Earlier this year me and my friend, Brian Matthews (award winner), went on a trip to get a glimpse of the Muskox up at Dovre national park. We were rather lucky to get both good and bad weather, bad in like wind and snow, and this is good for getting different types of images. I did already after the trip publish some pictures I know, but now I have gone through the album once again and found a serie I wanted to share with you. I think that images of the Muskox in snow really shows the true nature of this animal.
Have been going through my gallery from my trip to Svalbard last year. Almost two amazing weeks with polar bears, birds and the fantastic arctic light. Came across this serie of images which I wanted to share with you. Hope you enjoy the pictures and that it won’t be to long til I can go back to Svalbard!
A Svalbard reindeer
The days are growing darker and the summer birds have left for the winter. Some birds choses to stay and with the fantastic evening light that is offered during this period of the year, you can get some really moody pictures. These images are taken on the west coast outside of Stavanger.
Made an one day stop at the bird island Runde this year again. Due to heavy fog laying up on the mountains I decided to focus on the Northern gannets. So I took a boat trip around the island, to get pretty close to the sea bird colonies from below.
A young Gannet coming in for landing
One of the evenings in Corbett (from my trip to India earlier this year) gave me a nice photo opportunity. A Changeable Hawk-eagle had taken a Ruddy Shelduck as prey. He was sitting on the river bank feeding on the prey when we drove by with the jeep. Funny sight as the duck is almost as large as the eagle and he tried to move his prey away from the river bank several times. Also the river bank is home to the River Lapwings and as they didn’t like the visit, they tried to chase the eagle away. I hope you enjoy the pics!
By the russian border is a place called Kuikka. I went there last week for hopefully four days with lots of bears. As for nature photography you never know what you will get and unluckily we had only one evening with really good sightseeings. Besides of that it was a good trip and fall was in the air. The colours of the trees had started to turn to yellow and red, and overall we saw between 7-9 different bears. Last morning we saw a family of four wolves, very far away though, but it was really nice to see wolves in the wild 🙂
The last evening I got the opportunity to borrow a Nikon D3s. I have heard many good words about this camera and finally I could try the ISO perfomance my self. It was all dark outside with almost no sight at all but with the camera on video mode I could se the bears outside. This shot under was taken with ISO 16.000 and a shutter speed of 1/10″ !! Not a killer shot it’s but amazing that you can take pictures that not to long ago was impossible to take.
Since 10 years of age my first and foremost interest has been bird watching. Bird watching as in the meaning of studying wild birds with feathers and wings; that is if you had any other idea what I meant with watching birds. I don´t really know how this interest became so strong, I have now been an avid birdwatcher for about 30 years, but it all began when I found my older brother´s field guides and field notes (he had been a birdwatcher in his early teens, but his interest in human birds grew bigger when he got a little bit older). What I can remember is that I got fascinated by all the different species, both common and the more rare ones and all their plumages – adults, juveniles, male, female, winter, summer and so on. For me at that age, curious about many things in the world, birds where the perfect interest. My parent’s couldn´t agree more!
As I grew older, my interest in watching birds expanded – through different bird watching organizations and their excursions I got to know a lot of people. First around the Stockholm area and later on, all around Sweden. With more friends that were interested in birds and more trips around the country to watch them, I learned a lot about field identification both with eyes and ears. I can´t say that I´m especially good, but good enough to separate the birds from the bees.
A mentor of mine once said: – “Life is an excursion!” With that he meant that birds are everywhere to find and bird watchers can execute their hobby in everyday life. I believe that is true – birds are world citizens; they have wings to fly with and are not controlled by any borders. Today I try to live by that rule and I am always on the look-out for birds; on the commute train to/from work, from the office window, out jogging, on a stroll with my spouse in the park or just shopping around in the city. I see birds wherever I go and whatever I do.
When I turned 15 I got a Nikon EM SLR-camera and a 50mm lens as a birthday present from my parents. I had earlier been interested in drawing and painting, but from that day the photographic picture was to become number one. I soon discovered that 50mm was a very short focal length to photograph birds, and I got to save money to get me a telephoto lens. With some help from my dear parents it took me about 6 months to save enough money to buy a used 500mm/f8.0 mirror lens. Not the best you could get, but for me at that age it was perfect and it took the photographs I wanted. Now I had the focal length to start taking pictures of my beloved birds. When I look at those pictures today I realize that they are not especially good, but when I took them in the middle of the 1980´s they were just amazing and what is more important, I had a great deal of fun taking them.
In late 1990´s I bought my first Nikon SLR with autofocus, a F70 together with a Sigma AF 400mm/f5.6 lens. A few years later I switched to an F90x with a battery pack and a used AF-S 300mm/f2.8 after a lot of overtime at my work. It was from my entry into the world of autofocus that my bird photography became more focused and serious, but still with film in the camera. I made my turn into digital as late as February 2007, mostly because I studied at the university when this new era came upon all of us. I simply couldn´t afford a digital camera body at that time.
I believe that my great interest in birds have helped me a lot when it comes to them as a photographic object. Through the years of watching and learning bird behavior and the different species favorite environment it is now easier for me to anticipate where and when things are going to happen. I think that is a great advantage for taking good pictures and having fun at the same time. As you surely understand by reading this blog, bird watching and today bird photography has become more of a lifestyle than a hobby for me. Maybe that is not for everyone, but it works just fine for me.
The photographs in this blog post are taken in the years 2009 – 2010 and are among my own personal favorites.
Went back to Dalen for another go on the Ospreys. Spent two days in the hide, and I most say the view from here is incredible. The chicks had left the nest one week ago, so there were lots of training to learn to catch fish not so far from the hide. There were full activity with the chicks calling for food in the morning and evening, so the parents had a quite busy time.
Had a good day up in the national park of Dovre a few weeks ago. Found two separate males and also a family which I could follow the whole evening. Good weather and great light gave me a really busy evening.
A young one in morning light
Working with the Muskox is all about using time. They are easily scared and you have to approach them slowly, slowly. The least thing you want to do is scaring them, they might try to run you down instead of running away from you.
The leader of the herd
On this one I really like how the sun hits the mountains behind the Muskox and paints them in purple.
Two young ones
The Muskox likes it cold due to it’s thick fur. So in the summertime the walk around in the shadows of the mountains, looking for snow. When I found this herd the were all lying in a spot of snow. But as the sun went further down the herd went to a high point with a good view, spending the evening feeding on the grass.
Last rays of sun