lørdag 24. juli 2021

PEREGRINE FALCON / VANDREFALK

Bringing in a Wood sandpiper prey (grønnstilk), defeathered & decapitated

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 7200, manuel prefocus


SOMEWHERE IN FINLAND, JULY 2nd TO JULY 17th, 2021 :


Site : This project has been planned for almost 4 years, but not implemented until now because lack of official permission, irregularities in breeding habits and of course the pandemy. Now finally I had the chance and over 2 weeks in early July I spent all together 170 hours in a small tented hide in an open Finnish marshland with the nesting site on the ground (as you normally will find them at the eastern taiga). The timing happened to correspond with a serious eastern heatwave with outside temperatures up to 30 - 31 degrees. Temperature inside hide : almost unbearable ! 

Nestphotography : Of course this photography is done in close proximity to the nesting site. However I'm not a big fan of nest photography, so my focus was more to do flights than the traditional nest shots. Personally I do not want to show pictures with nestlings or nest visible (no big discussion this time please, its just the way I feel about it). My presence at the nest site was done with sustainable manners and done under license of Finnish wildlife authorities.

Shooting : When it comes to flight-pictures remember that the peregrine is the fastest flying bird on the planet with max speed in dives up to 300 km/h !! In-flights to the nesting site were completely unpredictable, with little wind in-flights could come from any direction, neither chicks nor adult birds gave any warning signs or signals and sometimes with up to 5 - 6 hours wait between each feeding. In most of these situations autofocus was completely impossible .... at least with my focusing skills !! ... so my technique with in-flights would be to manually prefocus on an airspace where I hoped the birds would fly through, and shoot both cameras simultanously (800 mm & 850 mm lenses) with one cable release in each hand. To freeze the rapid movements and to get the bird within the limited depth of sharpness I needed fast shutter speeds & relatively small apertures. The price to pay was of course higher ISO values.     

A difficult start : Finnair delayed my checked in luggage for 3 full days (!!) and I had to work first 3 days & nights with reduced photo gear. Then I ran into a window at the airport that I thought was an open door ! Full force !! ... and got badly beaten up .... and finally, as I sat down behind my cameras in the hide for the first time, I had a heavy crick (lumbago thing !) in my back ... and both sitting up and laying down was seriously painful ... and still is ! :-) 

Hope you like the pictures !!!
 

Marsh area with the tented hide ... and nest site to the left under tree

Wood sandpipers (grønntilk) were a common prey

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/9,0, 1/3200, ISO 3200, manuel prefocus

Nikon D5, 400/2,8 + 2,0 conv. = 800 mm, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 2800, manuel prefocus

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 2500

Nikon D5, 600/4,0, f/5,6, 1/3200, ISO 2000

Bringing in another Wood sandpiper (grønntilk)

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 7200, manuel prefocus

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 1600

Bringing in a Wood sandpiper (grønntilk)

                             Nikon D5, 600/4,0, f/4,0, 1/2500, ISO 720, manuel prefocus

Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 3200, manuel prefocus

               Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 3200, manuel prefocus



                                Nikon D5, 600/4,0, f/4,5, 1/2500, ISO 3200

                                   Female bird in noisy communication with the male.

                      Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 3600, manuel prefocus.


                                            Nikon D5, 600/4,0, f/6,3, 1/3200, ISO 2500

                                   Nikon D5, 600/4,0 + 1,4 conv. = 850 mm, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 3200

                  Nikon D5, 400/2,8 + 2,0 conv. = 800 mm, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 5600, manuel prefocus

                                       Nikon D5, 600/4,0, f/4,5, 1/2500, ISO 2800


 With outside temperatures around 30 - 31 degrees warm & no wind the inside temp raised to almost unbearable ! Compensating by having a wet cloth over head !

mandag 19. april 2021

ARCTIC WINTER DUCKS AT BÅTSFJORD

Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a harbour light

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 2800

Its been a dream for some time to go to photograph arctic ducks in the sheltered harbour of Båtsfjord, a small fisherman's village on the rough Varanger coast on the northern tip of Norway. With initiative and great company from / with photographer colleague Bjørn Erik Hellang we went there in second half of March 2020. The trick with the birds is to feed the local Sea Urchins (kråkeboller) with fish leftovers, the urchins come in big numbers and cover the bottom ... and arctic ducks like King Eiders (Prakærfugl), Longtailed Ducks (Havelle) and Stellers Eider (Stellerand) + Common Eiders come in big numbers in early mornings to revel on the urchins. Best time of year to go there for this purpose is February & March ... after the mid winter permanent darkness is gone and before the birds go to their arctic breeding grounds in (mainly) russian Sibiria .... A great photographic experience !! ... and the new manager has creative ideas for next years shooting !!! 

Accommodation, food & service : First Class !!! 

All bookings of hide & accommodation is done through Båtsfjord Hotel (post@baatsfjord.com)

A winterly visit to Båtsfjord can easily be combined with artic seabirds colonies at Hornøya nearby the city of Vardø and with possible owls, Willow Grouse & the Pine Grosbeak feeding place in Pasvik. (Pine Grosbeak contact : Ben-Arne Sotkajærvi).

TEST : Reflections in the waves from a "planted light" on the nearby harbours edge gave ideas for King Eider photography in the morning twilight.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 1000


Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a harbour light

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 2000

            Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a harbour light

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 2800

Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a harbour light

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 2800

Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a permanent harbour light

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 5600

Male King Eider shot in the morning twilight with the reflections from a nearby red building .... highlighted by a red fender hanging on the pier`s edge

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/400, ISO 2800

Portrait of male King Eider

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 5600

Male King Eider

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,5, 1/1600, ISO 640

Male King Eider

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,5, 1/1600, ISO 640

Sunrise with male King Eider

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/3200, ISO 1000

Male King Eider

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/2500, ISO 1400

"Gull blandt gråstein" ? Male King Eider swimming with Common Eiders

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/2500, ISO 5600

Male Longtailed Duck / Havelle

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1600, ISO 200

Male Longtailed Duck / Havelle in reflected colours of a harbour building 

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,5, 1/1600, ISO 640

Portrait of male Longtailed Duck / Havelle

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,5, 1/1600, ISO 500

Touchdown ! Female Longtailed Duck / Havelle

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/3200, ISO 1100

Male Stellers Eider / Stellerand

Nikon D5, Nikkor 600 4,0, f/6,3, 1/1600, ISO 1600

The floating hide for arctic ducks inside Båtsfjord`s sheltered harbour

iPhone


Inside the floating hide for arctic ducks in Båtsfjord. Each blue XPS plate is a optional shooting opening with possible low angle with both backlight and frontlight. 

iPhone


onsdag 7. april 2021

EARLY SPRING CAPERCAILLIE

Heavy snow I

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 2200

As photographer the Pandemic Life has been a bit difficult for me ... as I miss Africa, I miss tropical snakes, Spanish raptors & my good friends in Finland. It`s not always so easy to create new, interesting projects locally where I live ... but I have been so incredibly lucky to get to know this local capercaillie. He really saved my "photographic winter." This bird is a bit crazy as his hormones are going bananas with him. I have paid him many visits through February & March 2021, I`ve had him in low backlight, soft whiteout winter days, deep cold, rain, light snow and super heavy snow. Sometimes he was simply not at home. I have been careful not to disturb him or push him too much through short visits & keeping my distance with the the use of longer lenses ... but still I've had to "run for my life" a couple of times to get away from his sharp beak & powerful wing knockles ! I've tasted them, I know what they feel like.

I have a great feeling for this bird. Hope he makes it through the summer & autumn and that he stays away from people ... in general !!  

Heavy snow II

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 1800

Heavy snow III

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 2200

Heavy snow IV

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 1800

Heavy snow V

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 1800

Morning backlight I

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/1600, ISO 280

Morning backlight II. The blue is snow in deep shadow

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/1600, ISO 320

Morning backlight III ...  on a very cold day

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/1600, ISO 1250


Morning backlight IV

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/1600, ISO 800



Morning backlight V ... with snow in deep shadow

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/1600, ISO 320

Feeding on pine needles mid winter I

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/800, ISO 1100


Feeding on pine needles mid winter II

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/800, ISO 1100

Feeding on pine needles mid winter III

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 2500

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,2, 1/640, ISO 200

Whiteout I

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,2, 1/640, ISO 560

Whiteout II

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/1600, ISO 1400


Attack position !!

Nikon D5, Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,2, 1/500, ISO 640