Trip Prep

We are getting ready for our next “Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience” so I am beginning to prepare for the trip. I typically work with lists of things I need to get ready and a packing list so I don’t forget to pack anything. The excitement of wondering what all we might see and be able to photograph is enough to create plenty of energy and enthusiasm for this phase of the pre-trip planning!

Food shopping and menu planning are not unimportant matters because photographers work up an appitite and must find sustinence at the end of a long day. There are rumors that two feet of snow are blanketing the ground around our cabin. If this is true then we will be in for some interesting hikes! This causes me to wonder how the animals of the mountains are able to survive such harsh winters.

Here in the Poconos we’ve had snow on the ground for over a month now. It has been cold, too. Our lowest temperature in the month of January was -9.8. The weather is beginning to change now and this weekend is supposed to be much warmer. Forty-degrees in February is not bad at all. I am sure we will have some cold weather to deal with this week, but it could always be worse. Besides, anytime to be outdoors enjoying nature is a pure joy!

I will post another blog after we return from this week’s photo trip. In the meantime get out there and capture some photographs!

Photos from Chincoteague

I just posted some of the photographs I took at Chincoteague last week. You can view them here. I spent two days at this wildlife refuge and saw a lot of wildlife! I thoroughly enjoy this special place and the birds especially are amazing! I spent almost one hour watching two great egrets and one blue heron fishing and feeding on small fish. It was incredible to watch their sneaky tactics to find the swimming fish and then plunge their beaks into the water the catch their dinner! I also was able to capture of a few of the birds in flight as they were flying. This is not an easy task even with a good camera, so I was thankful for the few in-flight shots I was able to capture. Check out the photos and let me know what you think of them.

New Website Features

You now can order prints online from this website! Some of you have wanted this feature to make it easier to order prints with your credit card. Well, now you can do this! I have found a relatively easy way for you to order the prints you desire. When you get to the Order Prints page you just need to enter the photo ID number of the specific photograph you want to order. Then when you arrive at the shopping cart you can increase the quantity of that print or continue shopping to add other prints to your order. I suggest you either write down the photo ID numbers of the prints you want to order or make a list of these photo ID numbers in a separate spreadsheet so you can toggle back and forth to enter these ID numbers on the Order Prints webpage.

If you have any questions or problems with this new feature, please let me know. I continue to find new and better ways to enhance this website but your input is invaluable.

Next week I will be traveling to Ocean City, Maryland for a conference. I hope to arrive early and make a side-trip to Chincoteague to do some bird and wildlife photography. This will be a welcome change from the snowy scenery we have currently here in the Poconos! More snow is expected to fall tomorrow and we just had an ice storm this past week. Nature sure has a way to keep changing and providing beautiful photographs for us to capture!

Are you still using your camera this winter? There are some neat photos just waiting to be captured if you can brave the elements and endure the cold temperatures and windy gusts!

Wrestling Photographs

This past Saturday our nephew, Shane Rosenberry, was in a wresting tournament at Whitehall. It was my first attempt at shooting the sport of wrestling with my camera. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and learned a few things along the way! One obvious lesson was that the lighting in a gymnasium is not the best for photography. Even with my fast 70-200mm lens with an f-stop of 2.8 I had to bump up my ISO to 400. I was able to capture a few decent photos and you can check them out by clicking here. I continue to learn more and more about the fascinating art of photography!

Our upcoming PA Elk Photography Experience will be taking place the first full weekend in February. I am looking forward to this trip and I am sure we will have a great time! This past week, over the New Year holiday, we saw a lot of elk. The cows were herded up in large groups and stayed in the same area for two days before moving to a new location. We didn’t see all that many bulls, but we did manage to see 7 nice bulls. I will hopefully post a few photos from this trip in the next day or so.

Christmas Photography

Winter has definitely set in up here in the Poconos. Although we are currently enjoying a warm-spell, the past few months have been snowy and icy. I have been taking the usual Christmas photos as our families have gathered to exchange gifts and sit down to enjoy the Christmas meals. My family does not always enjoy the flash from my camera but somehow they always seem to smile anyway!

There are still openings for our two photo trips planned for February and September. They promise to be awesome experiences so sign up and join us for these unforgettable experiences. The elk have been active up on the mountain and our family will be celebrating the New Year in Elk County. I am sure we will have ample opportunities to photograph more of these majestic animals!

I hope that you had a great holiday season and have acquired some new photo equipment. I am saving up for a new camera body, so I have no recent acquisitions since I am saving my money for this. I am planning on purchasing the D300 and am looking forward to using it for wildlife and sports photography.

Have a happy and photographically successful New Year!

Holiday Boutique

This past Saturday, James and I attended the Holiday Boutique at Stroudsburg United Methodist Church. This was a craft fair and we displayed some of our wildlife photographs hoping that some would draw some attention and perhaps even be purchased. I was not sure what to expect because we never really put our photographs out on display before other than on the website. The website does draw a fair amount of attention, but the feedback there is minimal. So I thought the craft fair display would be a good barometer test of sorts for us.

Well, our photo booth did attract some attention and we actually sold 9 photographs! The “Egret Reflection” and the “Blue Heron Reflection” drew the most attention. We also had 4 people sign up for our upcoming “Basic Digital Photography Workshop.” This was a very good day for us and we are considering other venues in which to display our photographs.

If you like what you see on the website, please drop me a line via email. I’d love to hear from you. I am also considering a way for viewers to order photographic prints online. I like to surf the web and see the digital images, but there is nothing quite the same as seeing a beautiful 8×10 or 11×14 photograph right before you eyes! If you like the idea of online ordering let me know.

I also am trying to expand my email database. If you know someone in your family or circle of acquaintances, please forward their email address to me or have them be in contact with me via email.

In another week I will be up in the mountains of Elk County again and I can’t wait! Did you ever hear me say this before: “There is no place like the mountains!”

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography continues to be an increasingly exciting activity for us. James, my son, and I spent some time up in Elk County at our camp again and we were able to see and photograph a lot of elk. We saw herds of elk on the mountain sides and were surprised to see some cows still hanging out with some bulls. The rut should be over by now but nature often is difficult to predict. We also witnessed some phenomenal sunsets in the evening.

Do you enjoy nature photography? There are times when patience is definitely required, but it is always worth the wait in my opinion. It was unseasonably warm, which made the shooting hours not only bearable but entirely enjoyable!

I also continue to learn more and more about photography in general. Just this past weekend I watched my good friend, Bob Amundsen, photograph a wedding. Bob and his wife have an excellent wedding photography business and they produce reliable and breathtaking images for newlywed couples. I was able to watch and take notes as they captured the moments and did the formal portraits.

The sports seasons are over so I am looking forward to shooting some different venues in the near future. Last year I did some photography at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge and the big birds cooperated beautifully. I am thinking about going back there again. I am also hoping to capture some winter scenes this year. We live in the Poconos of northeast Pennsylvania so we typically have a decent amount of snowfall. Last winter we seemed to get more ice than snow, so I am hoping for more snow this year. The woodstove is already lit for the season and we did have an eight-inch snowfall in October, so things are looking good for the winter snowfall. I thoroughly enjoy the seasonal changes we experience here in Pennsylvania. And capturing the variety of scenes with my camera is always an exciting adventure!

Photography Equipment Suggestion

We just had our first snow of the season here in the Poconos. Eight inches or more of snow fell today as the wind whipped through the mountains creating drifts of snow and making visibility difficult. Welcome to life in the mountains! Actually I thoroughly enjoy living in the mountains. While some think us absolutely crazy for living up here, I would have it no other way. There is no place in the world like the mountains!

Lydia, James, and I are planning to head up to the mountains of Elk County this coming weekend. Our main goal is photographing the elk again. The rut will now be over so the bulls should be hanging out together in what are referred to as bachelor groups. If at least some of the snow lasts through the week, it should make for some stunning backdrops for our photographs. The thrill of shooting the elk with our cameras is always an exciting adventure for us.

The planning stages for this trip are about to begin and figuring out what to take is not always an easy procedure. A one-and-a-half day trip demands at least a reasonable amount of caution to avoid taking everything including the kitchen sink! However, the weather change and the new snow require some forethought in figuring out what to pack to make the trip comfortable. There is nothing worse than getting up early in the morning to go out for a shoot and then realize that you have not packed enough layers of clothing. That old saying about “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” comes to mind when planning on what to pack. Planning ahead and even foreseeing the events unfold in one’s mind’s eye can be invaluable!

I recently purchased the Think Tank belt system. This system includes a belt that is worn around the waist to which modular cases are attached. These hold lenses or other photographic accessories right on the photographer’s person and makes for both portability and quick lens changes. While a photographer’s backpack is good in some situations, this belt system does not result in a sweaty back and yet keeps components within easy reach. I especially like this system’s portability for hiking up mountains in search of elk. I typically keep my camera on my tripod, which I carry on my shoulder with legs extended. One never knows when a wildlife subject may appear, so being prepared is critical. Then I use the Think Tank modular system to carry my lenses and other accessories, keeping everything within easy reach. This works well for me in my wildlife endeavors and I encourage you to give it a try, too. You can find the Think Tank products at www.thinktankphoto.com

Elk Photos

Yesterday our family spent Columbus Day at our camp on Winslow Hill in Elk County. This is a favorite spot for us and we were hoping to see some elk in the early morning and at dusk. We were rewarded by seeing 4 bulls in the morning just after 7am. The fog was just beginning to lift, which provided an eerie backdrop as we watched and photographed the bulls. A few were still bugling, indicating that the rut for this season is not quite over yet. One bull was eating berries off a tree just on the other side of a fence along the road. We were photographing him as he walked down the fencerow to an opening and then he came out on the other side of the fence to eat more berries from the other side of the tree. We concluded that elk are smart!

We spent the middle of the day doing some chores around the camp, which consisted of cutting some weeds down, clearing some brush, and cutting some tree limbs off. Then by 4pm we were out looking for elk again. We didn’t see any in a favorite field we like to frequent and for a while I thought we might get skunked because it was so hot. But then as the heat began to dissipate, the elk slowly began to appear. We photographed 3 more bulls until well after sunset. We were also able to capture some beautiful photographs of the sunset. You can see the photos here.

Sports Photography Banner

Recently I was just asked to help create a sports bannner for the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy’s website. Our son, James, plays on one of the travel teams and I have been capturing the action with my camera. Steve asked me if I could create a banner to be placed at the top of their redesigned website. He wanted it to be a collage of photos. You can check it out by clicking here: http://www.lehighvalleybaseballacademy.com/index.shtml

Last Saturday Lydia, James, and I hiked to Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park. Our goal was to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and do some photography around the falls. It was a great day that we enjoyed thoroughly. You can see some of our photographs here: http://www.bobshankphotography.com/Gallery%20Photos/Hawk%20Falls%20Slideshow/index.html