Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sky Watch Friday- A Visit To The Elk Range


Elk County Sunset On Monday, Canon 40-D: 17-40mmf4 L ISO 100



2:30 A.M. Monday and I had the hammer down, driving to Pennsylvania's elk range. Morale is low at that time of morning, but an early start is required in order for one to be in Elk County at first light as this is the best time of the day for elk photography. On a positive note, the skies were crystal clear with the stars shining brightly and as the miles passed, I found myself anticipating the rapidly approaching dawn and hopefully a wonderful day of nature photography.

The trip passed without mishap and I arrived in Benezette (the village which is located in the center of Pennsylvania's traditional elk range) when it was bright enough to shoot with a 70-200mmF2.8 at ISO 1000. I prefer to avoid this setting if possible, the same as I prefer to not photograph elk in town or near buildings, but I wanted to check on bull 36 or "Fred", an animal which has been discussed in earlier posts. This is one of his preferred spots and he was there along with a cow, and another bull which is much younger, but has the potential to surpass Fred in antler growth as Fred is quite old and antler mass may decline significantly this year. Only time will tell the outcome and hopefully we will be able to document this.

I would have preferred to use a tripod, but there was no pull off spot at this point and I did not want to stop in the traveled portion of the roadway and set the tripod up, so I fired from the window, using the window sill as a rest and of course utilizing the image stabilization of the 70-200mm.

In retrospect I was well pleased with the performance at ISO 1000 and will use it in the future without hesitation when the situation calls for it!

"Fred in Benezette" Canon 40-D 70-200mm F2.8L 1/30 f2.8 ISO 1000 6:05:42 a.m.

"Cow in Benezette" Canon 40-D: 70-200mm F2.8L 1/20 f2.8 ISO 1000, 6:05:52 a.m.

"Bull in Benezette" Canon 40-D: 70-200mm F2.8L 1/30 f2.8 ISO 1000, 6:06:18 a.m.

From there I traveled to other less settled areas and had an excellent day of nature photography and filming.

The sunset featured at the beginning of the post brought a fitting conclusion to a wonderful day afield.

I was in the northwoods from Monday until mid-morning on Thursday and of course was unable to post or visit any blogs during that time. I will resume visiting your blogs and commenting soon!

33 comments:

quintarantino said...

Not only a smashing candy sky, but awesome photos of some lovely animals!

Petunia said...

WOW! The colours in the sky shot is amazing:) and the other shots are so beautiful!
Petunia

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

The colors in that sky are amazing. It's almost unreal. Beautiful.
Impressive Elk photography...

Jenty said...

That sky shot is amazing... and the other shots!
... and I'm very jealous of your camera :) I'm dying to get one.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Welcome back Willard... and what a comeback... ha! This is a delightful capture of the setting sun, the colouring is excellent.

I will be back to read all the post when I have the time to do itr justice.. catch you then
Tom

Daniel J Santos said...

excellent post, all beautiful images.

Jill said...

Great capture on getting it sitting down like that. Wonderful wildlife shots! I'm glad to start seeing your work again.

imac said...

Willard = 1st class photography.
So so so fantastic stuff.

My Sky watch from Belvoir Castle Grounds are now up.

SandyCarlson said...

You amaze me every week. You are incredible.

John said...

That sky shot is amazing! And the other shots are so nice!

Sherry said...

Wow. That sunset photo is gorgeous, the color is truly amazing. What a great view. All your photos are fantastic!

RAMOSFOREST.ENVIRONMENT said...

Great shot colors.

Pernille's ting og tang said...

Wonderful shots. I love them all, but the shot's with the reindeer is just fantastic:)

Me & my puppies said...

Great sky shot and beautiful elk photos

Champ Townboy said...

Fantastic shots!! Great post.

Stacey Huston said...

Willard, your photos amaze me. beautiful skywatch post and I love the elk..I am so looking forward to elk calves this year..

Marie said...

That sky shot is amazing! Great post :)

Pretty Life Online said...

Fantastic entry for SWF! Happy weekend!

Anne-Berit said...

Wonderful sky watch -photo the first one,the colours are awesome.The others are great too!

fishing guy said...

Willard: Great post and really great SWF photo. It's great to see the Elk in velvet. I'll have to show my grandson this for sure.

DeeMom said...

WOW that sunset is awesome

SO are the ELK what beautiful animals

Angie said...

Beautiful sky in your first photo and weren't the elk good to pose so cooperatively for you!

Digital Polaroids said...

Incredible pallette!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I am like you, I guess, and try not to use high ISO settings as things begin to look bad for me in the blacks and near blacks as noise. I looked at your photos and did not see this so it much be something else.

These are nice photographs. I especially like the last one with his serene look and with his winter fur coming off or starting to come off or already off and in need of a good combing.

Nice post, willard.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

The sky is stunning and the elk photos plus your word are wonderful.

For The People said...

Cool Pics. I have never heard of elk tourism BTW. Neat

Lana G! said...

Wow! These are all great!

Larry D said...

Excellent photos. It looks as if it was defintiely worth the drive at that early hour.

Travis said...

Stunning photos, and a wonderful post as usual.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Came back as promised Willard and enjoyed every word... I am now looking forward to seeing what else you have captured while out in the wild... great Sky Watch shot and of course a great post as always Willard.
Tom

lv2scpbk said...

Beautiful sunset and wonderful animal shots.

Gretchen said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Always love seeing what elk you've captured every time I visit here.

Sandy's Notes said...

Your blog is full of wonderful shots. I love your skywatch, but I must come back and read some more. I'm so glad I stumbled on your blog, thanks for sharing such beautiful sights!