Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Ordinary Day Has An Exciting Conclusion!

A Rewarding Encounter

Ordinarily it is only a five minute drive to my favorite photography spot, but there is a stream crossing or "fording" and after heavy rains it is often too high for the Chevy Blazer. To reach the spot without fording the stream involves a 20 minute drive over a mountainous back road. If one makes this drive to photograph both the morning and evenings activity, gasoline consumption skyrockets. While the Blazer can give 20-21 mpg. on interstate driving, it drops to 10mpg. or slightly more on this type of road.

I drove this morning and set up both the video and still cameras. I saw several turkeys, but there was no exciting action. Since it was a pleasant evening, staying home was not an option.With the price of gasoline at record levels it was time for drastic action!

It is only one mile from my home to our farm, so I drove there and then commandeered our old International 584 farm tractor. The big problem was transporting the equipment safely. I had to choose between still or video equipment and I decided to take the DSLR with 500mm lens.

Crossing Licking Creek

I arrived at my blind without incident, and soon a large gobbler came from the woods and fed in a newly planted food plot. This continued for over an hour and then he became excited about something, ran into a grass strip near the food plot, puffed his feathers out, and strutted.

Canon 40-D 500mmF4 1/750 sec. f4.5 ISO 200

He began running along the edge of the woods and I was surprised to see another mature gobbler running toward him as there had been no gobbling whatsoever. They came together, circled briefly and then a short terrific fight ensued.

Canon 40-D 500mmF4 1/750 sec. f4.5 ISO 200

The victor returned to the meadow while the vanquished bird stood nearby in the woodland.

Canon 40-D 500mmF4 1.4x extender 1/125 sec. f5.6 ISO 400

Like so many days afield, much of the time was uneventful, but that all changed in a few minutes and a beautiful spring day ended in a rewarding encounter.

Hopefully the stream will drop enough in a day or so, that I can return to using the Blazer full time!


Lawstude said...

What a lovely experience. I just hope that the gobblers are safe. Have a nice day.

Marvin said...

As they say: Where there's a will, there's a way -- or a tractor.

A great shot gobblers' territorial dispute. This post emphasizes the fact that the first step to nature photography is always getting outdoors with your camera.

Old Wom Tigley said...

A great post Willard, and great to see you coming up with that solution... Fuel prices are rocketing.. I have mention before that I run the Landrover off a mixture of diesel and veg oil.. it's warm now so the mix would normally be around 80% veg... This past 6 month as seen a bigger rise in veg oil that diesel.. I was getting this thime last year 20ltr veg for £9-£10 = $17.8 - $19.7.. It takes the cost way up up. Our diesel is now around £1.10 - $ 2.17645

I'll get down off this soap box now before I scare all those stunning Turkey's away.. ;o)

Anonymous said...

These are stunning pictures, Willard. I don't see wild turkeys here but on rare occasions and none in my backyard. That would be a shocker.

I kind of feel sorry for the loser.

fishing guy said...

Willard: Great story and those are great pictures. I really enjoy your pictures of wildlife. Our encounters with true wildlife are rare but I had two deer behind my home in the city last week (no camera in hand).

Peter Parrott said...

Hello Willard
I enjoy your pictures. Tom shows me then over a coffee or two. I came by to say thankyou for all your comments and for vising my pictures.

Stacey Huston said...

LOL Willard, first of all, fantastic photos. Love that you used a tractor to get there. and lastly isn't it just amazing how us outdoor enthusiasts can find such great satisfaction in the smallest of moment.. This is what keeps us comming back. thanks for sharing.

WomensDaily said...

Such beautiful pictures! Absolutely fantastic.

carl in ga said...

Willard - GREAT SHOTS! I just hope Hannah gets to see one next week when we come up. And at least I know someone is getting rain. Lake Lanier down here is still 14 feet below full pool.
Talk to you tonight ... see you next Friday!

Kerri said...

Wow Willard! How exciting that must have been! And your shots are amazing!

DeeMom said...

Magnificent pictures

Love tractors...

Mike "Hawk" Huston said...

You might be a red neck if!I loved this post..tractors, creek crossings, turkeys.. now that is country.. thanks for sharing your great photos and writings brother.. look forward to the next post.Hawk a/ho

Willard said...

We are redneck, backwoodsmen for sure! It is a vanishing way of life in this area, and I am glad that I got to be a part of that way of life.

I'll try to post more on this subject in the future.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Awesome shots... I just posted some wild turkey photos and gosh, it was tricky.... those guys are fast! It's the first time I actually got a shot of them... whew!
The Rocky Mountain Retreat

Gretchen said...

What a great experience! I do love coming here to see life in your neck of the woods. :)