Rounding a bend in the lake shoreline in early June I was awestruck by the beautiful scene that unfolded as the early morning sun reflected in the still water. Changing lenses I maneuvered the boat to capture the scene from a few different angles with this being my favorite.
Continuing to frequent the wetlands in July the ducks were becoming much more difficult to photograph with foliage increasing, water levels decreasing, and the ducks becoming more mature. One evening while slogging through the marsh this bullfrog allowed me to get extremely close. This shot was made using the 400mm lens with a 25mm extension tube attached to allow it to focus at such a short distance.
By July the Whitetail Fawns were becoming strong and traveling with their mothers. Spending time with them was a real treat; watching them cavort about the meadow displaying their youthful vigor and their curiosity as they explored their new world.
Little did we know that within a few weeks they would become targets for a group of thrill killers who would kill most of the fawns along with a few adult deer. The poachers were never apprehended even though one of the local Deputy Conservation Officers spent a considerable amount of time trying to do so. Evidence given to our District Conservation Officer in Fulton County was never acted upon.
A wetlands visit in early July produced this stunning image of a Muskrat. I had captured a good number of muskrat photos during my many wetland visits but most were dull and unimpressive. When this muskrat swam across a small pond through a single shaft of sunlight shining through the surrounding foliage; the result was a Muskrat photograph that I can never hope to top.
One July morning I was treated to a rare sighting of a Mink as it chased a cottontail rabbit. The rabbit had ran down the farm lane and made a soaring 90 degree leap into the high grass. A moment later the mink followed hot on its trail; pausing momentarily at the point where the rabbit changed direction. Just enough time for a couple of quick shots.
As the sultry days of August arrived the Whitetails were sporting their red coats of summer and the buck's antlers were becoming well developed. I caught this buck along the lakeside one morning while fishing for bluegills.
By mid August holes were beginning to appear in the Whitetail's summer coats allowing some of the newly forming winter hair to show through. This two year old buck would stick around until the early stages of the rut and then dispersed to a new home range never to return.
Early September provided me with a touching moment as a young fawn checked out a visiting buck.
Late September found me once again visiting the Pennsylvania Elk Range. The rut was on but the weather was for the most part uncooperative with dull dreary skies during most of my visit. Although I encountered a good number of bulls the poor lighting conditions did not allow for stunning photographs.
Any disappointments I had with the excursion quickly evaporated on the last evening when shortly after sundown the sky turned a fiery red. As I was in close proximity of an Elk herd containing a number of bulls I quickly moved into a position from which I was able to silhouette the bulls against the awesome sky.
This year we were blessed with the most abundant mast crop that I have seen in many years. Although it was a blessing for the wildlife it proved to be a problem for a whitetail photographer as the deer spent their time feeding and rutting in the woodland instead of visiting the fields and meadows as in most years.
To help pass the time while watching for rutting bucks I turned to photographing the birds that were visiting the feeders. This little Chickadee posed beautifully making that evenings shoot worthwhile even though no bucks showed.
As with our local deer herd; the Whitetails in Shenandoah National Park were also more difficult to photograph because of the abundant mast crop. I did manage to photograph a few different bucks with this being my favorite image from the autumn's Whitetail rut.
Definitely one of my favorite shots of the year came in late November while shooting at our naturalized feeders. The lighting and background were perfect when this Gray Squirrel posed for my camera.
While Blue Jays are certainly not uncommon at our feeders, they are somewhat warier than the other species who frequent them. By placing a Outhouse blind very near the feeders in December I was able to get close enough to capture this pleasing image of a Blue Jay with its head rotated 180 degrees.
If there is one thing I have learned this year it is to get close to your subject. No lens, no amount of telephoto will ever make as great of a difference in the final image as will getting as close to the subject as is possible. When you think you are close enough, get closer. It takes a lot more work when dealing with wildlife but the results are worth the effort!
This concludes my series; 2010 A Year in Pictures. I am working on processing the photographs I captured on my recent Florida visit and will be publishing them in upcoming posts.
Thank you all for visiting Country Captures and thank you all very much for the nice comments and encouragement during the past year. Happy New Year to all of you and may your 2011 be an exciting and rewarding year.