Archive for the Poconos Category

Photo of the Month

Posted in Brandon Leap, Football, High School Football, Lehighton High School, Photo of the Month, Pleasant Valley High School, Pocono Record, Poconos, Sports Photography with tags , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by bobshank

Pleasant Valley v. Lehighton

September’s Photo of the Month was likely to be a football photograph. For one thing, this is the time of year for football. After all, is there any better season than fall, and is there any better season than football season? I think not! We are definitely in the midst of football season!

It is incredible to me, but I still find myself getting butterflies on Friday nights before the games. I certainly did when I played high school football back in the early ’80s, but even now, as I am preparing to photograph a game, I find myself pacing back and forth a little bit and fighting off those nervous butterflies that fly around inside my stomach. Will I capture the moment at the exact right time with my camera? Will the photo be in focus? Will the referee run between my camera and the play? Yep, butterflies are still there flying all around in my stomach. There isn’t a feeling in the world to match it!

Some of my goals for a good, quality football photograph include: 1) the face should be showing in the frame and hopefully the eyes will be visible, 2) the ball should appear in the frame, 3) a special moment or peak action should be captured. This photograph accomplishes all three of these goals. It was a special moment in time captured by a camera so it can be recorded for all time. This to me, is the goal of good, quality photography. It is a worthy pursuit and it keeps me coming back time after time to the field to try to capture another special moment.

The next day, this photo ran six columns wide in the sports section of the Pocono Record.

You can view this new Photo of the Month and previous ones here.

Friday Night Football’s Aerobatic Action

Posted in Acrobatics, Football, Lehighton High School, Pocono Mountain East, Pocono Record, Poconos, Sports Photography with tags , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by bobshank

Lehighton v. Pocono Mountain East

This Friday night’s football game, featuring Lehighton at Pocono Mountain East, included some aerial attacks down field from the quarterbacks. Some amazing acrobatic action ensued!

Many fans enjoy and prefer the passing game. It’s exciting to see a quarterback drop back behind the line of scrimmage and toss a throw to a sprinting receiving. It’s even more awesome when the receiver makes an acrobatic catch! This night had it all: throws, incomplete passes, receptions, and interceptions. What is not to like about all this?

Capturing this in-the-air action with a camera is not always easy. I am sure I’ve missed plenty more than I got with my lens! However, I do believe I am getting more consistent, which is imperative when working as a freelance stringer for the local newspaper; in my case, the Pocono Record. It is crucial to get some action shots that might be deemed worthy of print by the editor. Football players jumping high into the air to catch a ball is one of the money shots. Get the ball in the shot as the players are in the air and you’ve got a chance. Oh wait, did you remember to get good focus? What about the composition of the photograph? Is your exposure right? These are hard enough to manage on a sunny day; now try to accomplish them at night under high school stadium lights! (I just have to get a new camera!!! In my case, I am dreaming about, hoping for, and trying to save my pennies for a Nikon D4! This camera is newer than mine and boasts some incredible high ISO shooting for these low-light conditions. Anyone willing to offer me a loan?)

I am passionate about sports photography and I live for this challenge to capture the action in the air!

My next game is tomorrow night and I can’t wait to have a crack at it again!

High School Football Kickoff

Posted in Football, High School, Nazareth, Pleasant Valley, Pocono Record, Poconos, Sports Photography with tags , , , , on August 31, 2013 by bobshank

FB20130830-1137The High School football season kicked off last night in the #Poconos . I attended the Pleasant Valley v. Nazareth match up. Excitement was in the air well before the kickoff as fans drove and walked to the stadium, some bringing their back-supporting chairs for the bleachers. The bands’ music added to the excitement. The crowd was filled with excitement and enthusiasm for the first game of the season!

The above photo was printed in today’s Pocono Record, our local newspaper here in the #Poconos . I work as a stringer for the Pocono Record and enjoy photographing sports, which is one of my passions. There is something exhilarating about being on the field on a Friday night! It brings back many fond memories of my days of playing high school football and now I get to capture the action on the field with my cameras!

FB20130830-1161

The anticipation rose to a crescendo as the two teams were announced and ran onto the field through banners held by the cheerleaders. Then the players stood at attention as the Star Spangled Banner was played by the home band. The kickoff to open the game and the new season was greeted with cheers and the game was under way!

The Blue Eagles attacked first by putting up 6 points after a missed extra point. Then they struck again by tacking on another touchdown, this time with a successful extra point. The game was 13-0 going into halftime.

Nazareth's Marion Johnson receives a pass in the first half against PV.

The visiting band of Pleasant Valley took the field at halftime to put on a show that maintained the enthusiasm of the crowd on this opening night to the football season. The opposing band cheered loudly at times in support of the band on the field. Trumpets blared and drums kept steady beat as the band marched across the field.

Pleasant Valley v. Nazareth, 8/30/2013

The second half started with as much enthusiasm as the first. The teams rushed onto the field and the kickoff ensued. Nazareth received the kickoff this time and ran the field to score a TD on the opening play of the second half and went up by three touchdowns. PV could have rolled over. Instead, they put up 9 points of their own.

By the end of the game the players were showing some battle wounds and the final score was 31-9 in favor of Nazareth. Players and fans exited the stadium through the gates. The first game of the new season was complete!

PV's Austin Borre looks for daylight in the opener against Nazareth.

The Brown-Headed Cowbird

Posted in Backyard, Bird Photography, Blakeslee, Blind, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Molothrus ater, Poconos with tags , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by bobshank

I observed another new bird at our backyard feeder today. I was photographing out of my blind again and this bird just came in and landed on the deck railing. It has a brown head with an all-black body. After clicking a few shots it flew down to the ground and started eating seed that had fallen from the feeder. Then a similar looking female joined in the action.

It turns out that this bird is called the Brown-Headed Cowbird. What a name! I love it!

This bird typically walks on the ground to find food and often holds its tail over its back while it is foraging. Diet consists of insects, fruits, grains, and seed. It is found in Pennsylvania throughout the year. The female does not sport the brown head but is all an off-gray color.

Broken Beak

Posted in Backyard, Bird Photography, Blakeslee, Broken Beak, Cardinal, Poconos, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by bobshank

I am sure many birds show the wear and tear of daily living, but this Cardinal caught my attention with what looks to me like a bit of a broken beak!

We’ve been watching a pair of cardinals coming to our feeder over the past month and we enjoy seeing these red beauties. Their color is bright and brilliant!

But look at his beak. Doesn’t it look to be broken on his left side? At the very least it is well-worn from breaking open a lot of seeds.

Here’s another perspective. Look at that beak!

First Attempt at Backyard Bird Photography

Posted in Backyard, Bird Photography, Black-Capped Chickadee, Cardinal, Poconos, Wildlife Photography with tags , , , , on March 21, 2012 by bobshank

My kids think I’m nuts. I have white pvc pipe wired to the hand railing on our back deck with stick perches stuck through holes in the plastic. Not the most attractive accessories for humans, I suppose, but the birds in our backyard love them!

I tried my first serious attempt of photographing the backyard birds on our property. These photos will probably get as much support as the perches on my deck, but they show the meager beginnings of what might be possible. Equipped with camera and lens mounted to my tripod and all inside a camo blind, I sat and photographed birds and a squirrel for over 1 1/2 hours. It was a blast!

I learned a few important lessons on this first outing and I will definitely make some readjustments before my next backyard shoot, but I have to say that I was thrilled to be able to have so much action just a few short steps out my back door! I photographed at least 8 different species of birds plus the squirrel. I saw more birds who just didn’t quite cooperative or were a little camera-shy. Over all, it was a great experience and I am sure to be back there again very soon!

I am fortunate to live in the Poconos of northeast Pennsylvania, so the wildlife is abundant where I live. I live on a road named “Yellowstone” which isn’t bad either! All-in-all, I am very happy to be able to engage in wildlife photography right in my backyard. I tend to think most people can actually do this no matter where they live. A bird feeder and some perches are all it takes. Give it a try yourself!

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!