Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Morning Photo Shoot At Shenandoah National Park

It's a 150- mile drive from southcentral Pennsylvania to Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia so Billie Cromwell and I were headed down 522 to Winchester, Virginia at 3:00 in the morning on Monday, August 11th. From there it's a straight shot to New Market Virginia and one can chalk the miles up quickly. From New Market, one takes Rt. 211 across Massanutten Mountain to Page Valley and past the town of Luray, which is world famous for its' beautiful caverns. One ascends another mountain through Thornton Gap and may get on Skyline Drive there. At that point one is slightly over 20 miles from Big Meadows, which is the whitetail deer hot spot in the park.

Whitetail deer prefer the early morning hours, shortly before and after sunrise, and the late evenings. I always try to be there as it is breaking day, but it was disappointing on this trip and at first the trip seemed a failure. We did find a buck by the roadside at dawn, but it was too early for the best photography.

We finally found a beautiful nine-point in the woods by the side of the drive. The light levels were low in the shaded woods, so I pressed the 300mm F4 into service.

Canon 40D: 300mmF4 L 1/80 sec. f4 ISO 800

From that point the situation improved and when we got back to the meadow two bucks were feeding by the roadside. I only posted the largest today. This has been the most commonly seen buck at Big Meadows for the last three years. He evidently has learned the lesson that many do not, and that is to stay on park land during the hunting seasons as private property is quite near in many spots. No hunting is allowed in the park, but if the animals stray they may be taken. In addition there is some poaching in the park. Whatever the reason I have seen several nice bucks for a year or two and then they vanish, but it seems there are a few that are seen year after year. This one has a good start and I hope that he will be a long term survivor.

Canon 40D: 300mmF4 L 1/640 sec. f5.6 ISO 100



The blog will be on hiatus again for over a week as our daughter ASH (Amy) takes us on a trip to Yellowstone Park and The Grand Tetons. It will be a new experience for sure!

For more animal photos visit Misty Dawn at Camera Critters!

27 comments:

Carletta said...

Hi Willard,
Impressive 'catches' for sure!
I linked to you from my CC post today. Back in June you said I could be seeing fawns. Finally, that is true. I posted some photos today - I've been waiting since June when you left me the comment. It has been exciting.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful trip out West.
All the best.

The Birdlady said...

Beautiful bucks! Oh, I hope they stay safe. Glad you got to SNP - now I'll be anxiously waiting to see what you find in Yellowstone...I've never been.

Kelly said...

Beautiful Bucks! Well taken photos!

HFD60 said...

Very nice bucks Willard, hope you have a great trip to Yellowstone...looking forward to seeing your view of the wildlife there....

shutter happy jenn said...

Very nice shots! I haven't been in the wild, but I know some animals are very aloof... glad you were able to capture them well.

My critter is here. Hope you can stop by if you have the time. Happy weekends!

magiceye said...

looks regal!


Check out some just littered kittens

Tink *~*~* said...

Beautiful animals. I'd be hard pressed to tell them apart, though!

Tink *~*~*
My Mobile Adventures *~*~*

Dianne said...

I came by for SWF but got caught up in the bucks!

beautiful photos

i beati said...

you did quite well. I know that strip well. sandy

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Glad you got this shot, Willard! And I hope the buck makes it through the next hunting season. Poachers! Grrrr.

Have a lovely time in the Tetons!

Gretchen said...

Just beautiful!!!

Paz said...

I hope he's a long term survivor, too. Beautiful-looking animal.

Paz

twobarkingdogs said...

Great photo!

Stop by my blog for photos of big birds and black dogs!

ratmammy said...

gorgeous photos! i keep thinking "bambi's father"...

babooshka said...

These are such majestic animals and photography is just stunning each week.

fishing guy said...

Willard: What wonderful captures of the great looking bucks. Those are really nice racks on those fellows.

Kekiinani said...

Howdy Willard. I have been thinking of you lately. I am back in Calif at my parents home and they have many cute deer in their back yard almost every evening. Tonight there were 8 does and 1 baby... (I am sure there is a technical term for them). One of these evenings I will get out the 70-200 and be ready for them. Wrong lens for this evening. Darn!!
Anyway. As always I totally enjoy your site. Hope all is well. Aloha Renee :) :)

Misty Dawn said...

Fantastic as always Willard! I hope you have an absolutely amazing time with your daughter!

Bradley Myers said...

Great photos as always Willard. You have talked us into this trip also, we will be in Shenandoah National Park in November for a fews days, I hope we have some of your luck.

Enjoy your trip out west. I hope you have plenty of memory cards and open hard drive. You will love it. It is beautiful and the wildlife is fantastic.

Kahshe Cottager said...

Nice photos - I especially like the last one of the buck in the meadow. Do enjoy your trip!

My Camera Critters Here and Here

Tommy said...

I love the first photo looking thru the trees.

ms426d said...

Willard,
Just read your comment on my blog today - didn't know I was taking lessons on all those trips did ya? Thanks for your input, I consider your praise a real compliment

Stacey Huston said...

Willard, Beautiful images as always.. Hope you have a wonderful trip to Yellowstone. Maybe I will see you in Cody while you are here.. :-D If you are looking for wolves check out the Lamar Valley, and the Bulls Elk maybe coming into Mammoth, but it is still a few weeks early for the rut.. Calling for snow on Monday though so if you get this message while your away, that may help..any questions about the area feel free to get ahold of me...

T and S said...

You got a series of beautiful images

Denise said...

Thanks to Bradley Myers I have just discovered your blog. I look forward to visiting often. Your photos are a joy to behold.

Stacey Huston said...

Willard. So glad you had a great time and made it home safe. I just have to add that I don't actually live in Cody.. You mentioned Belfry, well I am about 11 Miles from there LOL>. Small, small world. We live right on the Mt, Wy border.. 30 miles from Redlodge, and 40 Miles from Cody.. The road is called Dead Indian, or Chief Joseph Highway Aka Sunlight basin.. When you went over the pass from Red Lodge to Cooke City, there is a store called Top of the World.. we live directly east of that point at the base of those mountains... Internet sure makes a large world small.. and I look forward to the photos from your trip.. Catch you later~Stacey

Leedra said...

They just look right back at us. They pose so well, wonder who trained them.