Archive for Poconos

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!

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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!

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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.

Two Eastern Towhees

Posted in Backyard, Bird Photography, Blind, Eastern Towhee, iBird Pro, pipilo erythrophthalmus with tags , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by bobshank

Today I photographed two Eastern Towhees — a male and a female which came to our backyard!

I first spotted a male Towhee yesterday for the first time this year. I actually heard many of their unique calls over the past few weeks but didn’t see one until yesterday. Their call sounds like they are saying, “drink you tea.” I could mimmick the call with my own imitation whistle and repeatedly received a call back.

The Eastern Towhee is basically a large sparrow. The male is mostly black with rusty sides and a white underbelly. Another distinguishing feature is two white corners of its tail. I spotted the red eyes, just as the description states in my iBird app. This description also explains that the name “Towhee” is an imitation of this bird’s call and that a group of Towhees are called a “tangle” or a “teapot” of towhees. (iBird Pro, Eastern Towhee)

Not long after I captured one decent photo of the male Towhee, I saw a female come in to for lunch. It didn’t take long before it snagged a mealworm from a log, which it proudly displayed from it’s tightly clamped beak.

The Eastern Towhee is an active bird with a unique and inviting call. It’s red eye is unmistakable. Listen for its call and look for one the next time you are outdoors. The Towhee is a wonderful bird to watch and photograph!

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!