Friday, November 2, 2007

Shenandoah Scenics

This will be my last post until next Thursday or later, as I will be in the field away from Internet access until that time.

Here are two scenic shots from Tuesday's trip to Shenandoah National Park. Drought and insect damage made many of the scenic overlooks less attractive than usual, but the view from Tanner's Ridge Overlook just south of Big Meadows Visitor's Center was superb!
Massanutten Mountain from Tanner's Ridge

View Southwest From Tanner's Ridge Overlook

Both shots were taken with Canon 40D and Canon 28-135EF at ISO 100

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shenandoah Visit

Today fellow Game Commission Retiree, Billie Cromwell and I traveled to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for an eventful morning of photographing wildlife. It is a three hour drive one way. We left at 4:00A.M. and were at Big Meadows in the central district of the park at 7:00.

Soon after dawn we found a superb 10-point whitetail buck grazing by the side of Skyline Drive which follows the top of the mountain through the park from Front Royal in the north to Waynesboro in the south. The Big Meadows Area is perhaps the best spot in the park to observe and photograph wildlife as animal and birds are used to humans and do not flee at the sight of them.
Canon 40-D 70-200mmL f2.8 IS ISO 500
The highlight of the trip was a rare encounter with a Barred Owl along the edge of the meadow. The meadow is a large clearing that lies atop Virginia's Blue Ridge. It is thought it was originally cleared by the Indians. Later it was farm land until the ground was taken to create the park. The Big Meadows complex features a visitors center, lodges, campground, and camp store all of which close for the winter at the end of November or slightly before.

Barred Owl: Canon 40-D 500mmF4 IS ISO 100

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is This A Great Blue Heron?

Late Sunday Afternoon when I went to cross the fording, which Salty and ASH write about, I was lucky enough to spy this large bird sitting upstream from the crossing. I think it is a Great Blue Heron, but I am not certain. If anyone knows for sure, let me know. Locals call these birds “fish cranes” and from there it goes down hill. I won’t repeat the favorite local term. Also in backwoods Pennsylvania a stream crossing is not a “fording”,but rather a “forden” or “fordin”.

Over the years I have seen a lot of these birds and have gotten excellent video, but never a decent still shot. In this case the deck was stacked against me, but not impossibly so. I had the 70-200mm mounted with the camera on ISO 100. I would have liked to have had my 300mm to make the bird larger, and a higher ISO for the flying shots.

I cropped the image as much as possible without destroying it, which made the bird reasonably close looking.

Like “Wom Tigley” driving his Land Rover. I smashed my Chevy S-10 Blazer into the stream. At that point it all happened at once. I saw the bird, brought the camera to my eye, slammed the brakes, and fired a burst. Road hunting and 4 wheeling at its finest!

Canon 40-D 70-200mmL f2.8