tirsdag 29. november 2011


One of the first ones to land at dawn
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/50, ISO 6400

The Spanish Pyrenèes hold some magnificent untouched natural wildernesses, and being here for the first time, I was really amazed. Photographer Dario Mesonero Romanos took us to a remote place called Torre de Tamurcia, and here we had 2 full days / nights in a small hide for Iberian vultures. In this specific hide we had to shoot through glass, so called "one way glass" (which was not at all as "one way" as we thought). The glass of course takes away a considerable amount of available light for the camera and I as also concerned about sharpness shooting through glass. The sharpness however, performed without problems. We had to our disposal 5 full barrels of sheep intestines / slaughter leftovers, and we carefully portioned 2 of these for the first day. The griffons (gåsegribben) appeared early next morning at dawn, and I honestly nearly panicked when the windows in the hide (due to difference in outside / inside temp) suddenly went milky white with condensation !! In this situation I had no choice : I had to try to wipe it carefully off in front of the lens ....and the consequence was disastrous : the vultures all took off together...and never returned that day.

The following night we polished windows with any-condensation polish (!!) and poured out the remaining 3 barrels of smelly carcass. This was in my eyes a considerable amount of "bird-food", and, unexperienced as I am with vultures, I expected this to last for hours the next day. 

Early next morning we first saw 1, then 2, then 5, then 8 vultures in the air.... and suddenly, out of nowhere, they all came down as on a signal,...in incredible numbers !! I estimated the numbers of griffons to be approx 4 - 500 !!!....and they literally  "rolled over"  the carcass like a living "consuming carpet"!! The meat was basically gone in 10 minutes. I was amazed !!

We had no condensation problems this morning, and the griffons stayed with us for almost 3 hours... before they all took off together and simply dispersed into the vast Pyenèe landscape.

Ugly ? Well, in our human eyes ...with their bare heads and necks and very special preferences for food ... maybe, ...but also beautiful. In fact very beautiful !! They perform like sailships in the air with wingspan close to 3 m and on close range they reveal beautiful colors with a clean white "ostrich-scarf" around the neck and intelligent, sharp eyes. And besides : anyone who have seen the cartoon movies "The Jungle Book" and "Robin Hood" with the soldiers of Nottingham, ...must have some kind of a relation to vultures !!!  

It took them approx 10 minutes to finish 3 barrels of carcass !!
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/125, +0,67, ISO 6400

D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/100, +0,67, ISO 5000

D3s, 600 4,0, 1/80, +0,33, ISO 5000

D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/100, ISO 6400

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/250, ISO 6400

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/200, ISO 6400

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/400, ISO3200

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/200, ISO 3200

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/250, ISO 1600

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/200, ISO 1600

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/200, ISO 1600

Portrait of griffon vulture
D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/200, ISO 1600

D3s, 600 4,0, f4,0, 1/320, ISO 1600

With wingspan close to 3 meters... this is a huge bird !
D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/1250, +0,67, ISO 500

 D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/2000, +0,33, ISO 1600

D3s, 600 4,0, f5,6, 1/2500, +0,33, ISO 1600

Pyrenèe landscape
D3s, 70-200 2,8 / 70, f6,3, 1/1000, -0,67, ISO 200 


I got more stuff from the Pyrenèes coming up !!

torsdag 17. november 2011


 Sierra de Gredos, home of Iberian Ibex
D3s, 200-400 / 200 mm 4,0, f9,0, 1/250, ISO 200

Det begynte med at SAS ikke klarte å sende bagasjen min til Madrid, men av en eller annen grunn : 
til Frankfurt !!, og de kunne heller ikke levere i Madrid før langt ut på neste dag. Slikt blir problematisk når min venn Dario Mesonero Romanos venter ved Terminal 2 i Madrid for å ta oss direkte opp til Sierra de Gredos NP i sentrale Spania for å fotografere iberisk steinbukk i brunsttida.  Løsningen ble hjerterå !! : Neste morgen, etter en næringsrik frokost bestående av to søte kaker og en dobbel espresso, ....bar det opp i i fjellet i nysnøen i Gredos, uten korte brennvidder (som lå i hovedbagasjen). I lånte sokker, støvler, genser og brune cordfløyelsbukser (!) prøvde jeg, så godt jeg kunne, å holde på min norske "fjellverdighet". Etter steil klatring i sleipe fjellsider så vi endelig steinbukk i det fjerne. Jeg prøvde meg på en litt proff "indianer-approach" ....i lav profil, kattemykt, fra stein til stein. 

Det var da det skjedde !!!!,  helt uforvarende : Noen stakk en kniv i ryggen min !!!.... langt nede på venstre side...antakeligvis helt inn til skaftet !! I alle fall føltes det slik. Kink i ryggen er ingen spøk når man har formell tillatelse med stempel og underskrifter, til å "jakte" steinbukk i Gredos kun denne ene dagen, og når man i tillegg befinner seg langt oppi steinrøysa når det skjer.  Det ble en relativt krevende tur, kan man si (!)

.....og jeg som allerede på forhånd hadde et anstrengt forhold til SAS !!

På veien hjem kjørte vi innom en cafè (!!) for å kjøpe smertestillende tabletter. Akkurat dèt var litt rock`n`roll !!!

Engish :  According to the newly released "Mammals of the World, vol 2 : Hoofed Mammals", the world population of Iberian Ibex (Capra pyenaica) is approx 50 000 animals, of which the majority is Spanish, and only 100 are Portugeese.  My friend, the excellent photographer Dario Mesonero Romanos, had invited me to Spain,- and together with photographer Fernando de Antonio Jimènez, they took me up into Sierra de Grades NP to find some of these magnificent alpine mammals. Up there in the snow, at the altitude of approx 1500 m, we climbed some quite rough mountain slopes and, after hard work with a couple of "smaller accidents"under way, we finally found our herd. Provided a slow and careful approach and also repeated attempts, we finally managed to get relatively close. Especially the bigger males seemed to be more relaxed with us than the rest of the herd. These big guys appear black and gray, while females and younger animals have a brownish color. This was mating season for the goats and we had a small, yet unrealistic hope to witness a fight between the dominant males. This never happened, but they definitely had mating behavior. The big guys can weigh up to 90 kg and they have an impressive male pride in their huge horns. When seeing in this on close range, I reflected upon the immense symbol effect these horns have had in earlier gothic periods, being associated with evil spirits....and, of some reason, to the bad old guy himself. Funny, `cause they are friendly animals.      

Thank you Dario, for showing me this !

Check out Dario`s pictures on www.dmrwildphoto.com.

 A herd of goats
D3s, 200-400 4,0 /200mm, f6,3, 1/800, ISO800, +0,67

 Young male goat
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400mm, f6,3, 1/1600, ISO800, +0,67

 Female goat with calf
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/1000, ISO 800, +0,67

 Dominant male and female with last years calf
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/2000, ISO800, +0,33

 Dominant male and female with last years calf
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, 1/1250, ISO800, +0,67

 The closest we got to a fight...
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, f1250, ISO800, +0,67

 Male goat
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/640, ISO800, +0,33

 Male goat passing an opening in the green thickets
D3s, 200-400 ,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/500, ISO 800, +0,33.

 Male goats
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 310 mm, f6,3, 1/640, ISO800, +0,33

 Male goat
D3s, 200-400 f4,0 / 400, f6,3, !500, ISO800, +0,33

 Male goat
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 280 mm, f6,3, 1/640, ISO800, +0,33

Male goat
D3s, 200-400 4,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/640, ISO800, +0,33

Gothic horns !!
D3s, 200400 4,0 / 400 mm, f6,3, 1/800, ISO800, +0,33