Wednesday, September 8, 2021

August In Pennsylvania Elk Country

Here is a video from the August 2021 trip to Pennsylvania elk country.  It was filmed with the Panasonic S1H with the Sigma 150-600mm lens.   I am posting to the blog "Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer" and sharing it to the time line in the hopes that will work.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Bedford County River Otters-Another Page

After much thought I have decided that my condition has improved to the extent that I will return to updating The Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer Blog on at least a limited basis. If I continue long term will depend to a certain extent on whether upcoming eye surgeries are successful. The first is scheduled for December 11th, and the second sometime later.

Since several of you like to photograph the River Otter for today I am featuring “Bedford County River Otters-Another Page”. This is a 21 minute film, which begins with an overview of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's efforts to manage the wildlife of Pennsylvania and to re-establish species that were extirpated such as the elk, eagle, and river otter. of an otter release in the Juniata River near Everett, Pennsylvania on February 19, 2002.

This was back when standard definition 4:3 aspect-ratio mini-dv camcorders were what most small video production companies used. Two of the favorites with wildlife film-makers were the Canon XL-1 and the Canon XL-1s, which had recently replaced it. From 1997 until early 2002 my front line video camera was a Canon L2, which recorded to Hi-8 video tape. This camera was a powerful tool for wildlife as one could mount any Canon EF mount lens on it by means of an adapter. If I recall correctly this camera had a 1/2” sensor which gave a crop factor of about 5.4X. As an example a 500mm lens attached to it gave an equivalent focal length of 2,700mm. The XL-1s had an even smaller sensor which increased the crop factor to 7.2X. Since the XL1-s was a new camera it was used to document the events of the day, but the wildlife footage that is used was mostly taken with the L2 and the old Canon 35-350L zoom lens.. The video was edited on a Casablanca Avio stand-alone video editor, which looked much like a VCR. Its' main selling point was that it was guaranteed to work as it came and one did not have to configure it like one does a computer. I used this from about 2000 until 2005 or a bit later when I began using computers. The video features several speakers beginning about 3 min. 35 sec. Into the video. Some of the speeches are lengthy so if you want to skip them and continue on to footage of the release, drag the slider under the video to about 15 minutes.

I hope you enjoy the film.

Willard Hill

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Blog Will No Longer Be Updated-Videos No Longer For Sale

Videos no longer available.

The Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer Blog will no longer be active and videos are no longer for sale. For the time being I will let the blog available for those who want to look at the wildlife photos and videos and read my thoughts on the issues.

I wish to thank everyone who supported me through the years and I wish you all the best.

Willard C. Hill

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Middle Creek 2018-Part 2

It seemed that most of the Snow Geese were at Willow Point in the mornings and evenings this year. Quite a few people were there on Saturday and Sunday morning in spite of the strong wind and biting cold, but I had no desire to subject myself to that degree of punishment. It was a different story on Monday morning after the wind  mostly died during the night.

Dawn At Willow Point
A fairly large flock of Snow Geese was there, but they were mostly behind the trees. When they left there were usually trees in the way of getting good photos and as usual I concentrated on taking video so I didn't get many still shots.

That afternoon was a different story as a large number of birds gathered to feed in a field near the viewing area at Willow Point while others were on the lake directly in front of it.

Gathering To Feed
Resting On The Lake
Periodically the flock erupted into flight and then settled back down for awhile before taking off again. All the  while smaller sub-flocks were continually arriving and leaving.



Landing To Feed
Another Take-off
The main attraction of Middle Creek in late winter and early spring may be the awesome sight of the large flocks of Snow Geese, but there are a variety of other subjects to see and photograph as well.The fields along Hopeland Road and a number of smaller ponds are ideal spots to see many  species of waterfowl, birds, and other wildlife.

Whitetail Doe Along Hopeland Road
Mallard Male
It is best to photograph from inside the vehicle if possible as the ducks often shy away if you get out. They usually do not fly, but simply get too far away for good photography.  Even with staying inside it can be hard to get them close enough and powerful lenses and substantial cropping during editing are usually required.

Mallard Female
In addition to the ducks there are usually a few Great Blue Herons hanging around. The shot below is across the big pothole at Stop 1 of the tour route along Hopeland Road.  It was taken with a 150-600mm Sigma Contemporary at 600mm and then cropped to 2 Mega-pixels in Adobe Camera Raw.

Great Blue Heron

Ring-necked Duck-Female
Ring-necked Duck-Male
I also saw other species of ducks in a pothole that is too far from Hopeland Road for close-up still photography so I took video with the GH4 and 500mm Cannon FD lens. Species seen included Northern Pintails, American Wigeon, Green Wing Teal, Gadwall, and Northern Shovelers..

My usual course of action was to check the lake and potholes and then swing through the tour road periodically. I didn't see nearly as much action there as in most years.  I did see an eagle flying once or twice and harriers hovering over the meadows on several occasions,but they were too far to photograph.A Ring-necked Pheasant co-operated one morning and I got several still photos of him.

Ring-necked Pheasant-Male
 There were usually Canad Geese in the fields along the road and I sometimes took a few photos of them.

Canada Geese
It was crystal clear and the wind wasn't blowing On Tuesday morning  when I pulled into the parking lot at Willow Point. I was surprised to see and only one other vehicle was parked there. As I app-roached the viewing area I could hear the chatter of a large number of geese and as it grew light I could see a large flock resting on the lake. To my surprise no one else was at the viewing area.

Dawn At Willow Point On Tuesday
At times the many of the geese lifted-off and circled the area before settling back down, but soon after sunrise many of them left for the morning.

Sunrise Take-off At Willow Point
No One Was There

Leaving To Feed
Canada Geese
I met another person walking to the viewing area as I left, but I never saw anyone from the vehicle that was parked there at dawn. In one way it was good to be alone with nature without people taking and children screaming in excitement, but in another way it made me sad that no one else was there to enjoy the wonderful experience.

I went to Willow Point again that evening. It was so pleasant at the parking lot that I almost didn't put on a heavier sweater, but as I began walking the sun vanished behind the clouds and by the time I got to the viewing area it was overcast and gloomy..  A good number of geese were there, but a strong breeze was gusting off the lake and I was glad I dressed as I did as it was slightly uncomfortable even with the heavier clothing.

Cloudy Evening At Willow Point
Actually you can still see the blue skies to the north, but the sun was gone and even that blue sky soon vanished.  It was snowing next morning. Since the weather forecasters were calling for a major snow storm I did not go to Middle Creek, but the forecast was wrong and there was only light snow with little to no accumulation, so I should have gone that day as well.

With that another trip to Middle Creek was over.  In retrospect it was an enjoyable experience even though I did not film as wide of a variety of wildlife as in the better years.

Thanks so much for reading--I hope you enjoyed the photos and story.