Slideshow from The Great American Outdoor Show 2016

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I created a slideshow with more of the photos I captured at The Great American Outdoor Show last week. You can view the photos here.

I hope you enjoy the photos. It really was a great event!

2016 Great American Outdoor Show

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I had the privilege of attending The Great American Outdoor Show this past week and it was awesome! This is the biggest sportsman’s show in the world and it lived up to the billing this year to be sure. I attended several instructive and informative seminars, watched the 3-D Archery Shoot, met four TV personalities, talked to several outfitters and guides, and visited booth after booth of hunting and fishing equipment. Words do a poor job of describing the excitement and enthusiasm around this show, so I am hoping my photos will help. Here a few to whet your appetite. I will be posting a slideshow on my website with more photos and will post another blog with that link once it is ready. In the meantime, check out these photos and let me know if you attended the GAOS, too.

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Bulls in Late Fall

The colors are not nearly as brilliant as they were a month ago, but capturing a bull in the late fall in its natural setting is still worth capturing. Some photographers limit their outings to the fall rut when the elk activity is at its peak. This is understandable, but there is not a bad time throughout the entire year that is not worth the effort to be out photographing the Pennsylvania elk.

This is true for any photo subject. The best way to get better is to be out photographing your favorite subjects as much as possible. Cal Ripken, Jr. says this: “Perfect practice makes practice.” His theory reflects that it is not just practice, but perfect practice that helps us get better. This is true in baseball as well as in wildlife photography. One problem is that we can tend to crawl up beside a warm, comfy wood stove as the days get shorter. This is a mistake for any serious photographer, especially wildlife photographers. The sun sets differently in the late fall and winter sky than it does in the summer, which creates a different sunset to capture with our cameras. As a matter of fact, I was standing out in a misty rain with my long johns on during this particular photo shoot.

The late fall sees the elk habits change, too. Sure, a few bulls are still anxious to breed a cow, but now things are slowing down and the elk are thinking more about putting on weight to endure the upcoming winter. They gain weight by eating, so the photographer has to be patient, waiting for an elk to look up from eating. Patience is a virtue and this is no more true anywhere than with wildlife photography!

So, put on some warm clothes, grab your camera gear, and venture out into the wild this late fall season. When you come back into the warmth of your home or cabin, you will be glad you braved the elements to photograph wildlife. After all, to be a good wildlife photographer we have to spend more time in their habitat throughout the whole year!

Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience #7 – Fall Rut

The last week of September greeted us with spectacular fall-like weather. The temperature was cool and the elk were clearly in the heat of the annual rut. The breeding season for the Pennsylvania can run from mid-September through mid-October. The last week of September is generally near the peak of the action and we were there, ready with our cameras and lenses to capture the action!

The first day was the only clear day. The clouds and rain took over but this did not hinder the elk action at all. It was a very active week and we saw plenty of elk to photograph. Several fights broke out as the bulls were vying for dominance among the cows. I absolutely love this time of year and the fall rut is always filled with action and many photographic opportunities! There is no better time to be in elk country in my humble opinion, and I prefer to be no where else at this time of year!

This was our seventh Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience. John arrived on Monday evening and we started with a basic wildlife photo workshop. This is always a good start so we can dial in our camera settings to more adequately and more easily capture the beauty of these elk. The next morning started with a real early breakfast and out to find the elk just as light was beginning to make its headway into the day. Elk, like most mammals, are most active at dawn and dusk, so we always are out in the mountains at these times. The light tends to be best at these times of day as well. Many times the activity slows down sometime between 9am and 11am. So we break for lunch and a short rest before heading back out of the early evening opportunities. I just cannot get enough time with these amazing animals! They are fascinating!

The Pennsylvania Elk Photography Experience has several goals we have in mind for all participants:

  • Provide an exciting experience with the Pennsylvania elk
  • Teach basic and advanced photography techniques to capture the action of the wildlife
  • Create breath-taking wildlife photographs that capture the essence of this experience
  • Learn from each other
  • Have fun

This fall trip was exceptional in terms of the rutting and elk action. I think it is fair to say that we accomplished all five goals on this trip.

I can’t wait to be back in elk country again!

Cumberland Island Bobcat

One morning while on Cumberland Island, a beautiful barrier island off the coast of Georgia, I was heading out to the beach and was greeted by several horses. I will share¬† more about that encounter at a later time. I situated myself in the sand beside a tree. Several horses came out in plain view and after they moved on I thought, “Let’s stay here and see if anything else comes into this opening.” Sure enough another horse came out just minutes later. I photographed this horse and he meandered over the sand dune and out of sight. I sat tight, waiting to see if anything else would come out of the opening. Sure enough, not even two minutes later I saw this bobcat!

And what a beautiful bobcat it was! Just look at it! Now I’ve been in the outdoors enough to see bobcats in the past, but never when I had my camera ready for the action. Bobcats are very weary and leery creatures. They do sneak around often at dawn and dusk but want nothing to do with humans or any other potential threats. It is indeed a rare sight to even see a bobcat, let alone be fortunate enough to photograph one!

As you can see, this bobcat carefully checked its surroundings before coming completely out into the clearing. It didn’t stay in the area long either. It was a very fortuitous experience for which I was extremely thankful! My only worries were, was the light enough and did have the bobcat in focus? It all looked decent in my camera’s LCD screen, but I wouldn’t know for sure until I got home several days later. The suspense was killing me but gladly the results were fairly good and I am very happy to share these photos of a special encounter with you. Spend some time outdoors and you never know what might happen! Isn’t wildlife photography great?!