Friday, November 30, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well actually nothing is wrong with the pictures except that they are stills made by playing back the tape from a Canon XL-H1 high definition video camera and pressing the photo button at the appropriate places, which captures the stills to a memory card. I am amazed that it works this well. I did not take this series with a still camera, as the purpose is to include the video segment, which this is taken from, in the elk video, which I am making.

I am not speaking about picture quality although it is lacking compared to a DSLR. The problem with the series is the “Inconvenient Truth” which it reveals.

Next day he was a legal target!

Totally at ease with humans!
I leave him undisturbed

It is stated time and time again that Pennsylvania Elk are “as wild as any”, and that elk in the backcountry are “not your stereotypical Benezette tame elk”, yet here is a “wild” elk, deep in the heart of Elk Hunt Zone 2. This is the elk which I posted still pictures of at the beginning of the series on the hunt. In less than 24 hours it would be legal for a properly licensed hunter to kill him.

I would estimate the animal to be 90 to 150 feet from me. This shot was taken with the camera on a tripod with the lens set at moderate wide angle and then I walked into the picture and walked back out. I could have walked closer had I chosen to do so. The only precaution taken was that I gave the animal time to adjust to my presence from a distance and then made no sudden or threatening moves while in his presence.

Are all elk in the backcountry this tame? No, but then neither are most as wild as portrayed! Had he been taken in the following season, and perhaps he was, I am certain that the hunt would be portrayed as difficult and challenging.

Stay tuned for future installments as we pursue this further.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Check Station Update: Further Information

Please note that the information on the bull taken by Dennis Henry has been updated to include information on the guides who participated. This is in the first post on the check station.

Dennis Henry, Tim Harvey, Jon Deberti, Carol Mulvihill, Rick Mackhelm

Inside the check station, elk biologist, Jon Deberti interviewed the successful hunters and collected important data, while outdoor writer and photographer Carol Mulvihill gathered information and maintained a tally sheet, which she posted for public viewing. Mr. Mackhelm is Information and Education Supervisor for the Northcentral Region of The Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Composite Photo of Harvest Tally Sheet
After taking these photographs I left for home and so have no more first hand knowledge of the 2007 hunt.
Hopefully we will get to some analysis of these events in the very near future.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A MIssed Opportunity

Deemom recently had a bobcat picture on her blog. This jogged my memory and I decided to post this picture, which was taken, near the Hick’s Run Elk Viewing Area in Elk County, in late September of I believe 1999. At the time I was shooting film, the camera was a Canon Rebel X and the lens a Sigma 170-500mm.

At the time I shot Kodak print film and carried one camera with ISO 200 film for good lighting conditions and one with ISO 800 for low light shots. I turned the film in to a local drug store for processing, but they sent it to the Kodak Lab in Rockville, Md. so it should have been processed correctly.

In most cases the ISO 200 film was great, but the 800 was a different story. I would no sooner than decide that I would never shoot another roll of it, than the roll that I had just shot would come back and the results would be very good, so I would shoot another which would range anywhere from barely usable to being a total disaster. It usually was not a matter of the negative not being printed correctly, but the film itself was not developed right and was grain and muddy in appearance.

I was walking through the woods toward an area that a large bull elk frequented when I saw two young bobcats running toward me but angled so that they would go past less than 20 yards away. In this case everything was loaded against me. I only had two or three frames remaining on the roll, the light was poor, and the range was very close. To top things off this was one of the times that the film was ruined in processing. I emptied the camera at one of the cats and then slammed my camcorder on the tripod and tried for a video sequence, but only got a fleeting shot of one of the animals as he ran out of sight.

I like little about the picture except that it remains the only still photograph that I have taken of a bobcat that plainly shows what the cat looks like.

How I would love to have the same opportunity again with a DSLR and 70-200mm lens!