Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

No photos this morning folks, this was a last minute thought as I set at the fire station kitchen table drinking coffee after a busy night. With any luck I will get off at 8:30 this morning. I have my fingers crossed. For all the regulars and just the occaisional web surfer, have a Merry and safe Christmas

This is the first time I have ever tried making a post from my ipad, I hope it turns out.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Do You Remember This Buck?

Do you remember this buck?  I posted him on November 17 and mentioned that he was the most impressive buck I had seen during the rut.  Not the most points but most impressive spread and length of tines.  This view gives you a better view of the rack and provides you the opportunity to see all 12 of the points including the spot with the broken brow tine.

This is not the best of the photographs I got of this buck but I still liked it.  It was taken early morning just as the sun came up over the horizon.  He had been chasing does and was in the beginning stages of a lip curl allowing him to smell the does in estrogen.  I sure could use another one of these trips right now to relax me and relieve some stress.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do You See It?

Well do you, do you see it?  Do you know what the "it" is I am referring to?  I am speaking of the beauty of this whitetail buck.  When I look at this animal I see strength, beauty and pride.  I may not hunt anymore but I still like venison and get it often at work.  But I could stand all day and watch this magnificent animal.  Now do you see it?

Now for the photo details, like most these days it was taken with the D7000 and the 200-400 VR F4 on the Wimberly.  It was captured in low light at ISO 640, 1/40 sec. F4 at 600 mm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Juvenile Red Shoulder Hawk...

This is a juvenile Red Shoulder Hawk I photographed last month in SNP, Virginia.  There is more to this story and more photos than I am showing here but all that will have to wait for another time.  As in the past time is short and I have no ambition to set in front of this thing working on photos or pecking away.

This photo was taken late afternoon with back lighting.  Sometimes I try for the back lighting other times it is because it was mt only choice.  This hawk has that nice glow around it I am just never sure how to post process them.  For that reason I do next to nothing to them.  By the way this photo was taken with the D700, 200-400 Vr f4 lens at ISO 400, 1/400 sec., F4 at 600 mm hand held.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Do You Think His Tongue Was Planned?

Do you think this young bull stuck his tongue out on purpose?  I am betting he did knowing I was taking his photo, that has been the story of my life.  Time is still short, this is all you get.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Bull Has Been Hard At Work...

This photo was taken at this years Elk rut in Northern Pennsylvania.  Time is short and the brain quit working sometime back, okay it was years ago so I will keep this very short.  This bull was busy keeping his herd together and tearing everything up to impress the cows.  And now while the cows look towards another bull he needs to rip off a most impressive bugle.  What an awesome sight and even more awesome sound it is.  I can't wait to do it again next year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Danger Appears...

Continuing on my last post after looking for the danger the whitetails made us aware of for almost one and a half hours Shane spotted a Coyote in the meadow.  He was about 50 yards from the deer when we spotted him and feeding on the blueberries.  He never approached the deer any closer after we seen him but he did stay in the area long enough to allow us to get a few photographs.  The whitetails remained in the meadow feeding and were never ran off by him.  This coyote would never take down a healthy adult whitetail but I am sure they remember him feeding on the fawns earlier in the summer and remained on high alert.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On High Alert!

It is funny I should use this as a title since that is what I am in every day of my life with this job.  The sad part my high alert is not from the bells sounding an alarm but from everything else in the city.  Enough said about that onto the subject at hand.

In August when Shane and I traveled to SNP to photograph the fawns and bucks in velvet we entered the meadow under the cover of darkness and waited for the sun to rise.  When the sun rose we were surrounded by 27 deer, seven of those being bucks.  We held our positions and enjoyed the morning photographing the deer.  An hour or so into it we noticed the bucks and does paying attention the the back part of the meadow.  Frequently tails would be raised along with the occasional snort and stomp.  We knew that the deer were alerting to danger and that it was not us.  We scanned the meadow for the danger for almost an hour and a half before the danger appeared.

For that you will need to tune into my next post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SNP In August...

Okay I missed a day, but I have already posted more than twice as much this month that any other this year.  I thought I would stay with the whitetail in Shenandoah National Park but dig into my August files.  After posting big bucks the fawns seemed like a nice change of pace.  It is amazing what one can see when they spend some quality time around the whitetails.  Most people do not observe wildlife enough to see them interact with each other.  I was lucky enough on this day to see these two fawns grooming each other.  Do you think he was trying to get some attention when he gave him that little kick?

Friday, November 25, 2011

End The Week As I Started It...

I decided that since I started the week with a silhoutte I would end it the same way.  Instead of Elk I will bring you a whitetail doe from SNP.  I mentioned getting my best silhoutte shots in SNP this year and this is one of them, not my best as I got the chance to get numerous nice bucks during the sunset that week.  By the way this was captured during sunrise one morning.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Same Bull As Monday's...

This is the same bull as Monday's post just taken a little earlier on a very grey day.  It would have been great to have a blue sky or colorful fall leaves in the back ground but the opportunity did not provide it.  I was walking up over the back side of the mountain when he appeared all alone and very vocal.  Looking up at him as he bugled created for me a larger than life creature that makes one of the sweetest sounds you will hear in nature.

Did anyone else notice that I have been posting on a regular basis?  Someone has because my daily hits have been going back up again.  It does seem as if only two people noticed that I changed the blog header last week.  I do not know if I can keep this going at this rate but I am going to try.

And with work interfering with life and every day being a work day or an off day I almost forgot it was Thanksgiving.  So, from my family to yours have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.  And please don't burn your turkey today I want to see some football.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Late Evening Buck In SNP...

This photograph was taken late one evening as the sun was setting, the sky did not have the chance to turn real orange and red yet allowing me just enough room in the camera setting to get the buck and environment without having to make a silhouette. 

This four by four is a smaller buck than what I photographed most of the trip.  For Pa. he would be a nice buck and one that most would be will to take during the hunting season but for SNP he just does not compare to the others.

There was a couple of other guys with me at the time and I think I was the only one to photograph this buck, I am glad I did.  I do not know what anyone else thinks of the image but I for one like it. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Take My Photo, Please...

This little guy stepped out into the open one afternoon I was photographing with Bob Shank.  It was a productive time as we had about seven bulls and numerous cows and calves around us.  Not wanting to pass up a chance to photograph Elk other than big bulls I snapped a few photos quickly before he headed away.  While out shooting I will photograph all wildlife as I see the beauty in them all.

When I did this photo on Photoshop CS5 it looked okay to me but now that I am looking at it in the blogger preview I see a green cast to the whole image.  What do you think.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Elk Silhouette...

If you have not realized it by now I really love silhouette photographs with the right subject.  Unfortunately they are not always easy to obtain.  My all time favorite would have to be Coy's from Country Captures, he used it as his blog header for a year and I hated to see it go.  I could have had the same chance at that shot had I tagged along with him that night but instead I ended up with the tractor on top of the ridge photo.  I prefer beautiful sunsets or sunrise colors behind the animal but one late cloudy evening this year in Elk country I looked up to see this opportunity presenting itself.  Not wanting to pass up the moment I fired away.  I will say I got my best whitetail silhouettes this year in SNP and you will be seeing those in the future.  I hope the two links worked as it is the first time I have tried it on this new format, if not check back as I will try and fix them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Something Different For Friday...

After posting four days in a row of whitetail I thought it might be nice to switch things up and change to a larger animal today.  And if you are not counting this is five post this week for me, I am hoping if I get consistent I can gain my viewers back that I lost. 

This photograph was taken September 29, 2011 in Elk County during the Elk rut.  Since I gave meta data this week with my deer photos I will continue it today with this shot.  It was taken with the D7000, 200-400 VR f4 lens mounted on a tripod at 5:50 p.m.  The settings were ISO 640 at 1/250 second f4 at 600mm.  This bull had a good quality of light on him and for a change some fall colors in the back ground making the photograph pleasing to me even if the pose has him walking away.

I really dislike this time of year because of winter coming and summer being just a memory but then again it is my favorite time of year.  My two weeks spent at SNP and Elk County for the Elk and Whitetail ruts are my two best weeks of the year.  It is relaxing, there is great people, beautiful wildlife and I am cut off from the outside world.  Of course it also means the start of hockey season and those games really help me forget it is cold outside.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Big Buck Of The Trip...

Let me first start by clarifying the title.  This was and was not the big buck of the trip.  He was a 6 x 6 but you will note that it does not count the tine broken off at the base of the beam on the left antler.  If you can not see it here there is no need to worry because you will be seeing many more photos of this deer.  He was the biggest because of the spread of the rack and the length of the tines and beams.  I did photograph one that had a total of 17 points but I feel this one was more impressive. 

I photographed this buck on five different occasions, all early morning or late day.  I had an idea of his location and looked for him each day.  He was not like many of the other bucks in that he did not like people being around him.  As you began to approach him he would walk away making it hard to get good shots.  I finally learned to get close to his herd and just remain still hoping that he would chase the doe's my way.  My second time photographing him I tried to follow him in his chase and found that I was doing 70 to 100 yard circles and getting nothing.  Do you think he knew what he was doing and was playing me for a fool?

This photograph was taken at 7:01 am one frosty morning in the far reaches of the meadow as he does a lip curl checking for does that may be ready for breading.  He kept the does in the shaded area giving us more time to photograph out of the sun.  To get the shot it was taken with the D7000 with the 200-400 VR f4 lens from a tripod.  My settings were ISO 800 1/160 second at f4 at 300 mm.  One may ask why a few of my shots were a higher ISO when I had my shutter speed as high as 1/160 when many of my low light Elk photos were taken at 1/30 of a second.  It was simply because often the whitetail did not remain still like the Elk and it was requiring higher shutter speeds to keep the images sharp.  Heck sometimes I sound like I know what I am doing with the camera, now if that were only true.

By the way the 17 point buck I mentioned, you will see him in the future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SNP Blue Birds...

For those of you counting this is three days in a row, maybe I am onto something here.  While in SNP there is many more things to photograph than whitetails.  The sunrise and sunsets are beautiful, there is turkeys and bears although I didn't see any this trip, there is coyotes that I seen twice but never got a shot and of course I always see the raccoons early morning in the headlights without a shot and there is many other animals.  But this time I got lucky with some birds.  These blue birds were taken different days in mid morning sun, both were shot at 600mm from the tripod and cropped in for the image.  I have never claimed to be a bird photographer or any other type of photographer actually but I love the beauty of the blue bird.  These are my best shots to date.  I did photograph one other type of bird while I was there and that was a juvenile red shoulder hawk.  Those photographs are for another post or two as I enjoyed a good 15 minutes with it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Different Bucks, Different Light...

Today's post (yes two days in a row) is different bucks in different light.  Both were taken with the Nikon D7000 with the 200-400 VR f4 lens from a tripod.  Interestingly enough both were taken around the same time of the morning but in different weather and lighting conditions.  The first was shot at 7:52 a.m. on a sunny clear morning.  This small 4 x 4 was in the meadow and lighting was from the side, it required settings of ISO 400 1/60 second at f6.3 at 510 mm.  The second photograph was taken my last morning in the park when it was very overcast with no sunshine.  It was taken at 7:20 a.m. at ISO 1600, 1/160 second at f4 with a focal length of 600mm. 

The gist of the post if there is one is that photographs can be taken in all kinds of lights with different and sometimes equally as good results.  They also can be taken vertically compared to horizontally for different results.  Both of these I felt were better shots taken that way.  I do not like to shoot at 1600 ISO but will do so when it is the only way to record the image.  Could I make these photographs better, YES.  With better computer skills in Photoshop I could probably do much more with these that I do not do.  As a habit I try and get the photograph as close as I can when taking the shots and then only spend about five minutes at the most in post processing.  The higher ISO shots could be much better if I had a clue about noise reduction.  Presently I do none, but I have been told that if I get Lightroom 3 and learn to use it that it is a remarkable tool.  Maybe someday I will purchase the program and get the nerve and energy to learn how to use it.

On the second photograph take note to the broken tine on the left beam of the 5 x 4.  Also note the damage to the right beam, these bucks did more rubbing than I have ever seen on these trips, a number of the bucks had broken tines and displayed some sort of battle scars.  What a great trip it was, for anyone out there that loves the beauty of the whitetail deer this is a must place to visit.  I am so lucky to have this place within four hours of my home.

Monday, November 14, 2011

SNP Whitetail Rut 2011...

Last week I spent Sunday afternoon through Thursday morning in Shenandoah National Park photographing the whitetail rut.  Like photographing the Elk rut in Pa. I find that I enjoy the company of the great people just as much as I do the wildlife experience.  Most of the gang was there like Willard, Coy, Henry, Carl and their wives, Billy, Jim and others that I have met in recent years including new friends that were made. 

This year may have been my best year yet photographing the whitetails during the rut.  I photographed many bucks from big to small, numerous sparring matches, tree rubs, breeding, blue birds, red shoulder hawks and my best silhouette yet. 

I feel I didn't start with any of my better photos but this was one encounter I had with this buck mid day.  This nice 5 by 5 had this one doe to look over and he did a fine job of it.  I think I photographed him in August when he was in velvet I just need to look over the files to see.  Between this trip and numerous others I have plenty to post, now if I can just get myself to set here and do it. 

Once again I want to thank all the great people I spent time with for helping to make these trips so much more enjoyable.

Friday, October 7, 2011

To Much Lens...

Don't you just hate it when you have to much lens.  Normally we cry that we do not have enough but in this case it was just the opposite.  What you see is all I could fit in the frame.  I was shooting the D7000 with the 200-400VR f4 when this bull approached me.  It was recorded at the 200mm (with the conversion factor it would be 300mm) at ISO 400, 1/40 sec at f4 from the wimberly.  I have always made a habit of carrying the D300 around me with the 70-200VR f2.8 but I got lazy this day and decided to put the lens in my bag I was carrying, it did me no good there.

The second photograph is taken from the first.  I only used this to show you the reflection in the eye, his teeth and the fine hairs standing up on his chin and nose.  This was only my second Elk trip with this lens and the first time on this camera so I was going through a few learning experiences.  Overall as long as I did my job right I was very pleased with both.  As a matter of fact the D7000 has now become my main camera with the D300 as the back-up.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More From The Pa. Elk Rut...

Two posts in a week maybe I can get back into the swing of things here.  Today's post comes from my recent trip to Elk County for the rut.  In Monday's posts I mentioned the weather, what I didn't mention is that with the wet weather on Winslow Hill normally comes heavy fog in the mornings.  And we had just that, heavy fog on a few mornings.  When it is foggy like this you have a choice of just observing the Elk, trying to photograph them or doing both.  I have always done both, but I spend more time just watching than photographing.  This bull was photographed on the top of the mountain as he bugles to anyone that wants to listen, and believe me we were listening.  This is just an amazing sound, if one spends enough time around the bulls you can learn if it is an old bull or a younger one.

Now I am typing this hoping the video works, I changed some things on blogger to up date the way I make my posts hoping that some of the bugs go away and this is my first post after doing this.  If it works what you will see is a cow and her calf grooming each other close up.  This was taken mid morning on an overcast day in the woods with little light.  I have found that it can be much easier to video rather that shoot photos with a DSLR in low light.  Being away from the other noises Winslow Hill can bring is great, turn up your volume and listen to the peacefulness of the outdoors and the bugling of the bulls.  It is funny as the bull bugles the cow must have been bored by it as she appears to yawn or maybe she is lip syncing.  I hope this post works.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pa. Elk Rut 2011...

Last week I spent my time in the mountains of Elk County observing and photographing the Pa. Elk Rut. This is the third year in a row I have spent the last week of September chasing around the Pa. Elk herd and enjoying quality time with great people. The week went allot like last years, warm weather (to warm for Elk activity) and lots and lots of rain. Also like last years the weather broke the last evening their giving me my best photos that night and the next morning.

I am not shore what I like best about the rut, a chance to be away from the phone, newspapers and TV, the Elk or the people. Most of the time is spent with great people that I have met by doing this. We get together every year at the same place, many I have known for a few years and others that you just meet. Yes I would have to say that the best part of the experience is spending time with great people, most that I will not see again until the next rut and others that I will shoot with numerous times before the next rut. We all share one thing in common, the love of the outdoors and wildlife.

This photos was taken early one morning in the saddle with Coy and Willard. This bull got a name this year like many other bulls in and around Winslow Hill. He is now called Uncle Bob.

Thanks for the great time guys and I can't wait to do it again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Water Rescue On Front Street...

I assuming the video upload worked, I have tried a few times with no luck. This was one of the calls we had on Friday last week, we were dispatched to North Front Street near the city line for a car in the water with the occupant inside. One of the most difficult things to do during a flood is determining the best route of travel because of flooded streets. On this call I drove out of the city into the township to approach the incident. With apparatus on both sides we waited for the Utility to arrive with the raft. A crew of three walked the raft in to the auto and assisted the elderly man into the raft and out to safety. Once out we placed him on the front bumper of my wagon for EMS to check him out. The last photograph is Captain Jim McHenry "B" platoon and Battalion Chief Herb Berger "C" platoon working overtime with us.

I turned out to be an 87 year old man delivering meals on wheels, had this been a younger person we would not have been very happy about the call and he more than likely would have been fined. But do to circumstances we handled this a little different.

I would like to point out that the local news paper the Patriot News Harrisburg reported on the incident, of course it was almost all wrong. They stated that River Rescue brought the man to safety, WRONG it was the HFD. They also said that in the photo caption that he was setting on the bumper of a Susq. Twp. fire engine, WRONG again, they were not even there. I did send an email to three different people at the Patriot pointing out the errors but none were corrected nor did I even get a reply. I guess it is more important to just report things even if they are not true than to report the actual news. I should be used to this by now but it just pisses me off. In the last year they have only wanted to report negatives about the fire bureau and no positives.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Second Day Light Working The Flood...

First call of the morning was for a smoke investigation, when we arrived we found the resident had fired up a grill out back to make coffee. This resident was in the area that was to evacuate the day before and PPL turned off their electric. Floyd Wise, O.T. Lieutenant on Tower 3 and the driver Eric Jenkins.

The second call of the day was for Green and Lewis Streets for a fuel odor investigation. In the first photo you can see the sheen on the water, very common during flooding. There is nothing we can do on calls like this but say yep, there it is and go home. This is a few blocks from the river in a low area.
Overtime Jeremy Saul, Jeff "Skull" Miller and our Captain Jim Mchenry on the last call of the day for reported smoke from a vacant house. We found nothing and in typical form this run came in minutes before quiting time.
Mike Souders the overtime driver on Wagon 4 does his best to hold up the tower.

There was numerous other calls during the day but only one other that I photographed and that was a water rescue on Second Street. I will post photos of that incident on Friday.

I did not work the rest of the tour as I was off sick for the first time in 13 years. What the companies got into over the weekend in unknown to me since I no longer listen once I leave the station.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Working The Harrisburg Flood...

On Thursday September 8, 2011 I reported for my first day out at the Harrisburg Fire Department. By the time we got to work the Battalion Chief's and street firemen and officers had most of the wheels in motion for the soon to be arriving flood waters. Flyer's had already been distributed by the firefighters the night before and the Paxton Fire Station No. 6 was already moving items to high ground and preparing to relocate to Station 1. By the way the last time we evacuated the building was in January 1996 and at that time I worked in that station, by the time they were ready to occupy the building again I had bid Tower 2 in station 1. There was numerous calls through out the day but nothing like the county was getting as the city had time to prepare and the river had not overflowed its banks yet.

In the morning we headed out and went door to door asking residents to evacuate the area as flood waters at that time were expected to reach 30 feet, a number that none of us on the job had ever worked before. By early afternoon we headed out again to drive a large area announcing on the public address system that residents were to evacuate the the area as soon as possible.

In the first photograph we are approaching MaClay Street on Front Street (the Governors Mansion is on the left) and the water has crossed the intersection. This is one of many places it had overflowed its banks and crossed Front Street. By the time we went by this area again the water was moving up MaClay Street. In the second photograph Billy-Bob Holtzman uses the Pa system to read the prepared statement of evacuation.

I took very few photographs of the flood waters as every time we went out it was for a mission and not sight seeing. I plan to make two more posts on Fridays daylight shift before going back to wildlife photos. By the way all photos were taken with my Sony Cyber-shot.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What A Beautiful Animal...

I can't say much more, the title says it all. These are such beautiful animals and I am so lucky to live withing four hours of this place. He this is two posts in one week, who knows maybe I can make it three this week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Whitetails Up Close At SNP...

Sometimes at SNP you get the opportunity to photograph whitetail deer at very close range. This can be for a number of reasons, often because you have invaded their space forgetting the fact that they are wild animals. Often times this disrupts their what they were going to do. I for one do not do this nor do I condone this type of activity. Another way to get these photographs is from the open window of your automobile, I have done this many times. These photographs were captured in either of these ways, instead they happened by chance. After arriving at SNP last month Shane and I checked in, grabbed some dinner and decided to head out into the meadows where a herd of deer ere feeding. It was still early enough that the sun was high in the sky but the whitetails were the reason why we were there and e wanted to enjoy there company. We made our way to the rock pile and decided to set up in that spot to shoot the herd. About an hour into photographing the deer this fve by five decided he wanted to eat in the same place we were at. After coming around the rocks I assumed he would move on, instead he came towards us nat caring in the least that we were there. At this point I had to step back from the D7000 with the 200-400 VR f4 on it because he was to close to photograph. Shane on the other hand was shooting the D90 with the 70-200 VR f2.8 on it so he was able to keep on firing. It only took me about five minutes to remember that I had the D300 with the 24-70 2.8 hanging around my shoulder so I was back in business. These photographs go a long way in showing how acclimated the animals are to humans at SNP, even with that said one must still remember that they are wild animals and must be treated as such.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Why Do I Love SNP...

Why do I love SNP and why do I keep going back? There is a number of reasons for going to SNP, it's relaxing. At this time with my job that is important. When I go to SNP I am relaxed, everything is at a slow pace and I can take my time and enjoy myself. I also love to watch and photograph wildlife, at SNP the whitetails are wild but they are acclimated to people making them very approachable and easier to photograph. This gives one the time to observe the whitetails and how they interact with the others. The first photograph is proof of that as this buck and fawn came together for an excellent photographic moment. It is also another place for my son and I to spend some quality time together like we did on this trip. It is always exciting to see him experience the whitetails and on this trip a coyote up close. It is also a place where I get to spend some time with great people, not often on these short trips but during the rut there will be many people there that I got to know from doing this and it is always fantastic to talk with these people and share the experience of whitetail watching. From the people, family, wildlife and fresh air this is always a magical place, much like Disney World is for a small child.

Both of these photos were taken on my recent trip early i n the morning when the ISO was 640 to 800. I tried to make this post late last week but blogger did not want to let me upload photos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Touring The New Harley Davidson Assembly Plant...

That's right another post already! I am hoping to post two or three times a week and I am going to try and mix things up between wildlife and World War 2 and motorcycle events we attended this summer.
With that said today's post comes from our recent visit to the new vehicle operations center at the York Harley Davidson plant last week. Shane and I set out early one morning for a nice ride through the country on the bike en route to the new facility. We toured the plant and looked at their small museum located in the same building. It was a great time and we enjoyed seeing where our motorcycle was assembled. Many changes have taken place since Linda and I last visited in the 80's. I must say I enjoyed the tour better then and was sad to see that all the old motors and one of the three original 1903 bikes were gone and now in the home plant.

These are the first photos I have posted of my bike since April when it came in, it has under gone many changes since then. Click the picture for a much larger version. By the way these were all taken with the point and shoot Nikon and as in the past no cameras are allowed on the tour.