During a recent photo scouting trip to Newton County in northwest Arkansas, I spent a couple mornings shooting the country scenes of Boxley Valley which is just south of Ponca along Highways 43 and 21.
I was using a Sony alpha 200 on auto setting to shoot in early morning fog, rising sun, and then normal light conditions.
Here are a few of the shots and some info about them.....
A lone bull elk feeds in a farmer's pasture along the Buffalo National River at daylight. Elk will be entering the rut season in a few weeks and bulls will be bugling to attract cows and challenge any young interlopers who might pose a threat to leadership.
The best times for viewing elk in the valley and near Ponca is at daylight and just before sunset.
PHOTO NOTE: For best photos of elk along the river, a 300 mm or better zoom lens is best. Sometimes the herds will drift close to the fence line and offer an easy shot, but not often.
With the low light of morning (or evening) the camera ISO setting can be raised to a higher number, but a tripod or padded fence post is recommended to prevent camera shake and blur.
Ducks of several species frequent a marshy area along Highway 21 in Boxley Valley. It is not unusual to see geese and even swans at daylight and late evening.
PHOTO NOTE: Watch out for sun glare when shooting across water. You may have to narrow your sight picture to crop out the harsh sun rays coming into the camera or the intense sunspot on the water.
This lone morning glory vine along a farmer's fence offered a few sparse spots of color in an otherwise sea of green foliage.
Large, older barns like this one are common in the Boxley Valley area. Many are close to the highway like this one and make for easy shots. However, many of them have a lot of farm clutter that can distract from the rustic beauty of the structure.
The view through the hay mow of this barn shows a herd of cattle grazing along the Buffalo River.
Cattle and elk share the same graze land without too much trouble, but seldom do you ever see them in the same fields.
What country farm scene would be complete without a cat? This youngster was curled up asleep at the base of a fence post and followed me for nearly a quarter mile up and down the roadway, sometimes stopping to poke around in tall grass for a field mouse.
PHOTO NOTE: Whenever possible, try to shoot animals in as natural type setting as possible. This cooperative little critter seemed to like the attention I was giving and even let me place it on top of the hay for what looks like a posed "look at me" shot.......NEVER TRY TO PICK UP A WILD ANIMAL, AND BE CAREFUL OF OTHERS YOU DON'T KNOW.
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