Thursday, July 30, 2009

Short Encounter: Whitetail Fawn

The window above our kitchen sink overlooks a meadow and I often find myself paying more attention to the meadow than to the task of washing dishes. This is the position I found myself in this evening packing green beans into canning jars when a doe stepped into the open. The doe walked across a narrow mowed area, through a strip of high grass and then into another mowed area and paused when from the high grass she had just passed through a fawn stood up and hurried over to join her.

The fawn nursed briefly then wandered about the meadow near her for a few minutes. Then I noticed the doe lifted her head alertly and began walking hurriedly. Focusing on my task for a moment and then back to the meadow I was surprised to see that both deer had disappeared.

I felt reasonably certain that the fawn had again bedded so after putting the canners on to cook I strolled down with the camera to see if I could locate the fawn.

Inching along the grass edge and looking carefully fully expecting to find the fawn I was still startled when from only a few feet away the fawn jumped up and dashed away giving me time for only three images before disappearing through the old fence row.

Short encounter it may have been but I am pleased with the results.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have commented here. Currently my work schedule is consuming nearly all of my waking time leaving very precious little for anything else.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Waiting for the next breeze to spread its seed far and wide the tiny parachutes attached to each seed glow, backlit by the late evening sun.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Country Captures turns Three!

Three years ago with this photo of a small foot bridge at the Meadow Grounds Lake in Fulton County Pa Country Captures began.

After having neglected photography for twenty some years I was rediscovering it in the digital age with a little Canon S2 IS point & shoot and Photoshop Elements.

A year later, still shooting the S2 this photo of a wild sunflower graced the page

The second anniversary of Country Captures displayed a Porcupine sitting high up in the branches of an oak.
The Porcupine was content that it had reached safety as I maneuvered about the base of the tree with a Canon 30D & 100-400mm lens in an attempt to get a good photo in what has been to date my one and only photo encounter of these prickly little beast

Today, to begin the forth year of Country Captures, a pretty butterfly is the featured photo.

Two things that we do know about the Butterfly are that it is beautiful and if we were to follow it we do not know where it might lead. The same can be said of Country Captures.

Be assured that in the coming months and hopefully years, Country Captures will contain images of the Beauty that I encounter on my walk through life and that like the butterfly I do no know where my interest in photography might lead but where ever that is it will be contained here on the pages of Country Captures.

I do hope that you my faithful readers will continue this journey with me as Country Captures begins its fourth year with this the 791st post.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dragons & Damsels

The Dragon

The Damsel

Among the thousands of insects we are surrounded with in summer its difficult to beat Dragonflies and Damselflies for their photographic potential.

For more Critters of all kinds visit our host Misty at the

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yellow Swallow-tail on Thistle

Hopefully the Butterfly photography will improve as the summer progresses but for now the populations seem to be below normal. If I were to guess the cause I would suspect the cool wet spring. Our temperatures have averaged below normal with rainfall above average until July ushered in a drying spell.

Farmers may hate thistles but make no mistake Butterflies love them. When looking for butterflies images one will never go wrong wondering about in a patch of thistle. Contact with the sharp needles can be uncomfortable but the beautiful blossoms combined with the brilliant colors of butterflies is a combination hard to beat.

These images were captured with a 100-400mm Canon lens & 25mm Kenko extension tube. I have found this to be a useful combination as the 400mm allows one to maintain a comfortable distance that does not alarm the butterflies while still capturing a suitably large image. A tripod is a necessity with this combination as it is virtually impossible to maintain focus otherwise because of the extremely shallow depth of field.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Revisiting the Wood Ducks

Finding some unexpected time on my hands because of an extended power outage at work I decided to visit the wetland this morning and hopefully check on the progress of the young Wood Ducks.

Dressed in camo and knee high rubber boots I set my folding chair and tripod in 8-10 inches of water surrounded by willow branches. The chosen position faced westward to best utilize the morning light.

Well after sunup I heard the whistling of wood ducks on the wing followed by the splashing of their nearby landing. Some time later this mature hen swam past only mildly concerned by my motionless form in the bushes.

As the morning progressed I noticed ripples coming from the water’s edge a few yards to my right hidden by a screen of willow branches. Hoping that it was a feeding wood duck I decided to try a new trick to draw it into the open.

Using my foot I tried to mimic the slight splashing sounds of a feeding duck.

The ruse worked! An immature wood duck drake swam into the open looking for the other duck and I obliged by keeping my left boot toe above water, moving it about creating ripples. The young woody’s attention was riveted on my boot toe allowing me ample time to shoot a series of images.

This previously posted image of a young wood duck was captured on May 15th of this year.

What a difference two months have made!

Monday, July 20, 2009


The Whitetail’s Velvet glistens in the early morning sunlight

The backlight present in this photograph serves to highlight the short soft hair that gives this material its name. In the background gnats are visible flying about the bucks head. The close-up inset gives a better view of the buck’s left beam end complete with a pesky fly. Most of the features mentioned would not be visible with direct frontal lighting.

Photography is all about light. A totally ordinary scene can be transformed into a thing of beauty simply by changing the angle of lighting. In wildlife photography seldom can the light angle be changed once the wildlife appears, so the expected lighting conditions and wildlife movement must be taken into account when choosing a particular shooting location.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reed Reflections

Reeds growing along the water’s edge reflected by the calm water on a cool July morn.

I really wasn’t sure why I made this shot. The strong lines of the reeds and their reflection drew my attention to this scene. Processing the image into a high contrast B&W accented the qualities that drew me to the image in the first place.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Spot of Blue

Perched on a thistle bloom a tiny butterfly, no larger than a dime, brightened my morning photoshoot with my brother Willard.

Butterfly hunting is usually more productive from late morning on but we were attempting to capture butterflies and bees while the morning dew still wet the flowers.

As the sun rose I noticed that the bee and butterfly activity began picking up as the flowers dried. No large butterfly species were present this morning but a few small specimens and a number of skippers did present us with photo opportunities.

This image was captured with a 400mm lens with a 25mm extension tube. I find the extension tube to be indispensable for butterfly photography as it allow the lens to focus much closer than would be possible otherwise.

For more Critters of all kinds please visit our friend Misty’s Camera Critters Blog and join in with a Critter of your own.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Heron Flight Flash

Having recently acquired a Better Beamer flash extender from Visual Echoes I put it to the test on one of my favorite subjects this morning.

Noticing a flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on marsh grass along the lake shore I approached with the boat after installing the flash extender on my camera along with the 100-400mm lens.

As the boat nosed into a patch of lily pads this Great Blue Heron too flight. I like the effect created by the flash properly exposing the heron while under exposing the background.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid-Summer Bucks

As mid-summer approaches the ripening grass heads are now turning brown in the areas not yet mowed. Meanwhile the whitetail bucks antlers continue to develop at a rapid pace.

By now the bucks have developed their main-beams. For the remainder of their development over the next six to seven weeks the visible growth will occur in the points.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Early Morning Fawn

A young fawn pauses for a moment creating a nice pose for an early morning portrait

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Tender Touch

No wildlife is more endearing to observe than a Whitetail Fawn exploring his big new world.

This little fawn would bounce around checking out its surroundings returning frequently to its mother for a reassuring nuzzle.

For more Critters of all kinds visit our friend Misty’s Camera Critter Blog

Deer & Flies

Each season presents challenges for the Whitetail Deer. In autumn they must avoid hunters. Winter is the time of cold & snow with food sometimes difficult to be found. Does face the problems associated with birthing and predators preying on the newborn fawns during spring.

Summer is the time of insects. Stinging, biting, nagging, annoying insects follow the deer through every moment of every day. Escape cannot even be had at night when the mosquitoes come out in droves and of course the ticks are with them 24/7.

This image was captured in the evening as the shadows were advancing across the meadow. With the deer & flies silhouetted against the sunlit grass the horde of flies became quite apparent. For a better view of the tiny insects mixed in with the larger flies click to enlarge this image.

That the insects bother the deer is quite obvious as the deer are never still for more than a moment; rippling their skin, switching their tails, standing their hair on end, stomping and biting at the offending bugs.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Another First: Red Fox

Recently I was surprised by Red Fox hunting in the meadow behind my home.

I was on the deck when I noticed the fox walking along the edge of the high grass. Believing that the fox would not allow me to retrieve the camera, I observed it hunting for a couple of minutes before slipping inside.

Incredibly the fox stayed in the meadow hunting while I went to the basement grabbing the camera and changing the lens. Upon returning to the deck the fox remained long enough for me to capture a few shots including this leaping shot before disappearing into the high grass.

Although foxes do exist in good numbers in my area seeing one during daylight hours is a rarity, to be able to photograph one, even rarer.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wedding: Selective Color & Monochromes

Amy prepared for the big occasion in a small bathroom made for just one person. I was limited to only two positions, shooting through the doorway and from standing in the bathtub. This shot of Amy applying eyeliner was made through the doorway. A touch of zoom blur improved the overall appearance of the image.

Being an old fashioned girl I think Amy will appreciate the sepia toning applied to this image.

Converting this image to selective color accented the strength of the hands while retaining the colors of the vintage wedding rings.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Testing the Wind

A buck lifts his head; double checking a suspicious scent carried to him by the slight breeze.

This shot taken, in the early morning, was captured at ISO 1600. The high ISO and low light combined to create a somewhat grainy appearance which I feel enhances the colors of the morning light filtering through the ground fog.

Other tasks have taken me away from processing more of the wedding shots but I will be posting a few more in the coming days.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Justin & Amy’s Wedding: Some Creative Shots

The natural props provided by the park setting came in quite handy when setting up the creative shots of the newly wed couple.

The stone wall made a great setting for Justin to hold his new bride in his arms.

While shooting a series of different setting and angles I became concerned that perhaps Justin was tiring but he was game and continued holding Amy for the entire scene.

A tree near the pavilion proved the perfect place for Justin to try to find his girl. My thoughts for this shot were for Justin and Amy to look around opposite sides of the tree at the camera. Justin didn’t understand what I was wanting and instead looked around for Amy making a much better shot than I had envisioned.

Clasping hands on top of a fence post the couple displayed the old rings now uniting a new couple. This scene lent itself well to selective color.

During this, my first wedding shoot, I used the Canon 30D with both 24-105mm and 17-40mm lens topped with a Canon 430EX Speedlight and a Lumiquest pocket bouncer to diffuse the flash.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Amy & Justin’s Special Day

Today Justin and Amy were joined in Holy Matrimony

Some would say that Justin lost his independence on Independence Day but I’m sure that more will agree that instead he gained a beautiful sweet helpmate.

Amy’s ring was a vintage ring from the 1920’s and Justin’s ring was that of his maternal Grandfather.

The ceremony was held at Cowan’s Gap State Park nestled in the picturesque Allan’s Valley of Pennsylvania.

Being an outdoor country girl the setting was perfect for my niece Amy of Ash’s Eye and the scenic beauty of the park provided excellent props for the photo session following the ceremony.

No 4th of July Wedding would be complete without fireworks

Amy & Justin called in the family talent utilizing yours truly for the still photography and her dad Willard of Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer providing video coverage of the day’s events.

More photos of the Wedding will follow in the coming days

Friday, July 03, 2009

Indigo Bunting

Today was my first occasion to capture a male Indigo Bunting

While fishing on my favorite lake I noticed a pair of male Indigo Buntings flit across a small cove and alight in the brush along the shoreline. Aproaching slowly with the boat I was able to manuever for a clear shot of the one stripping grass seeds.

The bird was making short work of filling his crop by grasping the stems below the seeds and stripping the seeds with a quick upward motion.

After only a few shots the Indigo Bunting flew deeper into the surrounding cover leaving me with my first images of yet another beautiful bird species.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pa Summer Mornings

Misty mornings with heavy dew are typical of our summer morning in Pa.

A nice buck pauses from feeding to check his surroundings as daylight slowly washes over the countryside. Shooting with an ISO of 1000 I was able to achieve a 1/100 sec, shutterspeed which was enough to freeze the action of this nearly stationary scene.

Early morning light has a quality not present at any other time of day. When coupled with the mist and dew the images are well worth the effort of getting out well before the sun tops the horizon.