Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter with the hope of Spring

Southern Pennsylvania remains locked in winter.
The above image is a ten image pano shot vertically with a Canon 6D, 600mm f4 IS USM, stitched and processed with PS CS5.

But the hope of spring can be seen in the mountain laurel buds waiting for the first warm days.

And in the increased strutting of the local wild turkey gobblers.

  While we experienced the coldest temperatures of the winter during the past week, in just a few short weeks spring will be bursting forth with new life.  I can hardly wait!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mood Swings: Eastern Wild Turkey

Some birds change plumage for different seasons.  Many species change their appearance considerable between breeding and non-breeding plumage.  The eastern wild turkey gobblers do not change plumage however they most certainly do change appearance when the mood strikes them.
A Eastern Wild Turkey gobbler stares down the lens. 
Some of the gobbler's bright colors can be seen in this capture. 
But it is only when a gobbler is in full strut that he fully displays his patriotic colors.

The blurry forms of other gobblers can be seen in the background of this close-up shot.

Although we are now experiencing the coldest temperatures of the winter, the gobblers are already anticipating the upcoming spring mating season.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unexpected Encounter

With winter fully upon us the creek that borders two sides of the family farm has frozen sufficiently that it is mostly safe for walking.  I took advantage of the ice conditions yesterday to hike along one side of our farm looking for photo opportunities. 
The perspective one gets from walking on the water is quite different than what is available most of the year.

And the frozen water lends a different look to the scene as well.
As I was taking this walk looking for landscape shots and not wanting to be burdened down with heavy gear, I was carrying a Canon EOS 6D with a 24-105mm lens attached.  With that outfit I was unprepared for what was to happen next.

As I approached a small area of open rapids I noticed a small animal swimming in the water.  At first glance I thought muskrat but a moment later as it pulled itself out on the ice I could see that it was mink!  Now mink are not uncommon in my area but seeing one certainly is as they are a very secretive animal.  As the mink hadn't seemed to have noticed me I continued moving its way as it hurried along the shoreline towards me, searching for a meal.  While the smooth ice allowed me to walk quietly I was surprised that the mink as so engrossed with checking the shoreline that it didn't notice me walking towards it with no cover whatsoever.  I was able to get to within about forty feet of it before the ice cracked under my weight, making a hollow booming sound as the pressure crack seemed to run the length of the ice sheet.

With that the mink took notice of me and after staring me down for a moment wheeled, ran to the open water, and slipped in.  The encounter was over as quickly as it had began leaving me with both memories and images of a rare sighting in the Pennsylvania Outdoors.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Two Photos, Forty Years

Today, while passing through a nearby dirt road I was drawn to the stark beauty of the old snag standing in a windswept pasture.

Forty years ago on a bright spring morning I photographed this very same fruit tree loaded down with blossoms.