Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lily Pad: Selective Color

While fishing Saturday morning the refection & shadows among the lily pads caught my attention. While reviewing the resulting images I hit upon the idea of giving this one a selective color treatment.

I know, I know, it’s not really my style but I do like to play around with images occasionally.

As it is the end of the month, it was also time for a new header. This evening my wife and I again visited the Haines-Seville Wetland with a focus on insects. This butterfly, understanding my need of a September header image, posed beautifully for its portrait.

On another note, many of you have been following my son Chad’s engagement over at
the photog blog. If you have been enjoying his post, pop over to Ash’s Eye to read all about my niece's exciting news.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Camera Critters: Humming.......

As quickly as it arrived, a female Hummingbird prepares to leave her perch.

With my brothers family enjoying their visit to Yellowstone, I have been raiding their hummingbird feeding station for images.

For more Camera Critters click on the logo at top

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuscarora Sunrise

As I watched the sun rise from the top of Tuscarora Mountain looking down over the sleepy village of Ft. Loudon nestled in the shadows of both the Kittatinny and Broad Mountain in the distance, I could not help but think back to how this must have appeared at an earlier time.

The village, Fort Loudon, takes it name from an English fort constructed during the French & Indian war era. It has the distinction of being the first English fort in the New World to be attacked by colonist. Over ten years preceding the revolution James Smith and his Black Boys laid siege to the fort demanding the release of settlers imprisoned there.

For you history buffs out there a Google search will reveal a great deal of information regarding Smith and his daring forays. Although Smith was an important activist during this period, history overlooks his exploits. Smith, a very vocal detractor of General George Washington, may well have brought this oversight upon himself.

For more Sky Watch and to join in the fun, click the Sky Watch logo at the top of this post

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Close-up: Grasshopper

From a distance a grasshopper really doesn’t look like much but when viewed up close the intricate detail and color scheme makes it into an object of beauty. I also liked the touch of color added by the thistle blossom in the foreground of this shot.

In an attempt to increase my capability for shooting macros, I added a Kenko 25mm extension tube to my gadget bag. It has performed flawlessly on the 100-400mm but with the 24-105mm I find that I have difficulty in achieving focus in the auto-focus mode.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Close-up: Hummingbird

Of all the bird species to photograph up close there is none easier than the hummingbird if one does some preparation. All that is needed is a feeder and a well lit perch. Capturing these birds in mid-air is another thing altogether!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Old Bedford Village: The Conclusion

With fixed bayonets the British troops swept the opposing forces from the field

A casualty lies upon the field of battle

Of course this series was that of a reenactment conducted at Old Bedford Village. The action appears much better in photographs than it did while watching it unfold for the re-enactors exercised the utmost care to prevent “real” causalities.

Reoccurring among the various comments on this series is mention of the bright uniforms and the massed formations used in the fighting of that day. One must remember that with the uses of these tactics the Great British Empire ruled much of the world. With the inaccurate and slow rate of fire of the arms of that day, the massing of men and firepower was of much more consequence than stealth. The bright uniforms and large hats made the forces appear larger than life, scaring the opposition more than if they had been concealed.

Changes in weaponry relegated these tactics to antiquity; what a shame that the same cannot be said about all war!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Old Bedford Village: The Battle

With the French troops arriving upon the field, the battle began in earnest.

With a crashing volley of small arms fire accompanied by the roar canons, the British troops returned a withering fire from the shelter of the redoubt.

Colonials assisting the British troops can be seen here manning the canon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wood Ducks in the Mist

A pair of immature Wood Ducks slide quietly by as the early morning mist rises from the water.

Photographing “truly wild” wildlife can be trying at times and the Wood Ducks of the Haines-Seville Wetland certainly fit the criteria. I have made a number of trips, used camouflage and the natural cover to my best advantage and have yet to be able to capture a well-lit portrait of one of these ducks. These ducks are fully aware of the danger that humans present as the area is open to public hunting.
For more Camera Critters click the logo at the top of this post........

Friday, August 22, 2008

Seeking Shelter

As word spread that French forces were on the way, Redcoats as well as villagers sought shelter in a redoubt near the village of Raystown, later to be named Bedford.

The setting of this conflict is 1758. General Braddock’s expedition against Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburg) failed two years earlier when he and his troops were destroyed in a surprise attack. General Forbes decided to engage the French from a different direction. His troop movement across the Allegheny Mountains required the building of a new road, now known as the Forbes Road. Forbes’ plan called for a slow march with secure lines of supply protected by a string of forts along the way. Fort Bedford was one post in this string of forts.

Lt. Colonel George Washington, later President Washington, served with both Braddock and Forbes commanding a Virginia provincial regiment.

Today the Lincoln Highway (US Route 30) follows much of the path of the original Forbes Road.

We will break from the ensuing battle for Camera Critters and resume with the following post.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

SkyWatch, Fluffy Clouds

Fluffy white clouds on a background of blue sky crown the colonial village. A tranquil scene, but we know with Redcoats camped behind the village and Indians slinking through town that trouble is near at hand.

More to come………..

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Wife Gasped...

as we were strolling through town. When I turned to look in the direction she was staring, this scene met my gaze!!

More to come…….

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The British are Coming!!!!!

And they don’t look friendly like our good blogger buds Wom Tigly and Imac

His Majesty’s soldiers march to their destiny along a rural path in colonial New France.

More to come………………

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fireworks, a Fair and a Contest

The 88th Annual Fulton County Fair was held August 10th-16th. The roar of racing lawnmowers was heard all over the fair grounds on Friday night. At 9:30 the racers were paused to allow all to view the fireworks display.

This year, for the first, I competed in the photographic contest. Each contestant was allowed to enter one photograph in each category. I chose five images to enter. Each was printed 8” x 10”, matted with a complimentary color and framed in an inexpensive Wal-Mart 11” x 14” frame.

I entered the following images; listed with each is the category and standing.

Flower 1st place

Nighttime 1st place

Landscape 1st place

Modified B&W 1st place

Animal 3rd place

I wish I could show you the image that beat out my Nuthatch; it was an absolutely awesome Great Egret!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Beaded by a heavy dew and lighted by the morning sun; a spider’s web sparkles with more beauty than the jewels worn by the Kings and Queens of old.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Muskrat: First Capture!

Muskrats were once a common sight in the creek I grew up along. Their den holes perforated the muddy banks of the stream. With the passing of hurricane Agnes in 1972, heavy flooding occurred in our area and the large muskrat population was no more. Only a remnant population remains.

This morning I arrived at the Haines-Seville Wetland at first light. Soon after setting up a muskrat swam past my hide but there was insufficient light for photography. As much as it pleased me to see a creature that I had not seen in many years, I was disappointed that the chance for an image had passed me by.

A little later my heart skipped a beat when I noticed that a second muskrat was swimming towards me. I was determined to not allow this second chance to pass me by. With the camera set on ISO 800 and the 100-400mm on its widest aperture I began composing and firing as rapidly as possible.

For more Camera Critters and to join in on the fun visit our gracious host Misty at her Camera Critters blog

Thursday, August 14, 2008

SkyWatch: Contrasts

During the warmer months my wife and I frequently have dinner on the deck attached to the east side of our home.

One week ago Friday, as a frontal system passed over taking all of the humidity with it, the mixture of clear air, puffy clouds, and a bright sun combined to create this beautiful show of contrasts for our dining pleasure.

For more Sky Watch and to join in on the fun visit the gang at Skywatch

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Dragonfly: Haines-Seville Wetland

After a full day of traveling I cannot think of anything to say so I must allow this image to speak for itself.

Monday, August 11, 2008


The Bullfrog silently surfaced while I was watching over a portion of the Haines-Seville. Slowly I swiveled the camera. After allowing me to fire a few images, with a kick of its strong legs the frog disappeared beneath the surface.

The frog was lucky that it was I who was near when it surfaced rather than the heron. Otherwise what began as a pleasant summer morning would have turned deadly.

Such is the way of the wild; death for one is a satisfying, life sustaining meal for another

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Viewing the Haines-Seville

Our good blogger friend Abe Lincoln asked to see the Haines-Seville Wetland in all of her glory.

The sign inviting the public denotes the local, state and federal agencies involved in this wetlands restoration project.

Pictured here is the visitors’ center; a pavilion built overlooking the man-made swamp. A few years ago this entire area was just another overgrown creek-bottom field.

To photograph or view the wildlife that inhabits the wetland requires one to walk a dike that surrounds the swamp and set up as unobtrusively as possible. The wildlife here is wild and in no way habituated to human presence. Camouflage, slow cautious movements, and patience are the order of the day when shooting the critters who call the Haines-Seville home. This photo was taken from the vantage point I utilized during the early part of my Saturday morning shoot.

This week is shaping up to be a very busy one for me; work, business travel, and our local Fulton County Fair. I’ll be posting whenever I have the opportunity as there are more photographs from the Haines-Seville to share with you.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Green Heron: Fishing from a Tree

At 5:00am the irritating sound of my alarm clock roused me from my deep slumber. Staggering into the kitchen in my sleepy stupor I made my way towards the fridge to begin preparing my morning cereal. No, it’s Saturday, and I really don’t have to get up this early! Still stumbling about I returned to the snug comfort of bed. When I awoke again I felt refreshed and the sun was not yet up. Passing the fridge I grabbed a banana, swung the camera bag on my shoulder and snagged the tripod while heading out the door.

Too late to photograph the dawn, I headed instead for the Haines-Seville. While covering the few miles to my destination I realized that I should have taken time to grab a pair of rubber boots as I would be walking some distance through grass and everything was drenched with heavy dew.

Soon after setting out on foot I was soaked to the knees. Before I could get into position I bumped into a flock of wood ducks. Being totally wild birds that are not habituated to humans, they did not hang around; but that is a story for another day. As the first rays of sunlight reached the water I was in position.

Song birds flitted among the willows, a Great Blue Heron winged by, a Wood Duck passed over landing some distance away, soon a Bull Frog surfaced nearby with just his head and eyes protruding above the surface and then I noticed the leaves shaking on a branch overhanging the water.

A glance through the binoculars revealed a Green Heron standing on the limb. After cautiously moving the tripod into position I waited for the Heron to reveal itself.

The little Heron was feeding in a manner which I had never observed before. Instead of wading along the shoreline in search of prey as Herons commonly do, this Heron was walking back and forth on the overhanging branch and spearing its breakfast from its elevated perch.

For more Camera Critters visit Misty at her Camera Critters blog.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Butterfly at the Haines-Seville Wetland

While visiting the Haines-Seville this pretty Butterfly posed for its portrait

I believe this a variety of Fritillary but I hesitate to be more precise as so many are so very similar.

Abe Lincoln comment on my first post about the Haines-Seville asking how large it is and if it has a pond. I’m sorry I don’t know the acreage but I will check on it. I would hazard a guess that it encompasses 3-6 acre’s.

By design the Haines-Seville holds water during most of the year and in wet years such as this it contains quite a bit. Unlike a pond, its bottom is not sealed; allowing groundwater recharge to occur and it will go dry during a summer drought.

In years past storm-water was though of as something to dispose of as quickly and conveniently as possible. Water from roof tops, parking lots, etc was shunted off into drainage ditches leading directly to streams and rivers. This in turn greatly increased the flash flooding effect of the storms. Also with this water being moved off quickly, no longer was it allowed to seep into the ground refilling our aquifers. As human demand for clean water increased with our ever-increasing population it became necessary to drill deeper and deeper to obtain water from our ever shrinking aquifers.

Environmental laws are changing with storm water retention ponds and groundwater recharge now being considered with building permits in some areas.

Projects such as the Haines-Seville not only addresses the water problems but it also preserves open public space while giving wildlife yet another place to flourish.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

SkyWatch: Breaking Through

The Chesapeake Bay was shrouded in heavy rain clouds at daybreak Saturday morning.

After a thundershower passed to our north near Annapolis Md. the sun began to peek through the eastern sky. Sunrise and Sunset normally are best for dramatic photographs but, as in this case, not always.

Happy Sky Watch everyone. For more Sky shots and to join in on the fun visit the gang at the Sky Watch blog

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Haines-Seville Wetland: Dragonfly

Sunday evening my wife & I visited the Haines-Seville Wetlands. Haines-Seville is a man-made wetland that was built a few years ago by Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation to replace wetlands lost during highway improvements.

Today the Haines-Seville is a thriving wetland community. During the spring migrations it is a favored resting spot for waterfowl passing through our area. Mallards, wood ducks and Canada geese remain throughout the nesting season. Although we sited wild ducks on two different occasions, an opportunity for a photograph did not present itself.

The wetland is alive with insect activity. During our short visit I photographed no less than five different dragonfly varieties along with numerous bees. Song birds were present in good numbers but the lush foliage prevented any acceptable photographs.

This small Dragonfly, illuminated by strong backlighting, posed for the camera.

Monday, August 04, 2008


Blogger issues are preventing me from uploading a photograph today.

Have a great evening everyone………

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Lip Licking Good!!!

I don’t know what caught this little fawn’s attention but it must be Lip Licking Good!

For more Camera Critters visit Misty’s Camera Critters Blog

Donald Kinney and Faye Pekas in comments on my previous post both correctly assumed that I had captured the image with the 100-400mm L lens. I use this lens to capture nearly all of my wildlife photographs.

Upon desiring to upgrade to my first DSLR, naturally I turned to my local resident “Expert”, my brother Willard. Willard has built a dream collection of Canon equipment over the years and when he speaks, I listen. His first advice was for me to learn from his mistakes. In years past he had worked with numerous lenses. As he continued to strive to improve his craft he found himself replacing those lenses with lenses of higher quality. Willard stated that if I were to begin with Canon L lenses then although the initial outlay would be greater, in the end they would be a bargain. With his advice in mind I chose the 24-105mm L for my primary lens and have not been disappointed.

Soon I began investigating a higher powered telephoto for wildlife work. Willard was kind enough to allow me to shoot with his various lenses and even gave me his EF 100-400mm L on indefinite loan last autumn. Many other lenses in Canon’s lineup out-perform the 100-400 in certain aspects, for example the primes offer greater sharpness and larger apertures.

The versatility and price of the 100-400mm L finally decided the issue for me. This lens gives acceptable sharpness while combines 400mm power in a very portable package along with good image stabilization. I find that not only does it work well on the tripod but it also works very well for my run-and-gun style of waterfowl shooting. It work well on distant subjects and with its 1.6m macro focus distance it does yeoman’s duty on small wary subjects such as butterflies, dragonflies etc.

At the moment I can only think of three negative aspects of this lens and frankly I consider these minor.

1 Weight; at 3lbs it is heavy to tote around
2 F5.6 aperture
3 Push/pull zoom, moves dust around requiring more frequent camera sensor cleanings.

This isn’t a sales pitch for Canon; it is my personal thoughts and observations about a product whose performance meets my expectations.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Eyelashes to Die For!

That’s what my wife exclaimed when she first saw this image.

As a man I hadn’t really though about what beautiful long eyelashes this innocent little fawn is blessed with.

Although we are brothers and live side by side, Willard and I seldom shoot together. With the exception of shooting the autumn whitetail rut we usually find that our photographic interest takes us in different directions.

Thursday evening I decided that it was past time for me to accompany him on a whitetail fawn shoot. It was time well spent!