Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bye 2013!

Last sunrise of 2013. Let's see what 2014 will bring!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 20 mm; ISO-50, f16, 1/3s; 2 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Barn Owl I

The evening before Christmas Eve I was sitting in a barn. It was scary. Outside the deserted cowshed a wind with gale force was blowing, and inside I saw this dimly lit, spooky, almost surrealistic scene with a Barn Owl (Tyto alba/Kerkuil) as the protagonist. For the 1st photo I fired a flash (actually 2); the 2nd photo was made with a LED torch. Which one do you prefer?

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-400, f8, 1/60s; tripod ; flash.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-1600, f4, 1/10s; tripod; lit by LED torch.

Friday, 20 December 2013


The end of the year is a good moment for reflection. For me 2013 was an eventful, sometimes troubled, but above all an instructive year. I learned a lot, and made a few bold decisions. Amidst the many changes that impacted me, nature photography was a constant factor. It always helps me to fully enjoy life. I wish all my friends and blog followers many ‘gold’ moments in 2014!
Today I photographed this shy and alert Teal ♂ (Anas crecca/Wintertaling) during one of the rare moments of sunshine.

* Canon 7D; 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5, 1/320s; tripod.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Sunrise Strabrecht

Winter is coming. Nice sunrise this morning and white frosty grass on the Strabrechtse Heide! Yes, the first ice floor of this season is a fact!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f16, 1/13s; +0.3 stop; tripod.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Grey squared

Greylag Geese in grey weather, a good match.

* Canon 7D; 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/640s; +1 stop; bean bag.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Stormy weather

Extreme weather in The Netherlands, an impression of the biggest storm since 20+ years. I do not often convert photos to black and white (I am not that much of a photoshopper). But these waving trees were simply asking for it. It added the drama and gloom that I was looking for. I achieved a prolonged exposure time by mounting a 3-stop neutral density filter to the wide-angle lens.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 20 mm; ISO-50, f18, 1s; +1 stop; polarization filter; tripod.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Magical Mycene

The forest floor is like a fairy tale right now, it's full of magic when you look carefully. If I am right, this species is called Yellow Stammed Mycene (Mycena epipterigya / Graskleefsteelmycena). If not, please let me know.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5, 1/25s; -0.3 stop; bean bag.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Squirrel mirror

This Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris/Eekhoorn) is preparing for winter. Nuts are collected and buried. Let’s hope that he (or she) can find the carefully built-up food supply back when needed.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4; ISO-800, f4, 1/400s; tripod.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

IJmuiden beach

I love bird pictures with a low early-morning sun behind my back. The color of this juvenile Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa Lapponica/Rosse Grutto) is amazing in soft light. And the beach of IJmuiden is a place that never disappoints me. The other picture shows Sanderlings (Calidris alba/Drieteenstrandloper). When they are not in their usual running mode, they rest communally and do some feather care.

* Canon 7D; 500mm/f4; ISO-200, f6.3, 1/400s; bean bag.
* Canon 7D; 500mm/f4 + 1.4x; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/640s; bean bag.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Sky streakes

Weather changes are often announced by interesting cloud patterns in the sky. Yesterday a transition set in to colder weather with easterlies. Early in the morning the sky above my local patch was dotted with altocumulus streaks. I choose a more or less symmetrical composition with the horizon in the middle to emphasize the open space and to create a clear vanishing point. In order to create a more balanced exposure I manoeuvred the rising sun behind a little tree and used a neutral density hard gradient filter of 2 stops.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/80s; -0.3 stop; 2 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

One minute sunshine

Today was a grey, windy, and rainy Saturday. But we had one minute of sunshine, at the very end of the day the sun said "hello and goodbye". I like these vast empty spaces.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 19 mm; ISO-50, f20, 2s; 2 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Backlight Heath

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus/Hooibeestje) in backlight. Photo is taken in the Dommel valley between Eindhoven and Nuenen.

* Canon 7D; 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/100s; -0.3 stop.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Purple plain

Strabrechtse Heide just after sunrise. My contribution to the flowering heathland.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 19 mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/3s; +0.3 stop; 3 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


The fens on the moorland of the eastern part of Noord-Brabant are almost dried out at the end of this summer. Luckily, migrating waders, such as this juvenile Greenshank (Tringa nebularia), find these former water surfaces easily, and they pick an amazing amount of food from the mud. I personally like the expressionist style of this image, i.e. the spotlight effect on the bird (created by the last sunrays of the day), strongly contrasting with the dark colourful surroundings.

* Canon 7D; 500mm/f4 + 1.4x; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/800s; -0.7 stop; bean bag.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The days are getting shorter

My grandmother always used to say around this time: “It is getting dark much earlier already”. I didn’t like that when I was a kid because it meant that the end of the long summer holiday was near. But now I look at it from a different perspective. Sunrise is at a more decent hour, and the nights are getting colder. Autumn, party season for nature photographers, is about to start. Here, is a solar harp and spider web preview from my local patch.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f8, 1/200s; -0.7 stop; tripod.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f11, 1/250s; -0.3 stop; tripod.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Chalk-hill Blues

Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus coridon/Bleek Blauwtje) ♂ (top) and ♀ (bottom). Abundant on the southern slopes of the Eifel, Germany. The ♀ butterfly is foraging on Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris/Driedistel) the ♂ is posing on Pigeon Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria/Duifkruid).

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/200s; -1 stop; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/160s; -0.3 stop; hand held.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Romance on Pietersberg

There is a true invasion of Clouded Yellows (Colias croceus/Oranje Luzernevlinder) in The Netherlands going on right now. This photo is taken a week ago on the Sint-Pieterberg near Maastricht. A new generation is being made that can continue the journey to the North. With Arie Ouwerkerk, Iolente Navarro, en Kees Ouwerkerk.

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/800s; -0.3 stop; hand held.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum/Bandheidelibel) at sunrise. I was lovely to be out in the field this early surrounded by dew-covered darters. The backlight and dark background creates ‘silverwings’.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-400, f8, 1/1250s; +0.7 stop; hand held.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/250s; -0.3 stop; hand held.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Night time owl

Yes, finally the juvenile Little Owl (Athene noctua/Steenuil) was perching on the rusty harrow! I had this late-dusk setting in my mind for quite some time and put a lot of effort into creating it. Yesterday on a full moon muggy summer evening somewhere in Noord-Brabant everything felt into place. The scene is lit by a LED torch; the owlet was not bothered by it at all!

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4 IS; ISO-1600, f4.0, 1/15s; tripod; LED torch.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Tiny and delicate

This was what I had in mind this morning. Show that Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus/Heideblauwtje) are tiny and delicate butterflies. I used live-view to create the off-centre composition. But when this ♂ Silver-studded Blue spread his wings to take a sunbath, I could not resist the temptation to come a bit closer.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/640s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f5.6, 1/250s; hand held.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Hello world

At 10.00 PM sharp (the sun just disappeared below the horizon) two beautiful eyes looking around curiously between the roof tiles of this old barn announced the presence of a juvenile Little Owl (Athene noctua/Steenuil). This young bird of a nest of 4 owlets survived the first critical days of his/her life.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 500mm/f4 IS; ISO-800, f5.6, 1/60s; bean bag.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pioneer species

Breeding Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius/Kleine Plevier) ♂, with its conspicuous yellow eye ring. Last winter several lowland streams were restored to original meandering course in the east of the county Noord-Brabant near Eindhoven (at least 2 that I know of). The banks of the streams were also flattened and the surrounding land was cleared. These temporary sand plains with sparse weeds offer breeding ground to this true pioneer species.

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4 IS; ISO-200, f6.3, 1/320s; -0.3 stop; bean bag.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Cabanas Jurassic Park

Today's upload of our Algarve holiday is a Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon/Kameleon). It is a stunning creature, and I was very happy to find one. They are known for their ability to change the color of their skin 'pixels' (in order to blend in their environment). But it is also fascinating to see the grabbing limbs, the independent directed eye-balls and the slow but careful movements of this African species. This photo goes with a little story.
I found on the Internet that Chameleons are seen regularly near the visitor center of the National Park Ria Formosa. So we went to this place (50 km from our apartment), and together with my wife Judith I checked-out every bush in bloody hot sunshine, without any success. A bit disappointed (but not too much, because this is how it typically goes when exploring nature; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose) we returned to our apartment. Later that day, at the end of the afternoon, when I was grabbing a well-deserved beer from the fridge I saw from the kitchen window of our apartment something 'suspicious' in the fence of the Garden Cabanas compound. I said to myself: “This can't be true; it must be a leave or some piece of wood sticking into the fence”. Against all odds I left my cold beer alone to check-out the strange leave. And this time it indeed was a Chameleon. And moreover this Chameleon appeared to be our garden companion. With some effort I found it back every day, and with some patience I could make this photo. The morale of this story: Pick up a cold beer from the fridge regularly (and while doing so, do not forget to look outside)!

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/320s; -0.3 stop; hand held.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Anchor beach

Praia Barril (Barril beach), National Park Ria Formosa, Portugal. Monumental place in the dunes with all those anchors in the sand.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/10s; 3 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Breeding on the beach

Another birding highlight: Breeding Little Terns (Sterna albifrons/Dwergstern) on Ilha de Cabanas in National Park Ria Formosa, 5 minutes by boat taxi and an hour on foot from our apartment.

* Canon EOS 7D, 300mm/f4 IS and 1.4x; ISO-200, f6.3, 1/640s; +1 stop; bean bag.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Highway to the ocean

Highway to the Atlantic, paved by the ocean itself. The south-west coast of Portugal is surprisingly rough. I did not plan to do a lot of landscape photography, but when I saw these rocky outcrops, I had to return to this scene around sunset. At high tide the rocks submerge.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-100, f16, 2s; -0.3 stop; 3 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Some highlights from my summer holiday in the south of Portugal. Wonderful place to relax and enjoy nature, some sunshine, southern hospitality, the Atlantic, and good food! Here is one of my birding highlights: Red-rumped Swallows (Cecropsis daurica/ Roodstuitzwaluw) building their nest bit-by-bit with small bolts of mud. Photo is taken near Monchique on the highest mountain top of the Algarve.

* Canon EOS 7D, 300mm/f4 IS; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/800s; +1 stop; bean bag.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Soft sunrise

The soft sunrise of this morning. I used the pine pollen in the water to create some foreground interest.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/5s; +0.7 stop; 2 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Little Grebe

This evening I brought my 500mm lens to my local patch and left my landscape gear at home. Here is a Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis/Dodaars) in its habitat. I often saw or heard them, now it is time to photograph them. No spectacular action but I hope you like the colors (at least I did when making this photo).

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/640s; -0.3 stop; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5, 1/160s; bean bag.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Big stopper

The weather of yesterday afternoon: Clouds and windy. I like it when there is turmoil in the air. Ideal circumstances to experiment with long exposure times (91 seconds in the photo below, Lee big stopper filter used).

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-200, f16, 91s; 2 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Plover turnaround

 Result of my close-to-home Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius/Kleine Plevier) project: ♂ making a nest hole in the sand. This is done by scratching the soil with his longs legs and turning around. Several nest holes are prepared this way. In the coming days I expect the ♀ to pick her favorite location to start breeding ...

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5, 1/125s; frying pan groundpod.
* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4; ISO-400, f5, 1/125s; frying pan groundpod.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Spring flowers IV

Nature explodes, busy times for nature photographers. As you have probably seen in the previous uploads I focus more on flowers this year. It is a lot of fun to capture all these colors in and around the village where I live. Here is Water-violet (Hottonia palustris/Waterviolier) against the sunset reflection and Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium/Veenpluis) just before sunrise the next day.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/640s; -0.3 stop; tripod with beanbag.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17 mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/2s; 3 stop ND hard gradient filter; tripod.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Butterfly chemistry

Registration of an Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines/Oranjetipje) on its typical host plant Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis/Pinksterbloem).

For those who are interesting some information from Wikipedia: The ♀ lays eggs singly on the flowerheads of Cuckoo Flower, Garlic Mustard and other species of wild crucifers, all of which contain chemicals called glucosinolates. Selection of foodplants is triggered by the presence of mustard oils and their derivative glucosinolates, which (in Pierinae) are detected by chemosensory hairs on the fore-legs. Reproductive rate of ♀♀ appears to be limited by difficulties in finding suitable hosts. As a consequence, the species has evolved to use a wide range of crucifers.
The eggs are white to begin with but change to a bright orange after a few days before darkening off just before hatching. Because the larvae feed almost exclusively on the flowers and developing seedpods there is rarely enough food to support more than one larva per plant. If two larvae meet one will often be eaten by the other to eliminate its competitor. Newly hatched larvae will also eat unhatched eggs for the same reason. To stop eggs from being laid on plants already laid on the ♀ leaves a pheromone to deter future ♀♀ from laying. The green and white caterpillar is attacked by several natural enemies (notably Tachinid flies and Braconid wasps). Pupation occurs in early summer in scrubby vegetation near the foodplant, where they stay to emerge the following spring. Recent research suggests that the emergence of the butterfly may be delayed for as much as two years, thus insuring the species against unfavorable conditions in a given season.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/250s; -0.3 stop, hand held.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Spring flowers III

Two lonely Blue Bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta/Boshyacint) taken with backfocus :-). The beech forest has been transformed into a green oasis over the last week.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17mm; ISO-400, f16, 1/160s; +0.7 stop; hand held.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Spring flowers II

Oxlip (Primula elatior/Slanke Sleutelbloem) is another spring jewel; showers yesterday evening and a cold night took care of a myriad of dew drops at sunrise.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-800, f4, 1/250s; hand held.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Spring flowers I

Luckily there are Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa/Bosanemoon) close to my home! More than 25 years ago I drew them on my marriage card; today I made this photo around sunset after a beautiful spring day (the first with 20+°C degrees). The interaction of the quality of light (which is always different) and a polarization filter caused the bluish-orange color contrast (it is not a Photoshop trick!).

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-800, f4.5, 1/80s; polarization filter; hand held.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Tufted tranquility

♀ Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula/Kuifeend) at sunrise after a cold night (it was below -5°C last night, a record for this date!) floating on a ‘steaming’ lake. Easeful and peaceful! They say that temperatures will rise rapidly the coming week. Spring will arrive soon now!

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4.0; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/100s; +0.7 stop; bean bag.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Frog perspective

Moor Frog (Rana arvalis/Heikikker) in a hard backlight and a soft pastel sun-from-behind setting. The last 2 photos show a ♂ Moor Frog is mounted to a ♀ Green Frog (Rana esculenta/Groene Kikker). The photos are taken in a sheltered pool on the Strabrechtsche Heide. I has been a difficult season for Moor Frogs this year. They appeared at March 18th in the south of our country, when we had a couple of warmer days. But soon after that king winter returned. Even now in April we still have serious strong north-easterlies with sub-zero nights. In early morning all water is covered with a thin sheet of ice. I don’t know what happened to the Moor Frogs during this prolonged cold and frosty period. But today in the afternoon sun they are out. There are also several jelly spawn lumps in the water containing eggs with frost damage. The ♂♂ are not blue as usual, but grayish. Is the display already over the top?

* Canon EOS 7D, 300mm/f4.0; ISO-200, f4.0, 1/1600s; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f7.1, 1/400s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f7.1, 1/500s; -0.3 stop; hand held.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Teal jump

Teal (Anas crecca/Wintertaling) taking wing. It is taken from my private hide. This goes really fast, all of a sudden they jump out of the water. The advantage of spending a lot of time with ducks is that you learn to recognize the ‘fly away signs’, so that you can anticipate. The light was a bit dull, but I like the action. Weather conditions: Overcast, strong eastern wind (5 Bft); taken the chill factor into account it felt like -10°C (actual temperature was 0°C)!

* Canon EOS 7D, 500mm/f4.0; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/1250s; +0.7 stop; bean bag.