Category Archives: Wildlife

You can do it!

Sea lion attempting jump


While in Cabo we took an excursion out to the arches. On the way there we passed this huge rock totally covered with sea lions! This one was fighting the waves, attempting to jump onto the rock. To me it looked as if the sea lion above is saying, “Come on, you can do it.” I didn’t get to see if it made it up on the rock since out boat continued further into the Pacific. But I like to think it did.

Sometimes we need to encourage our friends more often to help them get through whatever it is they are struggling with in their life. A couple of my friends are hurting and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. However, I can be there for them, I can encourage, I can listen, I can check in on them just to say hello, and let them know I’m thinking of them. Let them know this tough time won’t last.

~ melissa michelle

Great Falls National Park, VA USA

Great Falls, VA


Last weekend I visited Great Falls National Park in Virginia. It was raining on the way there; however, upon arriving the rain stopped and I was able to get the camera out for a little while. It was an awesome shoot with the great blue herons. I almost forgot I was there to photograph the waterfalls!

Here’s one of the photos I took. I hope to get to more later and post them soon. I still haven’t processed all the photos from Cabo yet . . . I’ll get there.

Today I spent time hiking with a friend of mine. But before the hike and the rain, I took some more photos. I make time for what’s important. Do you?

~ melissa michelle


Pelican big mouth

Pelican scratching an itch

Pelican – big yawn


These were taken in Cabo at a marina we visited for the shopping mall nearby. It was fun to capture this pelican putting on a little show for me and the camera. Of course even though we went there to shop I still took my camera.

People say I’m a good photographer and while there is some skill involved, you also have to take your camera with you. Being at the right place, at the right time, but also being prepared makes for great photo opportunities.

So whatever your hobby, be prepared, have your gear with you all the time, and practice!

~ melissa michelle

More photos from Cabo San Lucas and the Pacific

Humpback whale breaching

Water over the rocks


Here are a couple more photos that I took while on vacation. I don’t have a lot of time to write this evening. Why is it that the work day goes slow but my evenings go by so quickly?

The photo above is of the same whale breaching. It certainly was a fun creature to photograph.

The other photo is of the shoreline near the resort where we stayed. It was very rocky and when the water flowed over the rocks it made little waterfalls. And y’all know how I love to photograph waterfalls!

I’ll post more photos as I get them processed. I hoping to have more time this weekend.

I will leave you with one thought – do a random act of kindness this weekend. Believe me, it will make a difference in that person’s life!

~ melissa michelle

Photo excursion in Cabo San Lucas

Humpback whale


Hello! I’m sorry I’ve been away for a while – I just got back from vacation / photo excursion to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was a wonderful trip with my beau! I got to try snorkeling (more on that later), I was up early to photograph the sunrise in the Sea of Cortez, went on a sunset cruise around the famous arches (photos to come), and we saw sea lions and this humpback whale.

I love photographing wildlife and nature. I’m happy outside with my camera. I was so excited with my beau spotted this whale. Soon after the captain also saw it and he got us a little closer. My 400mm lens did the rest of the work. Well, I did some work too – it was very windy and bumpy in the water and that lens weighs about 4.5 pounds so holding myself steady against the rail and photographing this magnificent beast was a challenge. But oh the benefits!

I’ll share more photos and my adventures with you this week. But for now, this will have to do! I’m a busy girl! However, life is so good!

Find something you’re passionate about and go after it!

~ melissa michelle


Wildlife: Elk

Bull Elk & cow on top of hill

Bull Elk & cow on top of hill

Bull Elk in the wild flowers

Bull Elk in the wild flowers

Elk eating dinner

Elk eating dinner


This weekend I was out of town (again) – this time visiting Elk County in Benezette, PA (near St. Marys). It was an awesome time! We got there in time to hike a little bit before dusk and spotted a bull elk with his cows. The first and third photos were taken Saturday evening. It was not really my intention to get a silhouette but it turned out that way. Pretty neat. The middle photo was taken today – a handsome bull elk among the wild flowers.

I very much enjoy taking day / weekend trips to see wildlife and visit other places. We live in a beautiful country, folks. Get out there and enjoy it!

~ melissa michelle

When you least expect it . . . hard work pays off

Barred Owl

Barred Owl


So I was at work and one of the guys came in from the plant and asked if I had my camera with me. It’s very rare that I don’t. He said there’s a owl in the building. Of course I ran right out to photograph it. According to my research this is a barred owl. I think it’s beautiful – the eyes are incredible.

I wasn’t planning to photograph an owl but I was prepared. You never know when something may present itself, an opportunity to take advantage.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I started school – an online course (you’re never too old to learn new things)! So my photography has taken a back seat. I recently renewed the website here to keep the domain going. I love photograph and enjoy sharing it and I will try to do so as much as possible. My favorite time of year is has started and I can’t wait to get out there shooting the fall colors!

Some people say I’m lucky / fortunate because I get some great shots. They don’t see how many hours I’ve practiced, that I lug my camera everywhere just in case, and the lessons I’ve learned missing many shots before I finally got it right. I’m not lucky. I’m prepared. I put myself in the right places. And I work hard. That’s what makes me good!

~ melissa michelle

Following my gut feeling . . . .

Family reunion

Family reunion – two juveniles and an adult eagle

I believe the eagle flying in is last year's hatch & one on the log was born this year

I believe the eagle flying in is last year’s hatch & one on the log was born this year


So this morning I had a feeling that I needed to get out with my camera. I didn’t know why, just this gut feeling pulling me to get out there. I decided to head to Sandy Lake and was not disappointed! I knew where this one nest was located so I thought just maybe I could catch some eagles nearby.

Adult eagle with juvenile eating a fish

Adult eagle with juvenile eating a fish

When I first got to the site, I noticed the adult eagle right away. It was on the ground there to the right. I kept hearing an eagle crying / screeching but didn’t see the juvenile at first. Then I realized what was happening – the baby was on the log eating a fish and screeching at the adult for some reason. After it finished the fish, another juvenile appeared so that’s when I took the second shot above. It was so awesome to see them all together like that!

Soon after the adult left so did the fish eating juvenile. So I watched the other juvenile for a while. When it took off I followed it with the camera. Much to my surprise, a great blue heron came into focus in front of the juvenile eagle!!!!

Juvenile eagle chasing a great blue heron

Juvenile eagle chasing a great blue heron

It was pretty awesome to see AND capture the two of them in flight! I was so excited. I have no idea where the blue heron was located – all I know is that it came into the camera and I snapped away. I’m not sure where it went after that but it was fun to see!

So my gut told me to get out there with my camera. And that’s what I did! For my entire life, every time I followed my gut it was right. And, every time I did not follow my gut, it was still right. There’s a lesson there people.

~ melissa michelle

Respect nature

Baby great horned owls

Baby great horned owls


Wow, what a great find – baby great horned owls. Momma was nearby but very well hidden by many tree limbs so I couldn’t photograph her. These two have left the nest they outgrew. You can almost make out the face of the one. And it was okay that I didn’t get that perfect shot of them facing me. I didn’t have much time as I was on my lunch hour with a co-worker who told me about these cuties.

The are was taped off asking / warning people to stay on the trail and not approach the owls. With a nice lens or binoculars you can see them well enough from the trail. I don’t understand why people have to go up to wildlife and get all in their faces, in their habitats. I would love to capture that all elusive photo with a fantastic animal (like the coyote in Yellowstone, used a long lens and got the great photo) every single time I’m out in nature. But I absolutely won’t do that at the risk of intruding on wildlife.

Okay, off my soapbox. Enjoy nature people. Get out there for some fresh air and you just might see some wildlife.

~ melissa michelle

Spending time in nature


I had a few hours to myself Sunday and spent it at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The weather was very nice and the sun brighten my spirits a bit. I managed to photograph this juvenile eagle taking off from a branch near where I was walking (of course he saw me first and I think I startled it away):

Juvenile eagle taking off

Juvenile eagle taking off

It’s not the best photo but the point is that I had a breakthrough on this photo shoot. When I got to the park I took a few practice shots to set up my camera – totally in Manual mode. That means I set up all the parameters for shooting. I didn’t leave anything up to the camera. I’ve never been brave enough or I didn’t think I was good enough to figure it all out. Well, I proved myself wrong.

After this eagle took off, I spent a moment watching it soar to see where it would land again. But then all of a sudden I had a sense, a feeling. I slowly turned directly opposite of where I was watching the eagle and look what I saw:

Deer at Maurice K. Goddard State Park

Deer at Maurice K. Goddard State Park

I think there were half a dozen deer behind me. I think we both noticed each other at the same time. I had just a second to get the camera up and shoot this photo just as they were running away. It was an amazing capture. But I had forgotten, nor did I have time, to change my settings. However, since I was shooting in all RAW format (another new thing for me on this shoot as I normally shoot both jpg and raw), I was able to use editing software to save the photo. I lighten it up a bit and the photo shown here was the result.

I was so in awe with the fact that I sensed the deer behind me! I have learned to become more observant in nature. And it’s pretty exciting! I love all the things I’m seeing out there. Nature is a beautiful place.

My brother is spending the next 6 months in nature hiking the Appalachian Trail. What a great adventure he’s traveling and I’m so excited for him. I wish me and my camera could join him! But alas, I must live vicariously through him.

So plan a day away if you can. Observe what’s around you. One of my mantra used to be, “Sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath and look around.” My college girlfriends can attest me saying that often to them!

~ melissa michelle