Archive for December, 2010

Some Things are Changing and Some Things Remain the Same

Posted in Bull, Elk County, New Year, Pennsylvania Elk, Photography, Poconos, Reflection, Voice, Wildlife on December 28, 2010 by bobshank

I enjoyed watching the old television series, “Wild America.” It was a weekly half-hour show that featured some animal or place related to the wild outdoors here in America. Not long ago, I caught some re-runs on television that brought back the fond memories of watching this show when I was much younger. I also enjoyed the old series, “Grizzly Adams.” I remember my uncle telling me that wild animals are not as tame as Ben, the grizzly bear of that show. But to me it was one of the few shows that pertained to the outdoors, where I loved to spend my time!

This past week I read in our local newspaper that John Serrao, a local naturalist here in the Poconos is moving away from the Poconos to Florida. His newspaper column always talked about some wild topic of the Poconos. He also led nature walks and helped to educate us on the wild-side of the Poconos. His newspaper articles and outdoor presence will be dearly missed!

This time of the year, with the fast-approaching New Year’s Eve celebration, often turns my thoughts to how things change. Some of this change is sad to me, like the passing of fond experiences turned into mere memories. I can be nostalgic at times, but I also believe that the passing of time reveals some consistency in our lives and even in the outdoors. While some people and television series come and go, the outdoors has a regular consistency to it. The sun comes up on schedule and the moon phases are just as predictable. The wild creatures still demand our respect and admiration, while continuing to need advocates at the same time. The people who fight for outdoor causes may have different names tomorrow than they do today, but their presence and voice will still be very much needed!

The land changes, too. Properties are bought and sold. Some land is developed and the landscape changes for the wild creatures inhabiting it. Some land is scarred for a season or two, and then is sometimes reclaimed to bring it back in line with the needs of animals. Food plots are constructed and some land is reverted back into wild habitat. Some species bounce back to amazing numbers while others are at risk of being lost forever.

Yes, some things are changing and some things remain the same.

Today I am posting an image of a Pennsylvania elk I captured years ago on our property in Elk County. It depicts the majestic elk in the foreground with a cross standing at attention in the background. It seems, to me at least, to show the connection between different times or eras. And in both times there needed to be a voice to share the important news with the people. The brutal crucifixion of Jesus and his miraculous resurrection as good news to be sure! Ever since, the cross has represented those events and still speaks volumes today in a voice of grace. In a different way, the animals in nature need to have a voice, too. They cannot speak with human words but their amazing existence and their continuing needs also yearn for a voice to be heard.

I am just a photographer trying to give voice to the creatures I love and enjoy seeing in the wild around me. Perhaps these photographs will help to at least give a voice of awareness to these beautiful creatures. After all, while some things are changing, at least one thing remains the same–the beautiful wild creatures need to be seen and heard!


End of Year Madness!

Posted in Computer, Digital Photography, Drobo, Networking, Photography, Printing, Sports Photography, Wildlife Photography on December 26, 2010 by bobshank

Well, we are just about ready to say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011. Can you believe it?

Looking back over the past year, I have assembled some great photographic memories. Some are recorded for posterity in digital format, some of which you can see on my website. Other memories are etched in my mind and consists of terrific shots missed or great people I’ve met over the past year. 2010 has been a photographic blast for me!

In this end-of-season madness, I find myself doing some things that are important. I just upgraded my old wireless network router to a 300Mbps N Gigabit router. The main problem I was having on my network were IP address conflicts and slow speeds. I hope the new router will rectify these annoying problems. Upgrading equipment is important. I still have about 500 GB of empty space on my Drobo, so  an additional hard drive is on the short order list. I am still working on the Photoshop CS5 learning curve, which is pretty steep and will take me some time but will be well worth the effort.

All photo print orders have been fulfilled and it was a good year for me. I continue to learn the ins and outs of the photo business, which is exhilarating for me. Sometimes I stumble and fall, but most people are patient and a complete pleasure to work with. I am learning to streamline the process and am now able to offer more product services than a year ago.

And, of course, I continue to take time behind the viewfinder–my most favorite place to be these days, especially outdoors on a wildlife or sports shoot. Moments spent with the camera are “precious and few” to quote an old song.

I am excited to discover what the New Year will reveal for me photographically. I am looking forward to new opportunities and new learning!

Yes, 2010 was a great year, but I believe 2011 is going to be even better!


Do It Now or Do It Later – But Do It!

Posted in Digital Photography, Editing Photos, Facebook, Keyword, Photo Tips on December 17, 2010 by bobshank

Today I received a request from my good friend and photo colleague, Dick McCreight. He wanted me to send a photo of him to add to this Facebook page. In the email request he remarked, “we’ll see how you did with your key-wording!”

Well, I did have some keywords marked for my photos, but not nearly enough. So I just spent some time doing some keywording. It is an exercise that you either have to do right after a shoot or some time later. It’s probably easier to do it right after the shoot when things are fresh in your mind. However, if you are like me, there isn’t always time to do it right away.

But we have to commit to doing this important exercise or we will pay at some later time. Key words help us to quickly identify photographs that we are searching through. In my case today, I wanted to find all the photos I ever took of my good friend and photo colleague, Dick. I had some keyworded but not all of them. So, I spent the time going through the shoots that would include photos of him and added the keyword to each photograph. Now when I filter in Lightroom I can see all the photos of Dick.

Do it now, do it later, but be sure to keyword!

Sunset Skies

Posted in Elk County, Landscape, Mountains, Sunset, Winslow Hill on December 13, 2010 by bobshank

I like sunsets.

I’d like sunrises more, too, if they didn’t happen so early in the morning! Actually, I do get up to photograph sunrises when I am at the beach and other locations that provide beautiful sunrises. It’s just that where I live there are mountains all around so the sun rises later and is already too bright.

This sunset was captured in Elk County looking out from the front of our cabin. It’s one of my favorite scenes to observe and this sunset was awesome. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but I do like this photo anyway.

I always like to say, “There’s no place like the mountains.” And scenes like this only prove this to be the case. I love the mountains!


Small Bull in the Snow

Posted in Bull, Elk County, Medix Run, Pennsylvania Elk, Snow, Wildlife Photography on December 9, 2010 by bobshank

On my last day of my recent two-week vacation, I found three small bulls hanging out together. As is typical, I saw them as I was beginning my drive home, but I had my camera and tripod at the ready so I could take a few minutes to snap a few photos.

I like photos of the elk in the snow because it really brings out the contrast in the hide of these majestic animals. This bachelor group was just beyond Medix Run on the Quehanna Highway. They were a little nervous about my presence at first, but as usual eventually warmed up to my presence and accepted me taking their photographs.

This bull was the biggest of the three, as the other two were just spikes. But they will all be bigger next year!

Bull 2D

Posted in Bull, Digital Photography, Elk County, Pennsylvania Elk, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Photoshop, Wildlife Photography on December 8, 2010 by bobshank

We saw this bull several times during the rut this year. He is magnificent in many ways. Just look at his antlers!

As a photographer I would prefer him not having that collar around his neck. It just seems far too distracting to me and I don’t even have to wear it! I understand,  however, that it helps the Pennsylvania Game Commission track the elk and assist in the herd size estimations. I further realize that I could spend the time in Photoshop to carefully remove the collar from the photograph, but I am far too influenced by my college training in journalism to feel right about doing that. So, I resort to documenting these elk just as they are–collars and all. After all, part of our joy of photography also serves as a type  of documentation of the elk herd here in Pennsylvania.

I like this image for several reasons. The bright blue sky provides an awesome background, as I mentioned yesterday. I also like how the bull appears to stand out and almost pop off the screen. Those antler aren’t bad either. And, to a degree, I even like that I can readily read the number and letter “2D” on this bull’s collar. It clearly shows exactly which bull this is among the herd.

What do you think about all this?

What a Blue Sky!

Posted in Bull, Lennie Rue III, Pennsylvania Elk, Skyline, Wildlife Photography on December 7, 2010 by bobshank

I was driving up onto the top of Winslow Hill looking for elk as is my typical routine. This time the elk were not close by, but I spotted a sizable herd on the side of the Saddle. There was only one option in my mind–drive to the bottom of Dewey Road past the Gilbert Farm, park my truck in the lot, and hike up to photograph these magnificent creatures!

So that’s exactly what I did. I even remember thinking to myself, “should I come in above them or from below?” Then it hit me. The sky was a brilliant blue and the words of Lennie Lee Rue III came crashing into my head: “Whenever possible, try to “skyline” an animal. Photographs of an animal standing on the top of a hill against a bright blue sky have tremendous impact.” (How to Photograph Animals in the Wild, Dr. Leonard Lee Rue III and Len Rue, Jr., p. 128-129)

I made this decision quickly and found myself making my way steadily in the direction of where I knew the elk herd was located. Before long I saw the body of a bull elk with his antlers protruding into the bright blue sky! I was in the right location and just needed to be sure not to frighten the elk. I knew there were plenty of other elk just over the ridge, but this one had my full attention!

I believe this photograph is one example of Lennie Lee Rue III’s rule #5 from his “Tips on Wildlife Photography.” Thank you, Dr. Rue, for your inspiration and for teaching me this wonderful photographic rule.

What do you think of this photograph?