Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

Look around, relax and enjoy some of the natural world's marvels!
How fortunate we are to live in the time that we do. Everyday is a precious gift from our creator, who surrounds us with an abundance of wildlife to capture using the latest photographic technology.
We love sharing and talking about photography almost as much as creating the images. We hope to hear of your photo experiences, favorite shooting places, techniques that work for you as well as your own product reviews.
May the light always be perfect!
Tim and Debbie Flanigan

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For the love of bird dogs

Watching well trained birds work their trade with skill and instinct is one life's great pleasures for outdoor enthusiasts. The dog's enthusiasm for the hunt is so wonderfully obvious that man can only be envious. How wonderous it would be to smell and sense, what they do, upon locating the quary and closing in to point or flush. How exciting it would be to experience the nerve tingling sensations that stiffens their gait and locks their entire purpose of life into that moment.

We upland bird hunters are merely observers who watch the real hunters go about their business with amazing skill complimented by physical senses that far surpass those of humans. We love the thrill of the hunt, but how much more enchanting would it be to experience it as thoroughly as does the dog. Although we are very much part of the hunt, it strikes me that the dog enjoyes a greater right to success or hero shot photos than does the shooter.

The eyes of a bird dog afield twinkle with excitement and purpose similar to that of a child on Christmas morning.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Video ~ Nature Exposure on the Web

Easy and fun to create, this new marketing tool offered free by Google Search Stories, is a 35 second video you create yourself from what is already posted about you on the web. Add a choice of music from the selection and there you have it!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ticks: The Ticking Time Bomb of Disease

  Ticks are nasty and gross. Other critters that pierce our skin don't seem to conjure the degree of loathing that a tick does. Perhaps it is their length of stay and the tenacity of their grip that is creepy, or the fearful possibility of contracting Lyme disease.
   Common tick vectors are deer ticks, Lxodes scapularis and western black legged ticks, Lxodes pacificus, and their dreaded infected bite is required for humans to acquire Lyme disease; it cannot be passed from person to person. The odds of ticks you come in contact with being infected depend on the location and degree of tick infestation.The annual number of people that contract Lyme disease has doubled since 1992, making it the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Close to 4,000 Lyme disease cases were reported in Pennsylvania last year, an increase of 268% since 1993. Ranked among the top five states with the highest cases of Lyme disease, PA is climbing its way to number one. Tick populations are definitely on the rise, nationally, and may be coming to a neighborhood near you.
   Avoiding tick-infested areas is the first step in preventing Lyme disease. Ticks live in weedy areas, among leaf litter and low lying vegetation, and favor field and trail edges. They prefer moist, shaded environments, especially areas in wooded, brushy, overgrown habitat, including seashores and landscaped yards. Reduce the risk of tick attachment by correctly applying insect repellents containing 20 to 30 percent DEET to pant and shirt cuffs and exposed skin, especially the back of your neck and hairline edges. Wear light-colored clothing to make ticks more visible. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide additional protection and pulling socks over the pant legs may help, if the sock weave is not stretched, providing holes to admit tiny ticks. A better barrier is a 3/4 - or knee-high - slick surfaced rubber boot, tucking the pants inside.
   Anglers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts may find tick avoidance difficult. Fallen logs in the woods, favorite seats for weary hunters, harbor nymph stage ticks. Turkey hunters commonly spend an hour or longer sitting with their backs against trees crawling with ticks, while calling birds. Hunters also harvest game that may harbor ticks, so care should be taken when handling deer and carrying small game in game bag vests. Campers and hikers increase their odds of encountering blood thirsty ticks by following deer trails and by resting on the forest floor. Exposure to ticks occurs around the home during property maintenance and while handling leaf litter and carrying wood. ALL recreation and leisure activities can be risky in tick infested habitat. Before entering your vehicle after a day afield, shake or comb your hair and run an adhesive lint roller over clothing to pick up unseen ticks.
      If an attached tick is discovered, the typical high-stepping tick dance, with body-shuddering, shoulder-shimmy will not dislodge the gross offender. The tick's cement-like saliva hardens as the tick feeds, locking it solidly into place and making it difficult to remove. For successful tick extraction, use fine-tipped tweezers or forceps. Place the tweezers as close to the skin as possible, squeeze them onto the mouthparts of the parasite, and pull firmly and steadily away from the skin until the tick is removed. Resist twisting or crushing the tick as this may cause the tick to regurgitate infected blood back into the wound. Avoid using petroleum jelly, hot match or nail polish, which may also cause the tick to spew spirochetes into the skin's opening. The Lyme spirochetes - Borrelia burgdorferi, are the cork-screw shaped bacterium culprits of this disease. Wash your hands, the bite site and implement with an anti-bacterial soap and follow up with an antiseptic.
   Save the tick for identification by immersion in a container of alcohol, which kills the tick, or seal it with tape to an index card. Watch for Lyme disease symptoms, which may appear rapidly or very innoculously. People react differently to the infection; most experience flu-like symptoms, and others may suffer severe fatigue, light-headedness, joint pain, stiff neck, poor memory and concentration, headaches, chest pain, swollen glands, anxiety and other symptoms. Lyme disease is known as the 'great imitator' because its numerous symptoms mimic many other diseases. Contacting a health care professional and the cost-effectiveness of taking preventative antibiotics after a tick bite, appears to far outweigh the danger and cost of not treating it.
   A veritable pharmacy of anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and immunosuppressant and analgesic compounds is found in a tick's salivary glands and may explain why only about 50 percent of Lyme disease patients recall the bite. Amazingly painless to the host, these compounds flood from the tick's mouth into the skin, facilitating blood flow to the tick for up to ten days. Other than actually spotting the blood sucking critter, you may be completely unaware of your encounter, unless you are among about 30 percent of the hosts that develop a rash after the bite of an infected tick. Many rashes in body hair go indetected, and it is those invisible tick bites that really tick you off, due to the unintended delay in seeking treatment.
   Perhaps too much blame is placed upon the lowly tick, because it does not begin life infected; it is merely the middleman. Female ticks produce an egg cluster in the spring or summer that can hatch 6,500 larvae, each as small as a period at the end of a sentence, and all free from infection.  These larvae molt and grow to become nymphs, or teenage ticks, the size of  a poppy seed or a pepper grain. All ticks require a blood meal for each of the three developmental stages of their life cycle, which takes about two years to complete, and will starve to death without it. As soon as a tick completes feeding on an infected host, the little vampire drops to the ground as a potential disease vector to its next victim. Although B. burgdorferi lives in various mice species, squirrels and other small animals, it's the white-footed mouse that is considered to be the main source of Lyme disease bacteria in ticks.
   A tick positions itself to hold out two up-raised legs, with hooked feet, to snag onto a passing host on which to dine. This process, known as "questing," involves a lot of patience on the part of the tick, so ticks use various sensory cues for optimal positioning: vision to detect color and movement, along with smell to detect carbon dioxide produced by exhaling hosts. If the host happens to be a bird, the tick is happy to climb aboard the taxi, snuggle between the feathers and bury its mouthparts in the bird's tender skin. If either the bird or the tick is infected with B. burgdorferi, by the time the tick is as full as your brother-in-law after a Thanksgiving meal, both the bird and the tick will have it. Because ticks take days to feed, and birds migrate, the pair may end up miles from where they met. Birds can carry infected ticks to new places, and carry Borrelia burgdorferi to ticks in new locations, which will pass it to new birds, mice and people.
   Right now, in the fall, after 30-40 days, the nymphs are becoming adult ticks, the third stage in their life cycle. They are the size of sesame seeds and looking for their third, and last, blood meal. Larger and stronger, these tenacious freeloaders move up the forest understory and are usually found a foot or so above the ground. They begin questing again, hooking onto larger mammals: deer, bear, squirrels, opossums, groundhogs, dogs, foxes, racoons, cats and humans, to play "Snag-you're it." Like the nymphs, adult ticks also transmit Lyme disease and, while feeding, the tick becomes raisin-size, making it much easier to spot. The tick's favorite host is the white-tailed deer, a key reproductive vessel for adult female ticks; providing the blood serum necessary for egg development and vital to maintaining tick populations.
   Adult ticks may 'winter' on a white-tailed deer, or spend the winter buried in leaf litter, with snow accumulations acting like a comforting quilt. During prolonged bouts of cold weather, ticks may become inactive, but only to revive as temperatures increase to as little as 28 degrees, with hungry adults biting hosts on warmer winter days. Adult ticks will be questing and looking for hosts into November and December, depending on weather temperatures.
   The transmission of B. burgdorferi from an infected tick is less likely to occur in the initial 24 hours of a tick attachment. For this reason, daily checks for ticks and prompt removal of any attached tick will help prevent infection. Inspect your body thoroughly, especially the groin, naval, armpits, head, and behind ears and knees as ticks respect no boundaries. Use a mirror, or have a 2-legged friend check the hard-to-see areas for the 8-legged little monsters. Remember to also check 4-legged family members. Nothing propels you faster from a bed in the middle of the night than feeling a tick crawling on the back of your neck.
   In Pennsylvania, ticks, rodents, roaming deer and migrating birds have been crossing paths for a long time and are, apparently, one route by which Lyme disease has spread. The number of deer in eastern forests is extraordinarily high, supporting huge populations of deer ticks. With the less severe winters in the past, the range in which ticks survive year round has expanded to establish additional healthy breeding populations. Residents are talking and ticks are the hot topic. The dirty buggers are here, their increased numbers obvious, and tick exposure apparently something we all have to live with. Be careful, it's a jungle out there.

Written by Debbie Flanigan
Full article published in Pennsylvania Game News Magazine, June 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Award Humbly Accepted!

Photographing the Ruffed Grouse Society's 29th National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt held in Grand Rapids, MN is an honor, and to be among some of the most generous-hearted people from across the nation with such a passion for the species and habitat, is awesome. I was surprised when Mike Zagata, President and CEO of the RGS, presented me with a beautiful plaque award "in appreciation for years of outstanding photography" during last night's banquet. I am very grateful!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(POMA) Professional Outdoor Media Conference

Greeting from LaPorte, IN, site of the 5th anniversary Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) business conference! We are excited to connect with as many attendees as possible, discover what is new in the outdoor industry from the corporate partners and absorb knowledge from the myriad of experts presenting! Two of the presenters are dear to my heart, Bill Konway Photography, a full-time outdoor photographer who "has shot everything from sunrises to sailing geese, Waylon Jennings to the Presidents Bush, and a Clinton thrown in for good measure" and my personal favorite, Tim Flanigan. They will team up and teach Lighting Outdoor Images, Shooting Set-Ups, 20 Digital Camera Tips and Photoshop-10 Must-Know Tips.
With today's "treadmill-fast" business and communications environment changes I need to run to keep up! POMA conferences are there with the cutting-edge experts on social media, digital marketing, photography / video, tax tips, webinars, computer tasks, book publishing, negotiating and information for a ton of interview and content generation opportunities! We will be exhausted when we get home, but absolutely pumped with enthusiasm and equipped to handle what is new in the business world....at least for THIS year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hot Days of Summer

The hot days of summer have been brutal this year, with no sign of letting up! "Pixel", the office assistant, camera model and bird finder extraordinaire pauses to get a little wet and do a little muddin'. He takes his job seriously and deserves a little R & R! Thankfully, he works for dog biscuits!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Image Chosen

The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP)
selected my photo of a male bluebird feeding its young as their
 "Editors' Choice"
 for this week.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Covered Bridges in Bedford County Pennsylvania

Check out the new video put out by the Bedford County Visitors Bureau. Here is the link: Covered Bridges in Bedford County Pennsylvania Click on the video and there just might be someone on there you know, and he happens to have his camera in hand!
What a beautiful county that we are lucky to live in! Call 1-800-765-3331 for a Covered Bridges Brochure or just to say Hi to the girls and Dennis Tice for doing an excellent job on the video and promoting our county!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Look What Is New!

We have added a search box for Amazon.com to make it easy for you to look up what you need for all things photography!
Check it out >>>>>>>

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bears, Bears, Everywhere!

Tim had a unique opportunity to photograph bears. Although the light conditions were poor, the bears put on quite a show. Thanks to a great guy and friend that shared the location of his property with Tim, he has invited Tim back for another photo session with hopefully better light. Is Tim anxious to go, you bet!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Antlers and Anglers Sportsmans Showcase

We just returned from the Antlers and Anglers Sportsmens Showcase weekend event in Meadville, PA. It was a nice turnout for a first event. My programs went well and we sold successfully. We always meet great people at the shows. Lots of photographers there, willing to learn about wildlife and nature photography. I would love to talk to some others that exhibit at shows and learn from you about your packing and organizational tips. We use a van and loading is always a challenge. What type of containers do you transport your prints in?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Success....Right place, right time!

The hen grouse and nest that Tim has been photographing finally hatched eleven grouse chicks yesterday and he was there to record it. How thrilling is that! He was lucky to be at the right place at the right time! Check out his blog soon for more information and pics.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photographing Warblers Requires Big Lenses for Little Targets

Magee Marsh in Oregon, Ohio was our home for the last four days while Tim and I photographed a concentration of northward bound migrating warblers as they rested and refueled prior to crossing over Lake Erie to Canada. The Saturday before Mother's Day, is International Migratory Bird Day, and is the expected prime time for the migration with thousands of birders and photographers expected to attend. If the line-up of porta-pottys is an indication of the numbers expected at this annual event, I am glad that we went early. The observation platform and boardwalk were crowded at many locations, and the Canons far out-numbered the Nikons. Pack the long lenses for the little birds and the flash extenders like Better Beamer, for the boardwalk's shaded interior. The outside edges are better for early light, and provide more elbow room. The light reaches the boardwalk about 8:00 am. Your heavier tripod will dampen the boardwalk bounce of the enthusiastic birders, however, I used my favorite BOGgear.com bipod with good results. Lots of people stopped and asked me about it, liking its obvious lightness, quick ease of use and my smaller footprint on the boardwalk. This is challenging shooting. Bring lots of patience, it gets depleted quickly. Warblers are tiny, hyperactive and play hide-n-seek in the foliage, loving the tree tops. Photographers knowledgeable of bird call and warbler identification  have the advantage. Let your vision go wide, look for movement and then look for the bird. The efforts are worth it to capture images of these beautifully-colored, amazingly intrepid neotropical migrants. Remember to be courteous, two distinctly different groups of people, birders and photographers, are both pursuing their passions. Knowledgeable birders and area experts have speculated that the migration peak is happening somewhat late this year. The good news is you still have time to witness it. The bad news is your sightings and shooting may be hampered by the thicker foliage. But believe it, this uncommon opportunity to photograph the various warblers is worth the trip!
Note: Use of the cool iphone bird call apps to attract birds are really frowned upon, so leave them in your pocket. There is a sign posted asking refrain from use. They tend to confuse and anger the birders.
Camping and lodging is available at numerous locations. We camped at Maumee Bay State Park where we enjoyed courtship displays of woodcock singing and performing their wonderful skydance right outside the camper!
At Ottawa NWR, behind the Visitor's Center, around the water and to the right (before you reach the grassy area), there is a hollow tree on the left with a Great Horned Owl nest with two adorable nestlings to photograph. Check with the staff about the new photography blind that is available to rent for $10.00 per day.
Happy Shooting!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Read more about Tim's experience photographing the heartbeat of the forest in his blog http://timflanigan-natureexposure.blogspot.com/. His drumming and preening Ruffed Grouse images number in the thousands. He offers a few photo tips as well.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Drumming Log Gift

For the first time in Tim's life, he is photographing a Ruffed Grouse on a drumming log. Saying that he is thrilled is an understatement. Could there be a better birthday gift than to have the opportunity to photograph a drumming grouse, surrounded by morel mushrooms while listening to turkeys calling? He didn't think so!