The old goat seems to have decided he needs to not only eat some hay,but he also chose to take a siesta in the food trough while he was at it. The one young lamb seems to want to call him out on his rude behavior ,but after seeing the horns,he decided to just give him the stare down.It was a bit breezy this day,so maybe the trough gave a little wind relief.
Antlers are covered in velvet as these buck sit face to face in a field. Velvet provides nutrition and growth to deer antlers.This special tissue is a type of skin, loaded with blood vessels and nerves, that regenerates every year. Because deer shed their antlers annually, they need dense and rapid growth of their antlers to occur every year. Antlers are important in distinguishing the strongest and most viable bucks, who will end up mating and passing on their genes.
I was out in search of landscape photos when I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. When you are in the heart of Amish country, you expect cows,sheep,horses and so on, but camels? Not only did I see half a dozen of these creatures in a farm field, but they were eating thistles. Have you ever grabbed a thistle plant? These creatures were gobbling these thorny plants up like they were the most enjoyable delicacy they have ever come across,even though there are fields of delicious sweet corn right behind them. The one on the left can be seen with a thistle plant sticking out of his mouth. I guess when you are used to getting baked by desert sun on a daily basis, eating a thorny thistle is a walk in the park. Temperatures around here are going to hit 90 in the next few days, so they should feel very comfortable. Hopefully they will get to try sweet corn with melted butter and salt before too long.
Had the pleasure of photographing a local home being featured on a garden tour and on the way out I noticed these active little chipmunks feeding on sunflower seeds. The one on the left kept shoving more in his cheeks as the one on the right kept looking for seeds. It got to the point where I almost had to burst out laughing as the little guy had his mouth so full, that I could almost hear him say, no I didn’t see any seeds around here, as seeds trickled out in the process.
Went for a bike ride through a local park recently and noticed this heron by the pond. I slowly walked to within forty feet and thought to myself, maybe I should ride home and get my 500 mm, so that’s what I did and amazingly he was still there 25 minutes later. Started out getting a long distance record shot and progressively inched closer till he allowed this tight shot.
These four horses were very inquisitive as I leaned against the fence post to take their photo. At first they showed little interest, but after I stomped my foot a few times and gave my best horse imitation, they suddenly lined up to see what the commotion was all about. I am not up on horse behavior, but I have seen them stomp the ground as some sort of sign in the past, so I tried it out myself.
As you can see in this photo,Dr Whitey Hoofmeister was hard at work giving adjustments in the barnyard recently. While he is just a young doctor, the skill he displays with his furry hooves is second to none they say. This particular patient needed an adjustment in the lower back after an intense head butting session with a rival. Notice the zen like concentration on the doctors face as he manipulates his client.
Sometimes being the biggest has its disadvantages,as in this instance when the goat uses you like a doormat to get a better angle on a free handout. I spotted this totally unrehearsed scene playing out at an Amish produce stand that included coin operated food dispensers for the barnyard animals. The tourists love the opportunity to experience country life for a brief moment. The donkey did not fuss even one time while the goat rode around on his back, so maybe he was getting a free massage out of the deal.
When it comes to spring, nothing is more adorable than baby ducks. I am not exactly sure what type of duck this is, but blonde mallard is my best guess. Sunny skies provided the perfect opportunity to snuggle around mom for an afternoon siesta. I shot this with a 600 f4 manual telephoto lens at ground level,and had to inch my way close enough to get the shot. No easy feat with a lens that weighs over 14 pounds.
Another shot from the pasture the other day. It was interesting to watch the horses interact with one another. There was a good bit of running, some hoof stomping and even a few powerful kicks to set anyone straight who might not know who the leader was. This black horse had an air of power and grace that set him apart from the others.
I photographed this horse and its foal recently in a local pasture and could not believe my eyes when I saw the youngster repeatedly smack the mom on the head to get her up and walking around. The bottom photo was taken first, and then momma decided to lay down, which did not sit well with junior. The foal seemed very irritated the entire time her mother stayed laying, which was not very long due to repeated hoof blows to the head. Maybe she wanted to romp in the field for a while, or maybe just didn’t think mom deserved a break, but it was funny either way.
This is the resident frog at my mother in laws house who has laid claim to her tiny backyard pond. He has been affectionately named croaker for obvious reasons and my mother in law has almost perfected the mating call that emanates from croaker on a normal night. I used to have a backyard pond as well, and was always amazed how frogs found their way to these small sources of water. For this hand-held shot, I had to all but fall in the pond to get the low angle, but croaker gladly posed as I was about a foot away, and never even flinched.
If you are brave enough that is? These critters would not be something I would normally stop to photograph, but my friend wanted to snap a shot, so I joined in for a few clicks. It appears the bull better tread lightly or he will get a rather pointed attitude adjustment. I have no clue what breed they are,but they were rather unusual for our area.
Sometimes You see things that you just wish you had on video, but unfortunately I can only share a few stills from some shooting today. The scene unfolds in the pasture with photo number one featuring the mature goat being confronted by the new kid on the block, and even though the youngster bobbed his head a few times to show how brave he was , the old-timer backed him up several times just using the evil eye, as if to say, do you feel lucky punk?. As this scenario unfolded, the chickens went running, as if to cackle, oh boy, there is gonna be a fight, we better get over there to watch the new kid get a good beat down, and then photo three has more spectators clamoring to get a good view of the showdown. The youngster finally thought things through, remembered he had no horns yet, and decided he did not need a good bump on his head from the old-timer, so he moved on to challenge more fitting opponents as shown in number four.
Today I realized that even at my age I can actually still learn something new. I picked this image that I shot in the last couple days to post here, and I assumed that since the adult goat had horns, it must be the father. As I was getting ready to write my description for the photo, I thought maybe I will google the possibility of a female goat having horns. Low and behold, they actually can have horns, so this is momma goat leading her three adorable little offspring across the pasture. They had a little episode with the large Llama from yesterdays posting, and for whatever reason that barnyard bully kept antagonizing and chasing the mother goat, so she would give the all hands on deck call to the youngsters, who would follow mom to a spot of protection. It’s interesting how one is white,one black and one a combo.
With warm temperatures making an appearance more frequently, signs of spring are becoming a little more regular throughout the region.This recent shot features a baby goat and a Llama in a local barnyard and I just came up with the title after contemplating what is going through this tiny goats brain. These critters are absolutely hilarious as they get their feet under them and begin to explore their world.I have better shots from this shoot, but wanted to share this one today.
Well this is the time of year when the newborn critters make their appearance, and usually warm weather brings out the playful side in them. These baby goats were full of energy from the warm sun, and a good round of head butting was just what they needed to do to burn off some extra energy. It’s always funny watching them size each other up, and then rise up to give a good smack to the nearest competitor. This was one of those rare times when the recipient was ready to fire back.
I decided to go see what the snow geese situation was this evening, and I was lucky enough to see them take to the air en-masse several times. Several people mentioned that overall numbers may be declining as several weather fronts have come through and many times the birds follow these currents northward. It’s hard to see any detail in this small a photo, but it was great to see hundreds of birds take to the air at once. I shot the image at f8 at a 2000th of a second, and this is only a tiny percentage of the group.
We had a decent amount of rain over the last two days,so my mind started thinking about all the heavy storms we had in the last year, and this image came back to my memory. What appears to be a lake, is actually a field for this herd of goats, and over near the green grass there was a tiny stream that severely overflowed its banks. As the goats were down to their last few feet of pasture, the owners came out with the tractor and cart. They loaded the young ones in the wire cages, and persuaded the nervous parents to follow them to higher ground. It was comical to watch, but the waters were still rising,so they got out at just the right time.
Since we are now into the weekend, I thought maybe its time to share another one of my misadventures near water. That blurred man in the lower photo is me standing on a beach in washington state alongside one of several dozen huge tees washed ashore. My morning started out with my wife and I taking in the beauty along the washington coast, and as you can see, sunny blue skies were in abundance. I said, lets walk all the way down to that island, which you can see in the background of my image, and I calculated it to be only a half hours walk. Well, we walked and walked, rested and walked, and as we get within a hundred yards of the island, you could see a fog bank quickly coming in off the ocean. I thought oh that’s neat, but that was only up until the fog got so thick that you could only see 10 to 20 yards in front of you.
Now in most situations fog would not bother me, but guess what? As soon as that fog hit us, you could literally see the tide starting to come in, and on a normal beach one would just move up on the boardwalk or something similar, but considering the entire length of this beach was strewn with trees that had trunks 10 feet around, it was quite clear,we were not getting over them, and had to get back to the parking lot quickly. I was like a marine corps drill sergeant, telling my wife to keep moving as fast as she could, and carrying all my gear was really wearing me out. We went on and on, and waves were washing ever closer the entire time, and the final straw was realizing the little sign marking the parking area was nowhere to be found in the fog. we had no idea if we passed the lot a half mile ago, or had a half mile to go, UNTIL we saw the lovely bloated dead sea-lion that was washed up right at the path. luckily we noticed this poor creature at the beginning, and I can truly say I was never so glad to see a blob of blubber as I was that day. My heart was just pounding as adrenaline and survival instincts were on high alert.
The calming feather on rounded stones image was taken the same morning, up the road a bit after our little nature hike. The whole ordeal was magnified in my mind as it was happening, because we had read many signs warning about getting trapped in coves etc along the beach at high tide. Just another great memory around the peaceful waters.
The other day I posted an image from my Canadian Rockies photo trip a few years back, and I got to reminiscing about the experience I had at Moraine Lake, which is shown here. As usual I like to travel in the fall, because I thoroughly enjoy the early mornings with frost and the fresh air this time of year, and I always wait till the bitter end to make any sort of reservation. This trip I decided I would stay at the moraine lake lodge with my wife for several days to take in the mountain grandeur, but I was quickly told we were not staying there after hearing it was almost 400 dollars a night. I stood my ground and we stayed one single night in a room with a fireplace looking out at this lake. To me it was worth every penny,as I woke to head out before dawn to shoot under a lovely sunrise.
Let me explain a bit about my one and only trip to a place where you can be the main course on the menu at any moment. When we arrived, there were two nice sized bears in the parking lot roaming around, which gave me reason to ponder my usual early morning escapades. Signs were everywhere to travel in groups of 4 or more, and make lots of noise. Upon checking in, I said I wanted to hike the 30 minutes or so to this lookout to shoot sunrise, and the girl at the desk said you have two options. First was simply sleep in, and the second was to carry a bottle of pepper spray that was about the size of a small fire extinguisher. I opted for the spray, headed out at dark in the morning and was totally alone for at least an hour. I made so much noise going up that trail, hand on the trigger just in case, and a few prayers said along the way. I kept thinking all they will find is my gear, a chewed up pepper spray bottle, and a bear taking a nap. It really was nerve-racking, but the view up here was unbelievable. I have never seen such aqua/turquoise color in water ever. The angle of the rising sun was less than ideal,but it was sweet nonetheless.
The following day we stayed at a B&B in Banff, and the owner showed us his scrapbook of a mountain lion he shot under his porch. The thing was being held under its front legs and was taller than this guy,who was pretty darn tall. Its kind of humorous, because I started seeing signs for mountain lion activity in places we hiked and I would extend my Gitzo tripod legs all the way out,thinking I would whack this thing if it got any bright ideas. Someone said if they are stalking you, you would never know it till they pounce. Nothing gives you a better sense of being alive than to know you are not the king of the mountains and you better tread cautiously.
This image is one that came to mind when a friend called tonight to tell me the geese were starting to arrive in large numbers again in eastern Pennsylvania. For the last several years, tens of thousands of snow geese and tundra swans have made a stop at the Middle Creek Wildlife preserve in eastern Pennsylvania on their way north to the arctic tundra. Depending on the weather conditions, amount of open water on lakes, and other things I have no clue about, their numbers can soar to amazing amounts. The year I shot this photo, The snow geese population was estimated at near 180,000. This image was pure luck and there are so many layers of birds,it is hard to grasp the numbers in such a small image. I had a 44×66 print made of this which is unbelievable to see the birds in every foot of space. I was driving the park road and stopped briefly to get out to watch and an eagle flew over way up in the stratosphere, and because these birds go crazy when a predator is flying, they took to the air just as I started to focus, and I captured birds in every stage of land and air. The Middle Creek website currently lists snow geese at 35,000, and tundra swans at 2,500 and climbing. Early march is usually the peak, and if you are anywhere near eastern Pennsylvania, it would be worth your while to see this yearly spectacle of nature.The blue color in my image comes from a hillside in late day shade. My title is hopefully self-explanatory.