Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another Trip to  Anthony Creek Near North Powder

February 22, 2016
To view photos of this trip, see

We made another trip to the elk feeding station at Anthony Creek, a few miles south of North Powder and several miles west of Baker City.
For the second time in less than a month, I felt some disappointment with the wildlife photos taken.
On the way through Summerville, I stopped to photograph wild turkeys and a barn  that has steadily lost boards over the years we have passed it.
Blue sky over the North Power Valley, with frequent mountainous islands of white-to-dark cumulous clouds hovered over the nearby snowbound Elkhorn peaks and the shimmering white, even more impressive, Eagle Cap range to the north.
I felt better about photos of these Eagle Cap views with a wide-angle lens steadied on roadside fence posts.
Anyway, the elk-feeding station disappointed both Darlene and me. On both trips, no other visitors parked at the overlook, and a small clutch of elk lounged on the hay remnants near a shelter. With the large lens, I spotted  shadowy image of many elk lying among the trees  perhaps 300-yards or more from the feeding area.
I photographed the elk waiting near the shelter, but again did not manage the sharp images I wanted. I did not use a tripod, but I did use  a monopod and a shutter speed of 1000 and higher. With the strong light, this allowed for an f/8 aperture and an acceptable ISO of 800.
Granted, the elk  faced us with the sun behind them, but I still felt I should have captured more detail.
Although, with such a distance, a super-telephoto lens naturally magnifies shake, probably despite lens stabilization and leaning on a side mirror.
Besides all that, as we approached the feeding area, Darlene spotted a coyote walking across a field on her side of the road. I stopped, turned off the engine and stepped out with the camera.
I  supported the long lens with my hand on the side mirror and fired off a burst as the coyote performed a picturesque pounce after a mouse or vole in the snow.
Before this action concluded, I captured more than to dozen well-exposed images of the coyote catching and downing its prey before continuing on its way, with another unsuccessful pounce or two.
Alas, my review of the images revealed an unsatisfactory softness.
I checked the lens settings, and found them properly set. I concluded the distance of  300-500 yards to the dot-like coyote complicated holding the lens steady.
Anyway, after the elk, we drove to Haines for lunch at the Frontier Saloon in Front Street.
Darlene ordered a breakfast sirloin with two eggs over-easy and  fried potatoes chopped into small chunks.
I ordered the Taco Salad, which came on a 12-inch plate with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, olives, etc,. forming a 5-inch volcano-shaped mound atop a layer of re-fried beans and  meat.
I had little hope of eating the whole thing, but set out to try.
Facing south, more or less, I began my efforts on the west side of the plate and worked eastward while taking pains to keep the western boundary in a straight line.
I paused twice to catch my breath and wet my whistle with a sip of Bud Light, and eventually realized that such a thin Eastern Seaboard remained that calling for a take-home box would be wasteful.
So, I cleaned the plate and noticed Darlene didn’t need a take-home box either.
So, with Nora swallowing a few bites steak and egg, we headed back to the feeding station.
On the way, I stopped to take the photos of the Eagle Cap range, using fence posts to steady the camera, which turned out pretty well
More elk clustered around a fresh layer of hay, so we had missed the feeding time and perhaps an opportunity for me to ride the hay wagon for close-up photos (alas, so what‘s new!).
Anyway, I again took photos using the monopod and had the same results as before.
Then we headed home. A short distance from the feeding station, we passed three young deer and a doe on a slope quite close to the driver’s side of the road.
Of course I stopped to take photos. And, happily, they turned out satisfactorily sharp.

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