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.