Over 1,000 Unique Visits to my website this month!

You have probably noticed some new changes to my website. I added a script to present a rolling slildeshow of photos on my main page and also repeated this action on the LVBA 13U Team page. I figured it was a neat feature to have a variety of photos displayed like a slideshow as people were viewing my website. I found this little tweak online. You can click here to know more on how that can be done. It is also a good way for people to see the kinds of photos I have been taking recently. I also added a box that flashes interesting comments and features of interest on my website. The white-bordered box displays these announcements and allows visitors to my site to be aware of new features or things to check out while viewing my pages. In addition, I have added 3 photo-related articles from some of my photography experiences. The articles are entitled, “Wildlife Fashion,” “Get Rid of that Photo Vest,” and “How I Shoot the Elk of Pennsylvania.” I believe we can all learn from one another and it seemed logical for me to share this information in the article format. I will be periodically adding new photo articles, so keep checking back to read them. If you have a chance to email me, I would love to know what you think of these new features on my website. I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun designing my website and trying to make it more appealing and user friendly. Sharing my love of photography is a passion that I cannot seem to ignore. The time spent outdoors with my camera is my most favorite thing to do in my free time, but sharing my photos with others is a close second, and my website allows me to accomplish this quite easily. I’ve been tracking the number of visitors coming to my site and I am amazed at the attention it is getting. In January of this year, 998 unique visitors made their way to my website. I was anxious to see when that number would break over 1,000. Well, it is time to celebrate because in the month of March it happened. Not only did the number of unique visitors break the 1,000 mark but it easily surpassed it with a total of 1,291! Amazing! Thank you for visiting my website! I hope you enjoy the photographs and other information I am presenting. Let me know what else you would like to see or read about from the exciting world of photography. Have a great day! -Bob

Baseball is About Set to Begin

Our son, James, plays travel baseball for the Lehigh Valley Baseball Academy. He is currently on the 13U team and they held a scrimmage last Saturday. You can view the photos I took at the scrimmage here. I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the baseball action on the ballfield. Baseball is a great game and I find it extremely rewarding when I am able to freeze an action-moment with my Nikon D300. By the way, this new camera of mine is working tremendously well! I particularly like its 6 frames-per-second feature to capture moments like an attempted steal or the batter’s swing. It is amazing how much of the action this camera is able to capture. The first official tournament is scheduled for this coming weekend and I will be there on the firstbase side behind my camera. The boys have been working hard in practice and their skills will soon be tested in the first official tournament of the season. Do you like baseball as much as I do?

Elk County Wildlife

We just returned from our photo excursion in Elk County. James and I enjoyed 2 days in the beautiful mountains surrounding Benezette where the Pennsylvania elk roam freely. They provide plenty of photographic opportunities, but along the way other wildlife species attract our attention.

Today, as I was searching for elk, I came upon a porcupine. These creatures get a bad rap in my opinion. This little guy was cute! He put on a little show for me and then got a little scared when I got too close. Then he climbed up a tree. It was interesting to watch him move along in what seemed like slow motion. James met me and was able to observe this little guy for a while, too. Porcupines are not nearly as large as elk but they are every bit as fascinating. You just never know what you might come across out on the mountain!

I was posted a gallery of photos taken on this photo excursion. You can check them out here. Take a look as these wildlife photos and let me know what you think of them.

Tomorrow’s Photo Trip

Early tomorrow morning, my son, James, and I will be heading off on another photography excursion. We are excited about this trip for two primary reasons. First, we always enjoy going to the beautiful mountains of Elk County and trying our hand at photographing the elk. The challenge is a welcome one for both of us because the beauty we see is always something to behold! Secondly, this is the time of year that the elk drop their antlers. Some years ago we found a spike antler, but we have not yet found any of the big boy’s antlers. We will be hiking many miles in our search and will hopefully come back with some good photos and perhaps even a shed antler. At the very least, we will come back with some incredible memories. There is no place like the mountians!

New Blog Format

I am now using WordPress for my blogging software. It has a great layout and is very easy to use. You can find out how to use it to create your own blog by clicking here. I hope you like this new blog format. Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

James and I will be getting ready to head to the mountains of Elk County early on Friday morning. This is a great time of year to be on the elk range. The bulls are dropping their antlers and hints of spring are in the air everywhere. I can’t wait to pack up our photo equipment and head out for another photo excursion. The Pennsylvania elk are truly amazing animals and I can’t wait to get them in my viewfinder again!
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My Son, James, and his Photography

My son, James Shank, is becoming quite proficient behind a camera. He has his own Nikon D40 and enjoys going out with me on all kinds of photographic excursions. He thoroughly enjoys photographing the elk of Pennsylvania and lately we have been working on some winter landscapes. You can some of his photos here on his gallery. I think you will enjoy his creative technique!

Yesterday, my good friend, Dick McCreight, and I journeyed to the Upper Delaware National Park to try to find some bald eagles. The eagles winter in this park, which follows the Delaware River on the state line between Pennsylvania and New York. We did manage to see one bald eagle, but in my excitement I was not able to capture even one shot! This was a humble reminder to me that one can never be prepared enough. It was my lack of preparedness which resulted in me coming home empty-handed. We did manage to see some snow geese and a few turkeys as well.

My new Nikon D300 is performing beautifully. I created 3 custom banks of menu settings so I can quickly change to specific shooting conditions. The camera is solidly built and is user friendly in so many ways. The bigger LCD screen makes setting the menus and looking at the photos much easier. The menus make sense are easily navigated. And the buttons and knobs on the camera make for quick changes as shooting conditions warrant. I am extremely impressed with the D300 so far and I am sure this camera body will suit my needs perfectly.

My New Camera

I just received delivery of a brand new Nikon D300 this afternoon from our friendly UPS delivery man. I carefully opened the box and slowly took the camera out. I knew, and often live by, the old adage that a real man never reads directions. But this time that old adage went right out the window. The User’s Manual for my new D300 is exactly 421 pages long and I plan on reading many of those pages.

Of course, I could not wait too long to actually use my new camera, so I loaded a battery and inserted an empty flash card and went outside. It was 26 degrees Farenheit but that didn’t stop me from traipsing around the yard with my new camera! It didn’t take long for this camera to feel like an old friend in my cold hands. I just love the way Nikon places their controls on their cameras!

None of these first photos taken by my new D300 are going to win any prizes or even show up in my galleries, but almost immediately I could see why this camera has received such rave reviews. Compared to my old D70 the D300 has many more switches and controls to keep many options within easy reach, allowing the photographer to make many necessary changes on the fly without having to navigate through menus. It also boasts an impressive 6 frames per second, which should be very useful when I am shooting sports events.

I’ve only had the D300 for about 8 hours now, but it has quickly become my favorite camera that I’ve ever owned. Stay tuned to this blog to hear more about my impressions on the D300. I will also be posting photos from this camera, too. It truly is a sweet piece of photographic equipment!

Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience

Well, another Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience is in the books and we had a fantastic weekend! We arrived on Thursday to a cold day and over 18 inches of snow! The snowplow took care of making a drivable path to our cabin and we started the heater right away. It did take a while to get water into the camp because of the cold weather, but eventually the pipes thawed out enough to allow water to flow into the cabin. Elk were not as abundant early in the weekend as they usually are in warmer weather. We did see a few cows and a spike or two on Thursday. We also saw a number of trees that were stripped of some of their bark from the hungry elk attempting to find food in the snowy landscape. The weather began to get warmer as the weekend progressed and by Sunday it was downright warm enough to melt a lot of the snow! Elk became more abundantly seen as the warmer weather coaxed them from their hiding places. We did manage to see some nice bulls toward the end of the photo trip. These photogenic creatures offered us plenty of angles and poses to make our photographers happy. And on Sunday we had about 200 elk in the vicinity of our cabin! Cows were spread out all over the mountain and a couple of nice bulls put on quite a show for our guests. In-between shooting the elk we did see, we also found some beautiful landscapes and other subjects to photograph. One area in particular provided some frozen ice cycles and snowy scenes that had us switching lenses and trying creative techniques to capture its beauty. Our goal is always to find the elk and photograph them, but they are wild animals and can be unpredictable and difficult to locate. Fortunately, the elk range provides a variety of beautiful subjects and landscapes to provide us with chances to exercise our photographic creativity in those times when we are not seeing elk. You can look through my gallery for this photo trip and see some of the different scenes we were able to capture. The participants had a great time and we enjoyed being together, learning more about wildlife photography, and putting our photographic skills into use as we captured the elk with our cameras. I am looking forward to our Fall Photo Trip. This time of the year is my favorite for photographing the elk as they are actively in the rut. We would love to have you join us for this PA Elk Photo Experience, so check out the info here. We will feed you well and provide you with some up amazing sights of the Pennsylvania Elk in the beauty of the Fall colors. It will be a memorable experience!

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. I usually just stick some PITA PIT in my backpack as a quick snack. 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!
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