Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pileated Woodpecker Family

My wife spotted these guys on a hike in a local preserve and suggested I park myself in the woods to get a couple of shots of them.  Unfortunately, I was at the limits of my camera lens, so the quality is not the best.  Fun to watch though…  Now, if I could just afford a $8k lens, I could do a lot better!

Where's Mom?

Where’s Mom?

Feeding the little ones...

Feeding the little ones…



2014 Schuylkill Sojourn

DSC_1068Each year, it seems that I am somehow involved in the Schuylkill Sojourn, an event organized and managed by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area/Greenway Association. It is always well-organized and subsequently a lot of fun for the participants, whether they be day trippers or in for the full 112 mile 7-day event. It seems that I always excitedly anticipate the event and am pretty energized the first few days, but, depending on my role, look forward to the arrival in Philadelphia signaling the end of the event. Just a lot of activity and I am always trying my best to fulfill commitments.


Kelly’s Rapids – Reading, PA

This year, although my numbers may be a bit off, the entire trip was sold out with about 65 folks signing up for the entire trip and an average of about 110 folks on the water each day, more or less. Canoe Susquehanna, the on-water guides for the event do an exceptional job. No less admirable, the phenomenal job done by the Greenway staff to keep things organized, meals served, porta-potties in place and a myriad of other details. With the details managed, all the participants need to do is show up, follow a few simple directions and paddle the daily mileage as specified to succeed. Some paddling on flat water and some a bit more exciting, but always safe. I think that everyone, no matter the skill level, got their money’s worth on this trip!

Bots Gather for Aerial Shot

Bots Gather for Aerial Shot

This year, I volunteered my limited skills as a photographer for the event and had a lot of fun documenting the activities. Had some great shots and a lot more missed opportunities for the same. For me, the job of photographing, processing and posting all of the photos was a bit overwhelming – a learning experience. I came away form it with a lot more respect for those folks who do this for a living – something I could only aspire to. Trying to capture interesting photographs while the subjects and background constantly shift, exposures change and water/sky combinations baffle the most complex digital imaging systems is a challenge. There are many variables to respond to, any one of which can cause a photograph to end up in the digital trash can. Great experience though.

Now, I am waiting for the deluge of requests for specific images (digital or paper) from the participants – not quite organized enough to respond to them.

In any case, a great event and always worth the time to participate no matter the role. If you get a chance, give it a try next year – but sign-up early as the spots fill up fast!

To see more pictures of the event, please visit the photo site by clicking HERE.


Perkiomen Paddle

Had the chance to get the new canoe (Wenonah Wilderness) out for a bit of a paddle in preparation for the upcoming Schuylkill Sojourn.  Well, after hundreds of hours in a kayak, actually maybe thousands of hours, I felt like a real amateur in a canoe.  The Perkiomen is not the easiest place for a first time paddle either.  Shallow, rocky and many, many portages.  Seems like I spent more time walking the canoe than paddling.

After about 2 ½ hours on the water I had only traveled about 4 miles down this rocky creek.  I was probably a bit more conservative than I needed to be, but didn’t want to leave kevlar on all of the rocks in the creek.  Might have been better off in a Royalex material, would have cared Great Blue Heron-1much less about damage…  My intent was to get some time coordinating paddling, navigating while simultaneously taking some photos, and this little jaunt was good experience and prep for my upcoming photo mission.

In any case, was a nice day and for the 1st time in a long while, I was focused on peddling and my surrounding rather than work and other things that tend to fill my mind.  I did drift mentally a few times and one of them ended up with me in the water and the canoe floating away.  Not a big deal in 12″ of water, but taught me a lesson.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser


Saw lots of wildlife including deer, mergansers, egrets and even what I thought was an otter or large weasel. Are there otters on the Perkiomen?  I wouldn’t have believed it!  Unfortunately, didn’t get a lot of good photos as I kept the camera in the waterproof case and could not get it out in time for many of them.

Lots of activity on the Perkiomen Trail, being  a nice Saturday morning and all.  People sure stared at me, some fool dragging a canoe down about 3″ of water in the middle of the creek.  Overall, a pleasant morning, good exercise and learned a bit of respect for the handling of a canoe in moving water, not as easy as I thought.