 16Th. Now that I am driving Wagon 3 it keeps me outside at the pump panel when we have handlines off working a fire. I carry a point and shoot Sony Cyber-shot camera in my pocket and capture a few photos if I have time. We arrived to find light smoke showing and found fire to be in the wall from the second to the third floor as a result of an electrical problem. In the 5Th photo Wil Turner (T2) and Dustin Ventresca (T1) fly to the roof to check for fire extension.

The last photograph was taken the same day earlier in the morning when we responded to an automatic fire alarm on Allison Hill. These two guys are my new partners now that I am on the Wagon. For the last 17 years I worked on a ladder truck the last 15-1/2 on Tower 2 but recently I moved to the Wagon and drive for these two guys. This is Deshawn Dennis and Leon Cliatt, they have worked together on this rig for a few years together. I have always respected these two as people and firemen but recently they raised that respect level enormously. Last Monday, October 18TH we responded to a reported fire with people trapped. When we arrived we found three or four homes in a row of six burning with people screaming that there was four kids still inside. Everyone there did their jobs well but what these two guys did was nothing short of heroic and spectacular. After stretching a line they knocked down the outside fire and beat their way into a burning house. Once inside Leon continued to fight the fire alone while Deshawn began searching for trapped occupants. Leon was able to keep the blaze in check allowing a search to take place, Deshawn found one of the kids and removed them to EMS workers. A total of four kids and an adult were pulled from the home, unfortunately they all perished at the hospital. These guys along with everyone else did a superb job under the worst conditions possible and I could not be more proud to call them friends and brother firemen. That guy may not think we are firemen and we do not care what the other guy thinks be we and the citizens of Harrisburg know we are true firemen (you need to be a city jake to understand the last sentence).

Recently because of bad decisions on the part of emergency services people from across the country taking photographs during an emergency has come under fire. I and many others take photographs and I see nothing wrong with it if used properly and not abused. In the first incident a woman died in the accident, you will see no photographs of that lady because I refuse to take any of that subject. You will also see no photos from me of the fatal house fire, the camera was in my pocket but this was not the type of emergency that I would photograph, in fact the only reason I removed the camera from my pocket was to put it in the cab. Photographing emergencies is done for a number of reasons, one is to help in the investigation of what happened, another is to use for training and critiquing the incident and finally to record history. I take photographs for just these reasons and will never abuse my ability to get close to an emergency to take inappropriate photographs.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Elk Photographers...



Every time I go out photographing wildlife I plan to photograph the gang that I shoot with but every time I think about it late in the week and then try and play catch up. This trip to elk country was no different. Many of the people I photographed with like Odie, Dan Swart and Bob Shank to name a few I never got a shot of. There are other that I only get to see once a year during the rut that are super people and others that I see again at SNP, all of them just complete the wildlife photography experience. I did manage to get a few of the guys I spend the most time with in the wild. The first photograph is Coy Hill of Country Captures as he gets a few shots of a bull on top of the mountain. As he was getting these photos I turned to find his brother Willard Hill of the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer getting some video of a herd over by the log cabin. These two guys are the reason Linda gets me out of the house and her hair many times each year photographing wildlife in elk country and SNP. After finding their blogs and looking at the wildlife I contacted them a few years ago and they were kind enough to help me out on places to go for deer and elk. After meeting them they were even more kind in letting me tag along and showing me the areas first hand. I look forward every year in getting together with them to enjoy the wildlife and talk, I hope we get to do it for many more years. The last photograph is Ronald "Buckwheat" Safer, Willard introduced me to Buckwheat a couple of years ago in elk country and last year I got to try and keep up with him in the wild. Buckwheat is a great elk photographer, where I will shoot anything including photos with poor back grounds or setting Buckwheat always gets in position to get those amazing shots. Unfortunately he does not have a site but his photos can be seen from time to time in the RMEF Bugle magazine including the cover shot a couple of issues ago. This year Buckwheat had to help a friend out so I didn't get to shoot with him like last year, maybe the next trip he can get me in those good spots for some awesome photos.

Thanks guys you make the trips just that much more enjoyable.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More Bull 8A...


Yesterday's post featured Bull 8A and so does today's. If you have not figured out yet by my comments you will be seeing more of this bull in the future. Yesterday I mentioned photographing this bull and another one posturing for some time but not fighting that particular time. These were taken shortly after he broke it off, he walked up close to a group of us did some bugling and took out his frustration on the ground (you will be seeing those and the posturing sometime in the future). I would rather photograph bulls without collars but I will photograph what I see. Some people remove the collars in Photoshop but that is something I do not want to do, for me this is a record of this bull. I have been going to Elk County now for three years and hope to continue for many years, at some point I want too be able to recognize the elk by name, even those that do not have collars. I am not really fond of these photos as I think my post processing could have been better, but then I really didn't come home with the high quality images that I did last year. Maybe because the weather was bad and lighting poor many of the days and partly because I do not always perform behind the camera the way I should. This just proves that because the camera looks big and fancy it does not always take good pictures, it takes an effort on the part of the photographer also.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bull 8A Was The Center Of Attention...

This is bull 8A with a cow. During my trip north he was the center of attention for many in the Dewey Road area. I had the chance to photographs and video tape this bull many times. I photographed him in a fight and earlier that same morning I video taped him fighting, a day later I photographed him while he and another bull were posturing but never actually fought. They did put on a good show for us. Lets just hope he makes it through the hunting season as he spent most of his time just outside hunt zone 2. Last year the two bulls I spent most of my time with were killed the first two days of the season, those two like this one are very acclimated to people and would not put up a fare chase hunt.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hershey Bears Hockey...





This is a post I didn't think I would make this year, Hershey Bears hockey. At the last moment before Saturday nights home opener I found out that the Giant Center was allowing people to bring in cameras to record the banner ceremony for the teams 11TH Calder Cup championship. I won't bore any of you with names of many of the players pictured here since hockey photos don't seem to be a big draw with my viewers and I almost didn't post them for that reason but then I remembered that I am doing this blog for fun and this is fun for me. Keep in mind while looking at these photos that I set in row four so I need to shoot through the glass and I don't think they have cleaned it this century. The first photo is the Bears goalies during the opening ceremonies followed by goalie Braden Holtby showing off his championship ring. The fourth photo is Micheal Nylander a former NHL all star on loan to the Rochester team from the Washington Capitols. In the last photograph if you look near the bottom of the left pipe you can see some black after the puck crossed the goal line for Rochester's first goal. By the way we lost the home opener 3-2.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

SNP Nine Point Buck...


video

This was one of the few bucks that spent the morning out until there was enough light to photograph at reasonable ISO settings. This nine point buck was out before 6 a.m. in the same area and came back out a couple hours later, the video only last about 20 seconds.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Two Day SNP Trip...

Last week I posted a couple of photographs from SNP and mentioned I made a recent two day trip there. Today's photograph came from the second morning. It was a very good trip for wildlife, the first day I seen about 75 deer with 12 to 15 being bucks, a flock of turkey's and a coyote. The second day I seen about 60 deer, 8 or 9 that were bucks, five raccoons (no photos) and a coyote. It looks promising for the rut next month and I can't wait to get back. The only problem with the trip is that more often than not the bucks were out when it was low light forcing me to take more video than photos and when I was shooting photos they were at high ISO. This photograph was taken at ISO 1000, 1/80, f2.8. This morning there was five rack bucks together occasionally sparring, you will see video from this morning in the future. What a difference in shooting in the two locations over my break. While in elk country almost all video and photographs were taken with the 200-400 f4 lens, I only shot a few with the 70-200 f2.8, but in SNP all my photographs were taken with the 70-200 and none with the 200-400.

Please visit Shane's blog today for a new post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Practicing For The Future...

video

These young bulls were captured the last morning I was in elk country. While the bigger bulls fought and chased cows around these two young elk practiced for the future not far from me. It was to early to photograph without noticeable noise but with the D90 set at ISO 1250, 1/15 second at f4 they were able to be videoed. They were fun to watch, maybe I am easy but I really enjoyed watching them.

video

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Elk Fight Video...

video

The majority of the time when the action was taking place in elk country it was to early or to late to photograph the wildlife unless one wanted to crank up the ISO way beyond what is usable. When those times occurred I used the Nikon D90 to take video of the action. This time I remembered to put my glasses on since focusing is manual but even with the glasses it is not easy to operate the focusing ring some distance away on the 200-400 VR F4 lens and look at the LCD. I also found that unless the action stays in the same focal plane and does not get get closer of further away it is easier to maintain the focus. Even with the glasses most of my videos were not sharp, I guess I need allot more practice. The other issue with videoing is to keep the VR turned off so it can not be heard in the audio on playback, I managed to do that the entire trip except for the last day when most of the videos were shot with it turned on hence the annoying sound in this video, turn up your volume to hear the bugling of the bulls and crashing of the antlers.

This fight video last 24 seconds, I have more footage from it but it is to large to upload to blogger and at present I am unable to edit footage for use. This was taken the last morning there and shows two mature bulls competing for cows, note the other bull on the hill behind them at the beginning of the video, he moves closer when another comes of the hill. When this video was shot there was at least five mature bulls a rag horn and two spikes in the same area along with the many cows and calves.

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Raining Again...

Last week I mentioned that it rained in elk country when I was there for the rut, well it rained many days and hard the one day. When it rains if forces you to road hunt and I do not like to do that I prefer to get out of the truck and walk. There is another option but I don't like being a prisoner in my hotel room. The one morning it rained until around 10 a.m. when it started clearing and the sun tried to peek through the clouds. I figured it was not a good time for wildlife but I wanted to go for a walk so off I went. As luck would have it I made it to the top of the mountain and down came the rain again. To late know I was already soaked and the truck was to far away so when I spotted the two cows and a fawn I set off after them. This fawn was kind enough to pose for some photos with fall colors in the background. If you look to the right of the photograph you can see the rain coming down. If you have followed my blog for any time you know that I do not just photograph bulls, I see the same beauty in the cows and calves.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunset In Elk Country...

I went to elk country to photograph wildlife but I think this was my favorite photograph of the trip. Wednesday night as the sun set the sky just came to life with fire. This photograph was not altered in Photoshop just cropped and sharpened, the sky really looked like this. I was about to head back to my room when I looked up and seen the beautiful sky with this tractor sitting there looking awesome. I quickly got the camera back out and started shooting, before leaving I grabbed a new friend I made on the trip Dan Swart and had him check it out. I was very proud of the photo until the next morning when I was telling Coy Hill of Country Captures about the photo. He grabbed his camera and showed me his file from the sunset, click the link and check out his new header from this evening. Thanks Coy, I love my shot but you made me feel bad that I was in the wrong location. But then that is the story of my life, wrong location or you should have been here five minutes ago.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Am Back Again...


I should have titled this post everyone is running to the Big Meadows, LOL. Yep, I am back again. After spending all last week in elk country for the rut and then the weekend at Boy Scout camp I spent one night in my own bed before taking off again. I got up at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning and went south on I-81 for SNP. I arrived in time for first light in the Big Meadow and shot from dark to dark, spent the night in Luray and shot the next morning before heading home for work today. It was a fantastic trip seeing many deer and turkey, some raccoons and a coyote. I shot more photos in a day and a half than I did all last week during the elk rut. More on the trip in a later post.

Both of these photos were something I normally do not do but should, they were previsulized. In the first one I seen the buck coming out of the meadows in front of the sign and set up to photograph him, what I did not plan for was for him to start running all of a sudden. Regardless is was a good photo for the first post from SNP because of the sign and the buck. In the second photograph I seen this doe walking across a small meadow and knew she would walk in front of the tree, or so I hoped. So I set up as low as I could get making all the camera adjustments in case she didn't stop and waited. She stopped long enough to get four or five photos before moving on. For a non antlered deer it was one of my favorites because of the colors and composition.

It is Thursday already so please stop by Shane's blog for a new photo.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunrise On Winslow Hill...

Yesterday I mentioned being in northern Pennsylvania for the rut and that the shooting was not as good as last year. I did not bring home as many keepers as last year, some were because there was not as much action, some because I was not always in the right place and others because I did not always perform with the camera like I should have. The one thing I did bring home was many silhouettes this one was taken last Wednesday morning as the sun was starting to come up. The sky took on a pink appearance and this bull showed up on top of the hill. It turned out to be one of my favorites from the trip. This particular morning was one of the better times, I video taped a fight between bull 8A and another when it was to early to get photos and I photographed the same two bulls fighting again. That fight lasted for some time but they were in a slight hollow forcing me to listen to them for some time before they came into sight. Later that same evening the same two bulls did quite a bit of posturing but never actually fought. The sites and sounds were great but most of the time it was too early or too late to photograph. I rely on this trip to give me photos to spread out over a couple of months but I don't think I got enough quality shots to do that this year.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Am Back...

A few of you were aware of my recent travels bust most of you did not know that I have been gone the last week or so. I am finishing up my last tour of vacation for the year and what a time to take off. The phone still rang to let me know that the Mayor called us the nastiest group of men she ever worked with (funny thing is she never worked with us), the we were not going to get paid last Wednesday (we did but for firefighters this is the second pay in a row that we have not been paid for all of the hours we work) and then that the city is going to hire a bankrupt attorney and that they are going Act 47 distressed city. Can I get a few more decades off, please?

Anyways the time off was great, first up was heading to Elk County for the elk rut. This was my second year to do the elk rut here in Pennsylvania and even thought this years was nothing like last years I still think it is much better than out west. I think a couple of the reasons for the rut being slow was because is was very warm last week and as luck would have it many of the days it rained. Friday morning was my last day there and the rut seemed to be in full swing for the first time when I was there, I think I shot more photos that day than all week. I would have loved to stay longer with the temperatures down but I needed to get home to go to Boy Scout camp. With all the tourist that come in over the weekends up there I guess it was for the best that I was leaving. Yes I mentioned Boy Scout camp, I got home Friday afternoon unloaded the truck got ready and reloaded the truck to head to Wizard Safari along with Troop 180 and 3,000 other boys. It was a fun weekend and the boys had a great time but it sure was great to get home and sleep in my own bed for a change. You can expect to see more of the rut soon along with some of the great people I got to spend time with. Every year I make more friends while I am there and I can't wait for next years already. A couple more days of this vacation and it will be back to work.

By the way please visit Shane's blog for a new post today.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Albert Squirrel...

This critter is called an Albert Squirrel, I would liked to have shown you a live one but I never encountered one on our recent vacation. The Albert Squirrel is native to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area . They are not found any other place in the world. That alone made me want to photograph one more than anything and we tried. We talked to employees and rangers on places to find them. We went for walks in those areas and spent time driving around just to find one but it never happened. These squirrels are large about 20 inches including the tail, they have tasseled ears and a grey tail with white underneath. These squirrels differ from others as they do not hibernate in the winter or hide their food but continue to forage all winter. The feast on ponderosa pine seeds, inner tree bark and summer mushrooms. Not finding any I was forced to photograph a stuffed one behind glass in the visitors center.