Saturday, February 14, 2015

Production Company Films In Elk Country

Photo by Paul Staniszewski-Used by Permission All Rights Reserved
 On January 7th I was contacted by an Associate Producer of Steve Rotfeld Productions who produces the long running animal television series "Wild About Animals" hosted by Mariette Hartley, which is an Emmy award winning, nationally syndicated program that focuses on the well being of animals. I had captured their attention with my blogging about wildlife and they wished to have a crew accompany me for a day as I photographed and documented Pennsylvania wildlife.

For a variety of reasons I did not wish to participate in the project, but it was an excellent opportunity so I referred  the company to Paul Staniszewski of Troutville, PA. Paul who is very familiar to regular readers of this blog, has been very active in Pennsylvania elk photography for several years. His work may be seen and purchased at Elk Country Visitor Center as well as other venues.

Rothfield Productions selected Paul for the project and he put them in touch with The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the management at Elk Country Visitor Center.  As a result a cooperative effort all came together on February 11, 2015 when Rotfield Productions spent a day in Pennsylvania Elk Country filming footage for the episode.

Below is a Press Release:

Production Company Films Elk in PA Wilds

On February 11, 2015 the Steve Rotfeld Production Company (SRP) was in Benezette to film an episode of the adventure series "Wild About Animals". The subject of this program was the Pennsylvania elk herd. The morning began with a report of a bull elk located in Scattertown with a swing entangled in his antlers. Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) personnel tranquilized the elk and removed the entangled swing and attached a radio collar around his neck. The purpose of the collar is to allow the PGC to monitor the movements and behavior of the elk herd. The activities were recorded and can be seen on "Wild About Animals"

The filming schedule included interviews with Colleen Shanon, PGC Land and Elk Habitat Manager, and Jeremy Banfield, PGC Elk Biologist. The backdrop for the interviews was the Elk Country Visitor Center managed by the Keystone Country Elk Alliance. CEO Rawley Cogan was interviewed as part of the program at the Visitor Center. The crew then interviewed Paul Staniszewski, a local elk photographer and Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan. He mentioned that in the years that he has been roaming the hills around Benezette photographing elk the thing that impressed him most was the accomplishments of several state agencies. The PA Game Commission, Fish & Boat Commission, Environment Protection Agency, and the Department of Conservation Natural Resources all collaborated to take this land decimated by strip mining and transformed it into a viable habitat for elk. The result is that Benezette is now a popular tourist destination with hundreds of thousands visitors to the area every year.. Additionally he is most appreciative of the hospitality of local residents that give him an opportunity to photograph these majestic animals and share their beauty with others.

"Wild About Animals", hosted by Emmy Award winning actress Mariette Hartley, travels the globe to bring viewers fascinating stories about a variety of animals in their natural environment. SRP is an Emmy Award winning production and national broadcast syndication company. Since its inception in 1985, its programs have appeared on TLC, ESPN, ESPN Classic, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, and other national and international venues.

 Bill Watts, Associate Producer for SRP, noted that he was impressed with the level of cooperation,
accommodation and hospitably exhibited by everyone involved and that this assured the success of this project. Individuals interested in learning about the elk are invited to refer to their cable television scheduling guide and view the upcoming program.

This program will bring national and international attention to the value of our elk herd, introducing viewers to this state treasure and the beauty of this wild and scenic part of Pennsylvania.

Paul Staniszewski

I commend  Paul for his efforts in helping bring this project to fruition and look forward to seeing the broadcast.

Originally Published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winter Wildlife Sightings Increase

Mature Gobbler: Canon 7D MK II- Canon 500mm  F 4.0 IS L -ISO 800-1/320 Sec. F 5.0

So far there has not been a major snow storm in out area, but the ground is partially snow covered. The temperatures have been unpleasantly cold except for the occasional day that it rebounds to the 40s and makes one long for the days of early spring.  Wildlife sightings have been good lately as the birds and animals move about more searching for food and have calmed down somewhat from the effects of the fall hunting seasons.

Whitetail bucks in this area usually shed their antlers in a time slot of from late December until late February although I have heard of one rack buck sighting as late as early April. Many of the bucks have already shed as the photo below illustrates.

Already Shed:  Canon 70D -Canon 70-200mmf2.8 L II @88mm-ISO 400-1/1000Sec. F 4.0

Others still have their racks or have lost one antler as is the case with the buck shown below.

Partially Shed: Canon 70D -Canon 70-200mmf2.8 L II @80mm-ISO 200-1/1600Sec. F 5.0

Partially Shed: Canon 7D MK II- Canon 500mm  F 4.0 IS L-ISO 200-1/2000 Sec. F 5.0
Most associate the strutting and gobbling of wild turkeys with the spring mating season and that certainly is when it is most common, but it is possible to see it at other times of year as well and I have seen it quite often in the winter.

Mature Gobblers Strut: Canon 5D MK II-Canon 24-105 F 4.0 IS L-ISO 400-1/60 Sec. F 8.0
While it is the dead of winter now and spring seems far away, there will be a noticeable change in a few short weeks as large flocks of Tundra Swans and Snow Geese pass through Pennsylvania on their way to nesting grounds in the arctic tundra.

You will notice that today's post features photos from the 5D MK III, the new 7D MK II and the 70D.  I usually have all of these cameras along with the 500mm on the 7D MK II, and the 70-200mm on the 70D. I have been using the 5D MK III mostly with the 24-105 lens, but that will likely change once my testing mode is over and I will go back to using it a lot on one of the big telephotos.  I have been giving the 600mm a rest, mostly to get some use out of the 500mm and to avoid the hassle of handling the bigger lens. Believe me, there is a big difference in the mobility of these two lenses, but that being said the 600mm f 4.0 is still my favorite prime lens for serious long range work.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.