Mother Bear and Cub Sleeping in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Mother Bear and Cub Sleeping in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I stumbled across a family of bears sleeping the heat of the day away while photographing the Cade’s Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountian National Park. There were at least 3 young cubs in this tree, only 2 of them are clearly visible in the image because the tree is in the way. It can be so ridiculously difficult to find a bear or group of bears that you can get some nice sharp images of with out getting too close. The Park Service has strict rules and regulations about viewing and interacting with the wildlife in the Park. It is very important for the safety of the animals AND the visitors of the park.                ...
Photographing Black Bears in Smokies

Photographing Black Bears in Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains is a very special place. I took the opportunity to spend a week camping in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. My main goal during this trip was to see some bears and hopefully get close enough to photograph them (without getting too close, of course). The early summer is a very active time for the black bear population in the Smokies. The female bears (called sows) are busy grazing and protecting their cubs, while the male bears (called boars) are running around the park looking for cubs to kill. If the male bear can kill a litter of cubs the female will go back into heat this early in the season. The berries are also starting to ripen and be ready to eat. There is a ton of bear activity in the park in June!  ...
Lemonade, anyone?

Lemonade, anyone?

      Sometimes, it seems, the world is just out to get you. There is just no escaping it. All of the plans set in advance just wiped away by a single tree that falls in the woods. I have been planning to hike to a particular creek in the Ozark National Forrest for several weeks now. It is located in a very remote area of the park, access provided by a dirt road (labeled county road 59). I would be hesitant to really call it a road – per say – more of a dirt track that leads into the forest for about 6 miles. The first trip out, rain and freezing weather prevented us from going, so we rescheduled. This particular location is about a 2-hour drive, so getting there early in the day requires a very early morning. So, we get up at 4:30 in the morning to leave. It has been a little more than 2 hours of driving, did I mention, that I forgot my coffee? We finally arrive at CR59 and start driving in to the valley that we planed to hike. There was quite a bit of deadfall on the edges of the road that looked like it had recently been cleared. As we continued down this little dirt track as it winds towards the valley, we came upon a large tree that fell directly across the road. There was no way to go around, no way over. Completely impassable by vehicle, walking wasn’t really an option because the extra 4 miles of walking would probably put us on trail after...
Eagle’s nest in Mountain Home, Arkansas

Eagle’s nest in Mountain Home, Arkansas

Since I have moved here, I have been hearing that there are bald eagles that winter here. I have been looking for their nest since. I finally found it Yesterday! The light was horrible, heavy overcast and very dark…. but my goal out was just to find the nest. It was so dark i was shooting at 2000 iso just to get to 500th of a second! (and that is not even fast enough to catch the birds as they move around. When we arrived at the nest, we could see one eagle sitting on the nest. After waiting for about a half hour, another eagle flew up and proceeded to feed the eaglets that were in the nest. We could hear the chirping as soon as the eagle flew up. I am looking forward to getting out when the light is better and seeing what I can get. Hope you enjoy the pictures from today.  ...
Birding in the snow- Mountain Home, Arkansas

Birding in the snow- Mountain Home, Arkansas

We got a little more snow today. While I think it is awesome, I have heard many that are not so happy to see 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. We had family visiting for a few days, so we just played in the snow all day. During the day, I had a chance to make some portraits of some of the birds at our feeders. They really get excited about the bird food when there is snow on the ground. Last time I photographed birds in the snowfall, I had quite a few problems with water running in the lens. This time, I used a raincoat for my camera and lens – it was an OP/TECH rainsleeve http://optechusa.com/rainsleeve.html. I bought this 2 pack of rainsleeves a few years ago, and I pulled them out and used them for the first time. For 6 bucks, I am very impressed.    ...