Trip to the Philly Zoo

 

Western Lowland Gorilla

Western Lowland Gorilla

Went on a bus trip to Philadelphia yesterday with my wife Kat and friends Phil and Ruth. Decided not to lug a bunch of photo gear and just try to come up with a couple of cool images with my D300 and an old 28-85 zoom, not prime zoo photography gear. I was wishing for a long lens a few times, but I think I came up with a couple of decent images anyway.

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Spending time with the bees

I woke up this morning to an absolutely beautiful day. As I sat on the back porch drinking my coffee, I noticed the bumble bees were busy collecting pollen from our cone flowers.

When I first started shooting photos, many, many years ago, nature, including bugs, was my main focus. I spent countless hours crawling through the local parks shooting photos of dragonflies and birds. I had dreams of becoming a world renown wildlife photographer like Frans Lanting but I quickly realized that being a nature photographer was a very difficult way of making of living and gave up my pursuit and became a news photographer instead.

I have to admit, technology has made close-up photography incredibly easy compared to 25 years ago when I had to work around a set ISO (usually Fuji 50), had to determine exposure, depth of field, use difficult calculus and physics to set up my manual flashes, and run cords to everything.

This morning, I sat my Nikon D7000 on my tripod (the same Bogen I started with back in 1987), attached my AFS80-200 lens, put two SB800 flashes on stands, set them to TTL wireless, and fired away.

Bucket fish

Saturday is the opening day of trout season in York County. Opening day is almost a holiday. Fishermen, women and children will don tall rubber boots, bundle up in warm clothes and wade into their favorite stream to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other fisher people trying to catch a fish that has been dumped, unceremoniously into the creek from a bucket.

For those who know me, I am an avid trout fisherman, but I haven’t taken part in opening day for at least five years, maybe more, the only reason I have in the past 15 or so was for my kids. I prefer fishing wild mountain streams alone or with a close friend or two. I love wild trout, no ugly stocked fish with missing fins and flat noses for me. And never, ever will you catch me with worm or corn baiting my hook.

But yet, for some reason I always get assigned to get a photo to promote the first day of trout season. In years past I’ve done multi-media pieces about bamboo rod builders and behind the scenes at the trout hatchery. I’ve gone to streams open year-round and photographed fly-fisherman catching and releasing wild trout. I’ve made countless photos of people buying fishing gear at the local sporting goods stores. This year I just got lucky and received an email about a last-minute trout stocking that featured a dozen or more kids dumping stockies into Beaver Creek.

IT’S SPRING!

Welcome to the first day of spring!  It’s been a long 30 days, well actually a few less because for some reason I thought the first day was March 21, but it doesn’t matter because winter is over!

Found a couple things that really show spring, young lovers and cherry blossoms. For some reason, a few local cherry trees are blooming more than a month early, maybe the recent 78 degree day fooled them. The young lovers is just a grab shot I got during a brief visit at a local park.

Spring is here and love is in the air!!

Think Spring! Day 7

Day 7 brings us warming temperatures and blue skies. Decided to get in a short hike this morning, my first of the year. Went to Rocky Ridge County Park and did about 2 miles in 30 minutes, that’s a pretty brisk pace for the first hike of the season. It felt great!  The air is still cool but the sun is warm and recent rains have the spring creeks flowing.

 

Think Spring! Day 9

Yesterday had me following up on the flooding situation along the Susquehanna River. Parked and started walking down River Drive when I came across these daffodils hanging their heads, waiting for the sun to dry and warm them. First outside flowers of the year for me. I hear down south the bradford pears are blooming, can’t wait!

On a related note, HERE is a good article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about spring wildflowers

Think Spring! Days 11 and 10

I’ve missed a few days on my quest of the 30 days till spring. This week has been difficult with the death of a loved family member and other assorted things that keep us from doing what we had planned.

Yesterday I spent much of the day looking for good images of the result of 2 or more inches of rain in 24 hours. Local creeks and streams are running high and muddy and the Susquehanna River is expected to crest at 54 feet, well above the 49 foot flood stage.

All that said, I really had a hard time finding any really decent images. This is one of my favorites.

My Day 10 photo is something that really gets me excited for the arrival of spring.  As an avid fly fisherman, I am always on the lookout for good bug hatches and the flooding waters of the Susquehanna River are causing the little black stoneflies to hatch in clouds. The little blacks are always the first hatch of the season so as soon as the water recedes, I’ll be back on the streams hunting wild trout!

Think Spring! Day 14

After covering a women’s lacrosse game at York College, I decided to head to Lake Williams to try for a sunset shot now that all the ice is gone. As luck would have it, the sunset was beautiful and the evening was topped off by a young man who arrived at the lake to practice his bagpipes for a bit.

Click HERE to see the video