Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Siberian Jay

The last day of this short photo trip we spent in old taiga forest. Our plan was to make nice pictures of Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus/Taigagaai). About every hour they appeared at the scene, always threesome (a parent with 2 young birds, who knows). They were very tame; It was absolutely not necessary to stay in the hide. Conny gave us some pieces of pig fat and a cordless drill. So we were able to make our own set-up. This is the result.

* Canon EOS 7D, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 200mm; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/320s; -0.7 stop; tripod.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Lady Aurora

Part 2: Lady Aurora was dancing in the sky. Just after I went to bed around 22h30, Conny knocked on my door saying that bright Northern Lights are visible outside. Within 5 minutes I was dressed and ready to go. I already saw through the kitchen window (my bedroom was next to the kitchen) vivid green stripes that went up sky-high., Because we didn’t want to lose much time, we decided to go to a quiet (icy) road just outside the village. For over 2 hours we were treated with an immense visual spectacle! It definitely was my lucky day!
There is a lot of information on the Internet about photographing Northern Lights. But I did not found anything about a good setting for the White Balance (WB). I started with WB = 3000 K, but I soon found out that WB = 4200 K (Automatic WB) gives much better results. Of course, I photograph in RAW format so WB can always be adjusted afterwards, but it always a good idea to with good settings in the field already. Does anybody can help me out on this?

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16-35mm/f4 @ 16mm; ISO-1600, f4, 10s.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16-35mm/f4 @ 16mm; ISO-1600, f4, 10s.

The eagle has landed

Part 1: In the eagle hide again. Today it was windy, clouded and grey. Main goal of this trip was the majestic Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos/Steenarend) … and indeed it came down. What an adrenaline moment! And just as yesterday we were entertained during the waiting hours by the colorful Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula/Goudvink).

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-800, f5, 1/500s; bean bag.
* Canon EOS 7D, 300mm/f4; ISO-400, f4, 1/500s; +2 stops; hand held.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Pied Woodpecker

Today we got up early. Breakfast at 5h30, and off we go to Conny’s famous eagle. Why so early? It is important to enter and leave the hide in the dark. If you come at daytime the resident Ravens (Corvus corax/Raaf) are scared off, and will not drop down on the ground for many hours … and as a consequence the Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos/Steenarend) will not come too. Eagles completely rely on Ravens. It is not only that the Ravens prepare the frozen meat (with their strong massive beaks Ravens cut holes in it so that eagles can tear-off pieces of meat), their presence also signals ‘safety’.
Unfortunately the Golden Eagles didn’t show up :-(, although the Ravens were around all day. But we enjoyed the good light and the presence of many Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula/Goudvink), Greenfinches (Carduelis chloris/Groenling), Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major/Grote Bonte Specht),♀ Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus/Grijskopspecht), and a Fox (Vulpes vulpes/Vos) in the late afternoon. On the photo you see a ♂ Great Spotted Woodpeckers, with a bit of morning backlit through the forest.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 300mm/f4; ISO-800, f4, 1/800s; +0.3 stop; bean bag.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

-21°C reflection

It is a pleasure to be back in Sweden as the guest of Conny and Catarina Lundström. Yesterday evening Catarina picked us (Jos van de Kerkhof and me) up at Skellefteå airport in her 41-year old Volvo. After a perilous drive of almost 100 km on icy roads we arrived in the hamlet of Kalvträsk. Most houses still have lighted X’mas stars behind the windows.
Around 6.45 AM, just after breakfast, we left the house. The slow sunrise paints the low clouds near the horizon with bright orange colors. The thermometer in the car shows -21°C; our visit started with a nice crispy morning.
The rest of the day we spent in old taiga forest. Here is one of its inhabitants: Willow Tit (Parus montanus). They look a bit different here (race borealis); their flank is much whiter.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 125mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/2s; +0.3 stop; tripod.
* Canon EOS 7D, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 200mm; ISO-400, f4, 1/80s; bean bag.