Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pennsylvania Elk Time

Canon 7D, Canon 300 f2.8 @f4 1/1600 ISO640

Joan and I spent last weekend looking for Elk and other wildlife in the benezett Pa area.  It is also a joy to go there and view elk.  This past weekend brought rain for part of Friday and most of saturday.  That did not hamper us as we have found that some of the best lighting for wildlife is during the rain or just after a rain.  It requires the use of fast lenses and sometimes elevated ISO, but the contrast and color saturation is superb.  We saw quite a few different mature bulls, but none as large as some previous years as most of them have been "harvested".   There was still some rut activity. We walked back away from the roads and viewing areas to find the bigger groups of elk and the larger bulls.  We were able to get a number of good images of the above bull who walked with a distinct limp.  Looks like his right front leg had been hurt.

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @ f9 1/400 ISO1250

Canon 7D; Canon 300 f2.8 @ f4 1/400 ISO320

Canon 7D; Canon 300 f2.8 @ f4.5 1/500 ISO320

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @ f6.3 1/1250 ISO1250

This next one was taken in the driving rain and hail-water was running off the camera rain cover and i could barely see-I am pleased with how the image turned out.
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @ f4 1/320 ISO2000

The next image was also taken in hard wind and driving rain.
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @ f4 1/250 ISO2000

I have been experimenting with a new mounting system for my 600 f4 lens on the wimberley.  I was previously disappointed with the number of keepers I would get at slower shutter speeds.  A friend and I analyzed the long lenses and believe they have too much cantilevered weight so we designed and built new feet for the lenses that support the lens in two places.  It has made a dramatic impact on keeper rate at low shutter speeds. 

Until next Time!!!
Jim Borden

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Maine Moose and Maine Scenery

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f13 1/15 ISO 200 -1EC

Joan and I traveled to Northern Maine again on September 30 to spend a few days looking for Moose and enjoying the foliage with friends Bob Adamowicz and Rosamaria Rezende. Friday evening was wonderful weather-it was calm, some of the foliage had started to turn and the skies had cumulus clouds with a dark blue background.  We stopped at the Abol Bridge that crosses the West Penobscot River along the Golden Road.  The hour there before sunset was breathtaking. The image above accurately reflects what we saw before the sun started sinking behind the mountains behind us. The skies became more dramatic as the sun sank behind us and HDR images had to be taken to get the full range of light.

5 image HDR Composite taken with Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f13 

5 image HDR Composite taken with Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f13

Saturday morning brought the beginning of rain that lasted through Wednesday morning of our trip. The rain does not spoil picture taking-it just adds a challenge to the lighting. Friend and mentor Mark Picard ( says there is no such thing as a bad day photographing-a good photographer just has to figure out how to photograph it.  We walked to a very popular pond in Baxter Park to watch for moose, but only got to enjoy the beauty of lifting fog and some Golden Eye Ducks. 

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f7.1 1/300  ISO320 and Better Beamer

The moose were involved in the rut and were not using the ponds very much and seemed to be deeper in the woods.  We heard some and called some in that stayed just out of the open.  We also had coyotes come to the moose calling.  We took a walk to a pond not frequented by many people and found a large bull laying in the brush across the pond.  His antlers were just protruding above the brush.

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f6.3 1/2000 ISO2000

We watched quietly for about 2 hours until he decided to stand and we were then able to get a few images of him eating and got some of him looking our way. This is when knowing animal behavior and habits is helpful. getting a sharp image of him in the cloudy light with a low shutter speed required watching his movements and knowing when his head would come to a stop.

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f8 1/320 ISO1250

We saw two more smaller bulls later that day as well as what I am quite sure was a wolf. I will probably be heavily discounted for that remark-but I have seen a number of coyotes and wolves in the wild and what I saw was definitely 50% larger than the largest coyote I have ever seen and certainly had wolf characteristics.  I will be looking for him or her again on another trip.

In contrast to the still waters of Friday evening we decided we would like to get some foggy images of the "Cribworks" which is a favorite white water spot along the Penobscot River.

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 24-105 f4 @24mm f13 1/8 ISO200

We had to get back to work so we cut our trip a few days short. We stopped at one of our favorite stopping place on the way home-Nubble light house and were able to get some seascapes. I was also photographing Eider ducks and decided to use the 600MM lens for seascape to focus on the detail of the crashing tide.

Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @ f10 1/800 ISO200 -.67EC
Canon 1D MK IV; Canon 600 f4 @f8 1/3200 ISO640

Until next time

Jim Borden