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!
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 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!
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
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.
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
We just returned from our Elk in Rut Experience and we had a very rewarding time. The bulls were bugling and displaying their signs of dominance as they herded up their cows. We saw elk every day, and in fact, we saw elk just about every time we went out to photograph them! Talk about cooperative subjects!
We saw some elk sparing with their antlers as they were practicing for the bigger fights for dominance, we saw cows eating turnips and keeping their distance from the overly excited bulls, we saw a spike bull and a cow “boxing,” and we saw one calf born late this summer that was still nursing from its mother!
The weather couldn’t have cooperated any better. The leaves were actually changing colors throughout the week, which provided some splash of color in our composition. You can see some examples of this in my PA Elk Photo Experience Gallery slideshow.
It was fascinating to see how three different photographers could see the same subjects and yet acquire very different photographs. Each time we returned to camp, we would upload our photos onto our laptops and then begin to go through them. We learned a lot about Adobe Lightroom and I am now a big fan of this software. We learned a lot by having the same software installed on our individual laptops so we could ask questions along the way as we worked on uploading and editing our photos.
This experience was very rewarding on many levels. We saw lots of elk, we learned much about Lightroom, and we enjoyed shooting side by side and talking about composition, light, and other approaches to capturing these incredible moments with our digital cameras. We shared some basic information about the Pennsylvania elk herd. And we thoroughly enjoyed being together as photographers.
You can see more photos from the 2008 Elk in Rut Experience here:
If you would like to join us on an upcoming trip, please contact us. You can find more information here.