onsdag 3. august 2022

FINNISH SUMMER PROJECT JULY 2022 WITH NIKON Z9


Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) flight with Wood Sandpiper prey (grønnstilk). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 2500, focus mode Auto Area

Also this summer my main project in Finland was the Peregrine Falcon. As you of course can understand from the pictures the shooting was done in close proximity to the nest and was this year restricted to shooting flights towards the open sky (since I don`t like nesting pictures). The project was applied for and approved by Finnish wildlife authorities as one of 4 admitted European photographers. My whereabout was performed with strict sustainable attitudes. 

All pictures are shot with Nikon Z9, FTZ adapter & my "old" Nikkor lenses 600 mm 4,0 & 400 mm 2,8,  some with 1,4 extender. Focus mode continuous with animal detection. Pictures from ISO 1800 and upwards have been treaded with Topaz Denoise AI. Provided necessary noise reduction working with 45 MP is a big kick for me coming from the D5. Presented pics are small in size : 1080 pix longest side.

Thanks to @Ely-keskus.fi for the peregrine project. 
For all other adventures with wonderful Finnish wildlife and great company thanks to my good friend Eero Kemila. 
Also thanks to Ville Heikkinen.


Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) with Woodcock prey (rugde). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 1000, focus mode Auto Area



Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) flight with prey (unknown species). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/5,6, 1/3200, ISO 1250, focus mode Auto Area


Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 4500, focus mode Auto Area.


Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) flight with prey (unknown species). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 2500, focus mode Auto Area


Adult Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk) flight with prey (unknown species). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 1800, focus mode Auto area.


Very first landing after ery first flight ! Juvenile Peregrine Falcon (vandrefalk). 
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 1100, focus mode WC1


Long waiting for many days. From Peregrine Falcon hide.   Iphone


We noticed that the Short Eared Owl (jordugle) was patrolling the same field every afternoon / evening. It was worth a try and 8 hours in hide. 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0 + 1,4 converter = 850 mm, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 6400, focus mode WL

 

Spending the night in the "diver-hide" paid off !! Red Troated Diver (Smålom) take off ! It was great to work with Z9 in this situation, once the focus attached to the bird it did not release it ! I shot 45 frames of this take off, every single one of them pin sharp. 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/5,6, 1/2000, ISO 1800, focus mode WC1


Red Throated Diver take off (Smålom). 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/5,6, 1/2000, ISO 1800, focus mode WC1

Red Throated Diver take off (Smålom). 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/5,6, 1/2000, ISO 1250, focus mode WC1


Black Throated Diver (Storlom). The most beautiful bird of the Nordic Nature ?? Not only the incredible patterns of black & white and the aero-/ aqua-dynamic shape of the bird, but also their reserved, shy behaviour and the superior dignity of their mere appearance !!  There were difficult color reflections in the water in green yellow and blue, this is why this one is done with black & white 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0,  f/4,5, 1/1000, ISO 500, focus mode WC1

 

Great Grey Owl (Lappugle). It was a warm evening, totally silent ... except the buzzing sound of millions of bloodthirsty Finnish mosquitos. The Lady was sleeping and only briefly cared to open her eyes half way to check my presence

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 24,0,  f/5,6, 1/1000, ISO 1250, focus mode Single point (even though there were no obstacles & blur in front of the face Z9 struggled to find focus)

Great Grey Owl chicks. 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8 + 1,4 converter = 560 mm,  f/4,0, 1/1600, ISO 4000, focus mode WC1

Great Grey Owl (Lappugle) ... dinner is served, the bigger chick grabbed the food as usual and adult bird flies off to find a new mouse. 

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0,  f/4,0, 1/2000, ISO 2800, focus mode WC1

Great enthusiasm in Base Camp as Mom brings in more food ! Great Grey Owl (Lappugle)

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/3,5, 1/2500, ISO 1800, focus mode WC1

Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/3,5, 1/2500, ISO 3600, focus mode WC1



Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/3,5, 1/2500, ISO 1800, focus mode WC1


Looks like the "High Priest of Dark Forces" calling upon some Supernatural Evil !!?? However, just the female Great Grey Owl (Lappugle) delivering food to the nest in the dark boreal forest.
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 400 mm 2,8,  f/2,8, 1/500, ISO 1600, focus mode WS


Great Grey Owl (Lappugle)
Nikon Z9, Nikkor 600 mm 4,0,  f/4,0, 1/2000, ISO 2800, focus mode WC1
 

mandag 28. mars 2022

LIONS TAKING DOWN A FULL GROWN MALE BUFFALO



Lions of Maasai Mara specialise on taking down buffalos. A medium sized lion pride will in average kill one buffalo every third - fourth night. Eventhough its a fairly common drama, you rarely see it in full daylight.

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/320, ISO 100

Maasai Mara NP, Kenya, March 8th, 2022 :

My good friend Big John Siololo, Mr Maasai Mara himself, respected guide and skilful driver in MM over decades and co-owner of Oltepesi Camp having spent his entire life in the Mara ... told me that he had only ONCE before in his lifetime seen lions take down a buffalo in full daylight. It has been my wet dream for years. However I've been 40 times in eastern & southern Africa to photograph wildlife ... and NEVER had such a sighting. It was clearly too much to hope for  ... but still this "unrealistic dream" has been haunting my mind ! On March 6th we came across a female buffalo giving birth, beeing bullied by a hyena and running straight into the jaws of 4 adult lions. It was hard light that day, but still a "once in a lifetime experience". See my previous post from March 18th.

The "even wilder thing" is that 2 days later, on March 8th, we ran into another lion - buffalo battle in full daylight !! The second lion- buffalo drama within 3 days !! Simply unbelievable ! This time a big buffalo bull was surrounded by the 7 lionesses of the Topi Pride of Northern Maasai Mara. It was late afternoon with nice, soft light, but a bit difficult to get in position for the drama. I was able to use different lenses and as always (!) my longest lens with a bit of distance to the drama comes out the best ... in my opinion. What a relief it was to see that the pics were ok and that I didn't fuck up & waste a chance like this. 

A male buffalo weighs up to 900 kg and is a big and risky prey for the lions. It took the 7 lionesses more than 1 hour of constant battling to take down the buffalo bull. The killing process is of course extremely unsentimental and its difficult to witness this without feeling empathy for the buffalo. On the other hand 7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs had a necessary meal and they had finished the entire carcass within the next morning. Nothing wasted !!

A big, warm thanks to Big John Siololo & Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp.     


Once a lionesse has spotted a possible prey .... her focus is total !!

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1250, ISO 400

7 lionesses has isolated & encircled a big male buffalo and the long and risky process of taking down the prey has begun

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/7,1, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Nikkor 460 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 800


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Nikkor 70-200 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Once the buffalo is down and exhausted the lioness tries to bite over mouth & nostrils to block the breathing. However the bull is still alive & kicking, so the bite is so far"incomplete" only covering the upper lip

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

Finally the lioness manages to bite over mouth & nostrils ... and the buffalo dies after 1 hour of constant battling

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs can fill their empty stomachs.


Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1000, ISO 6400


Some minor disagreements over the food !

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 1000

A family dinner

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 4000


Next morning at sunrise the buffalo is almost gone, only bones left for hyenas & vultures

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/3,5, 1/320, ISO 320


 No leftovers !

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/200, ISO 4500

tirsdag 15. mars 2022

BUFFALO - HYENA BATTLE : NO 1

The pregnant female buffalo had already started giving birth 

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200

Its a strong emotional experience to see someone getting born ... to see new individual life come true ... but its also a strong emotional experience to see someone exit this world ! Life on the savannah is extremely unsentimental and new life along with merciless exits is a daily affair !! As a humble visitor to this ecosystem you have to be mentally prepared for this ... because it will affect you emotionally ... no matter is you're hard nail or a sentimental wimp. 

The story along with these pictures goes as follows : It`s Sunday March 6 at noon with blue skies and hard light. The pregnant female buffalo was a part of a big buffalo herd, but was delayed by the ongoing birth, was left behind and thus without the collective defence performed by the herd. The birth had started as the head of the calf already could be seen sticking out of her "behind". A spotted hyena comes along, takes advantage of her vulnerable situation and tries to drag the calf out of her. At first the buffalo tries to confront the hyena to defend her half born calf, but then, as she understands that the hyena will not give in, she tries to escape. The hyena follows easily still trying to grab the head of the calf sticking out. As the buffalo desperately tries to escape her violator she unfortunately (for her and her offspring) runs straight into the jaws of of 4 adult lions hiding in the high, green grass. The situation is in other words upgraded from a "buffalo-hyena incident" to a "buffalo-lion battle".

It takes a long time for lions to take down big prey like a full grown buffalo and the battle splashes into a wet ditch. After 1 hour 20 minutes of continuous battling (!) she is tired, taken down and the lions can finally kill her by biting over her mouth & nostrils to block her breathing. 

The buffalo`s screams of fear will never leave my ears !

Maasai Mara, Kenya. Thanks to Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp.   


The buffalo confronts the hyena to defend her half born calf

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200

The buffalo then tries to escape the hyena with the half born calf sticking out of her "behind"

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200


The hyena follows easily
600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250

The poor buffalo runs straight into the jaws of 4 adult lions hiding in the high green grass

400 mm 2,8, f2,8, 1/2500, ISO 220

400 mm 2,8, f/2,8, 1/2500, ISO 320

The battle splashes into a wet ditch

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f8,0, 1/1000, ISO 1100

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f8,0, 1/1000, ISO 1100

The lions tries to block the buffaloes mouth & nostrils, but they are not successful

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 220

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 280

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250

400 mm 2,8, f2,8, 1/2500, ISO 250

400 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 280

The buffalo is dead after 1 hour 20 minutes of continuous battling and 2 lionesses tries to pull the prey on dry land

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250