Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sky Watch Friday- A Visit To The Elk Range

Elk County Sunset On Monday, Canon 40-D: 17-40mmf4 L ISO 100

2:30 A.M. Monday and I had the hammer down, driving to Pennsylvania's elk range. Morale is low at that time of morning, but an early start is required in order for one to be in Elk County at first light as this is the best time of the day for elk photography. On a positive note, the skies were crystal clear with the stars shining brightly and as the miles passed, I found myself anticipating the rapidly approaching dawn and hopefully a wonderful day of nature photography.

The trip passed without mishap and I arrived in Benezette (the village which is located in the center of Pennsylvania's traditional elk range) when it was bright enough to shoot with a 70-200mmF2.8 at ISO 1000. I prefer to avoid this setting if possible, the same as I prefer to not photograph elk in town or near buildings, but I wanted to check on bull 36 or "Fred", an animal which has been discussed in earlier posts. This is one of his preferred spots and he was there along with a cow, and another bull which is much younger, but has the potential to surpass Fred in antler growth as Fred is quite old and antler mass may decline significantly this year. Only time will tell the outcome and hopefully we will be able to document this.

I would have preferred to use a tripod, but there was no pull off spot at this point and I did not want to stop in the traveled portion of the roadway and set the tripod up, so I fired from the window, using the window sill as a rest and of course utilizing the image stabilization of the 70-200mm.

In retrospect I was well pleased with the performance at ISO 1000 and will use it in the future without hesitation when the situation calls for it!

"Fred in Benezette" Canon 40-D 70-200mm F2.8L 1/30 f2.8 ISO 1000 6:05:42 a.m.

"Cow in Benezette" Canon 40-D: 70-200mm F2.8L 1/20 f2.8 ISO 1000, 6:05:52 a.m.

"Bull in Benezette" Canon 40-D: 70-200mm F2.8L 1/30 f2.8 ISO 1000, 6:06:18 a.m.

From there I traveled to other less settled areas and had an excellent day of nature photography and filming.

The sunset featured at the beginning of the post brought a fitting conclusion to a wonderful day afield.

I was in the northwoods from Monday until mid-morning on Thursday and of course was unable to post or visit any blogs during that time. I will resume visiting your blogs and commenting soon!