Monthly Archives: September 2015

Beautiful wood ducks in flight

Wood ducks in flight

Wood ducks in flight

Wood duck on the pond

Wood duck on the pond

09.29.2015

This past Sunday evening was the total lunar eclipse. It was too cloudy in my part of the world to get a shot. I saw the “blood moon” for like a minute and then it was gone. But it’s okay. You can’t fight Mother Nature.

I’m glad I was able to capture the photo of the wood ducks just taking off from the pond. I wish I had clicked the shutter just a moment before I did but I’m still learning. At least the settings were correct, lighting good, and I caught most of the action!

They are very beautiful – especially the males. They brilliant colors strutting for their females.

Not that I’m rushing Mother Nature but I’m so looking forward to the fall colors. We’re getting close!

~ melissa michelle

Not what I wanted but still productive!

Brig Niagara

Brig Niagara

MedEvac

MedEvac

Ruffled feathers

Ruffled feathers

09.23.2015

When I arrived at the marina during my lunch break I was looking for water fowl to photograph – still hoping to capture a bird with a fish in its mouth. I was disappointed to see the bay was pretty choppy and no birds in the water.

It was a beautiful day so I meandered down the pier, enjoying the fresh air and sun on my face. I happened to look over towards the lake and there was the Brig Niagara coming out of her berth. Her sails weren’t out but she was beautiful none the less. I have photographed her many times but this one is sweet!

As I watched her sail into the channel, I heard the helicopter taking off from the roof of the hospital nearby. I decided, why not. I’ve never photographed one before so I tried and got the shot. I thought it was cool how you can see the individual blades (really fast shutter).

The last photo here is of a seagull – I thought it was funny how it’s feathers were ruffled. My feathers could have been ruffled since I did not get the photo I was looking for; however, I think I still made out pretty well.

I so very much enjoy photography! I’m having fun with the new lens (using it almost exclusively now) and looking for more places to visit. Get out there people! You only have one life – use it up!

~ melissa michelle

A visit to Elk County

A bull elk standing outside a church in Bennezette, PA.

A bull elk standing outside a church in Bennezette, PA

An elk cow with last year's calf

An elk cow with last year’s calf

Bull elk with morning fog behind him

Bull elk with morning fog behind him

Peek-a-boo I see you

Peek-a-boo I see you

Morning fog in Elk County

Morning fog in Elk County

09.20.2015

What a beautiful weekend! I very much enjoyed a couple days away to a place I’ve never been to before – Elk County PA, specifically Bennezette. It was breath taking and exciting hiking around the area to find the elk. I enjoyed using my new lens 100-400mm which got me even closer to these incredible beasts.

It was yet another “firs” I’ve experienced this year. It was another state park to cross of the list – Elk State Forest. And it was a great test for the lens.

I encourage everyone to get outside and experience a “first” this week.

~ melissa michelle

Trying out my new lens!

Cormorant coming to the surface

Cormorant coming to the surface

Cormorant flying full speed ahead

Cormorant flying full speed ahead

Cormorant shaking it off

Cormorant shaking it off

09.17.2015

I finally saved up enough and bought myself a new lens! It’s a Canon zoom 100-400 mm and I’m loving the photos I can get with it! Both yesterday and today I was at the lake capturing cormorants. They are great swimmers but don’t have much color to them.

I had a lot of fun photographing these ducks and playing with the lens. I hope to share more with you very soon. Here’s a hint: traveling this weekend to another state park I’ve never been to before and hoping to catch some sparring going on!

Now I’m heading back to the lake to capture some sunset photos.

~ melissa michelle

Another visit to McConnells Mill

Covered Bridge & Gristmill at McConnells Mill

Covered Bridge & Gristmill at McConnells Mill

Small water fall along trail at McConnells Mill

Small water fall along trail at McConnells Mill

Another view of water flowing down the hill

Another view of water flowing down the hill

09.14.2015

I visited McConnells Mill again yesterday (Sunday 9.13). Even though it rain slightly I still enjoyed spending a couple hours there. Photographers love when it’s cloudy – we don’t have to filter out the harsh sunlight. I tried a new filter built into the camera which gave the photos a more intense feel to them – deeper colors.

It’s been so much fun this year trying new things and experimenting with different camera settings and techniques. I actually tried to photograph the trees and flora but those didn’t turn out as well. As usual, I’m drawn to the water.

I cannot wait to return there once the leaves start to change. I have several trips planned for various places in the autumn. I’m hoping my new lens will provide some spectacular photos to share with you. It’s my first lens that’s not a kit lens. I’m totally stoked! It was a big purchase for me. And now, I’m saving up for a new, more sturdy tri-pod!

I hope you are enjoying the photos here. I had fun taking them yesterday, even in the sprinkling rain.

Have a good week and get out there in nature!

~ melissa michelle

Looking down the tracks

Looking down the tracks

Looking down the tracks

09.09.2015

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of my brother’s passing. As I’ve said before, he lived more in his 43 years than most people do in an entire lifetime. He was well traveled, educated, and well rounded. This year I am 43 and have tried to live each day to the fullest.

I have tried many new things this year, visited many new places (with more on the list to go to), and have tried to be happy even when things aren’t so good around me.

On my Facebook personal page a lot of people were saying my brother would be proud of me for my accomplishments, especially in photography. I appreciated the thoughts. But I still want to be better. There is always room for improvement. I don’t want to become complacent. I’m still learning different techniques, perfecting my favorite ones, and going to new places to try different settings.

My brother worked with trains – I’m not exactly sure what he did but I know he was well accomplished. He also enjoyed photography and travelling. Sometimes I wish I could ask him about how he photographed certain things, or ask how to take a photo better. Unfortunately I didn’t start into photography until well after he was killed.

The photo above was taken at Oil Creek State Park at the Petroleum Center. I took the photo with a sepia filter to help make it look like an older photo. One thing I would have done differently and will try when I’m there again is to get closer to the ground / near the tracks to take the photograph. It would have provided a totally different perspective.

Anyway, I do hope my brother is proud of me, along with my dad, a step-dad and an older sister who are also no longer here with me. My sister was always encouraging my photography. She was pretty artistic herself in many ways. I do miss all of them very much and wish I could have another day with them. But alas, all I can do now is learn from them, live and experience as much as I can, and share that with others.

I don’t know what’s coming down the tracks or what is waiting around the bend for me. Whatever it is, I’m going to keep on chugging along and photographing it.

~ melissa michelle

Beautiful nature

Jennings Environmental Education Park

Jennings Environmental Education Center

09.04.2015

Last weekend I visited the park above – a park dedicated to education about the area and ecosystem around it. I think it’s vital that we teach others how delicate and important nature is to our environment and to us. And even if you’re not an environmentalist, we need to preserve the beauty of nature.

This small stream (pictured above) was on Black Cherry Trail. The water runs about a tenth of a mile through the park. I thought it was peaceful and beautiful. It was cool how the water in the background was so still. But the stream did have some moment in the foreground. I left the shutter open to blur the motion. I love this technique!

Although I love the photo, if I go back, I’ll change the perspective by getting down low, closer to the water. It’s just something different to consider.

In other news, I’m extremely exited about a new lens I’m going to order next week!!! I’ve been saving up money for several months now! This lens will get me closer to wildlife. It’s the same lens I borrowed while visiting Yellowstone.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend. I will be enjoying some much needed R&R after a rough couple of weeks at my day job. If you can, get out there in nature, take in some fresh air, and clear your head with the beauty around you.

~ melissa michelle