Saturday, 29 August 2015

Grey Hair Grass

August 29th 2015, party-time for landscape photographers in the south-east corner of The Netherlands. The purple heather period is at its peak and you don’t have to be a weather guru to understand that after a clear cold night with no wind chances on ground fog are reasonably. Especially after substantial rain earlier this week. I decided this morning to go to the central higher part of the Strabrechtse Heide, a.k.a. “De Galgenberg”. The shifting sands of the past are gradually fixed into shallow hills with mosses, Grey Hair Grass (Corynephorus canescens /Buntgras) and some heather bushes. Not only the heather is gorgeous now, also Grey Hair Grass deserves some attention. It lights up beautifully in the first sunrays and flourishes in very dry circumstances. They say that it is so tasteless that even sheep don’t eat it. It is not possible to go here by car, so for a change I went by bicycle. I can really recommend this to everybody (the only drawback is that you have to set the alarm clock even earlier).

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16-35mm/f4 @ 17mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/6s; ND3 hard gradient filter, ND2 soft gradient filter; tripod.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Athene noctua

This Little Owl (Athene noctua/Steenuil), I guess it is dad, successfully raised 2 youngsters. The owlets are still tolerated in his territory, but not for long. As soon as one of them appears on its favorite grassland (loaded with worms) he already chases the juvenile bird away. In the early morning he likes to sit on this rooftop to oversee the surroundings of the barn. One of the nice things about owls is that they have clear facial expressions, this is his typical cute look.

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

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Butterfly paradise

The garden of our cottage in the Italian Alps hosted a Bonelli’s Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli / Bergfluiter), some Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis / Putter) and a family of Black Redstarts (Phoenicurus ochruros / Zwarte Roodstaart). House Martins (Delichon urbicum / Huiszwaluw), Crag Martins (Ptyonoprogne rupestris / Rotszwaluw) and Alpine Swifts (Apus melba / Alpengierzwaluw) were patrolling the skies overhead. Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra / Kruisbek) as well as Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes / Notenkraker) were irregular visitors.

But above all it was a butterfly paradise. During our hikes we encountered Apollo (Parnassius apollo / Apollovlinder), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis / Boswitje), Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae / Morgenrood), Little Blue (Cupido minimus / Dwergblauwtje), Brown Argus (Aricia agestis / Bruin Blauwtje), Damon Blue (Polyommatus damon / Witstreepblauwtje), Chalk-hill Blue (Polyommatus coridon / Bleek Blauwtje), Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja / Grote Parelmoervlinder), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia / Kleine Parelmoervlinder), Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma / Tweekleurige Parelmoervlinder), Marbled White (Melanargia galathea / Dambordje), Marbled Ringlet (Erebia montana / Marmererebia), Dusky Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lycaon / Grauw Zandoogje), and Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus / Hooibeestje), substituted by Alpine Heath (Coenonympha gardetta / Alpenhooibeestje) at higher altitudes.

At just a 5 minute walk from our cottage I discovered a dry stony field that catches the last light of the day before the sun drops behind the Mont Blanc massif some 45km away. Here I found Spotted Fritillaries, Chalk-hill Blues and Damon Blues (imho one of the most elegant Lycaenidae) preparing for the night.

Greetings from Gran Paradiso, Italy!

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-200, f5, 1/1000s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5, 1/160s; -0.7 stop; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/200s; hand held.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f5.6, 1/200s; hand held.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Cloud hole

My grandmother always sad: “When somebody closes a door right in front of your face there is always a small porthole that opens up”. The second week of our holiday we stayed in a small mountain village called Gimillan (alt. 1800m) in the Italian Alps. This was the view on the famous Gran Paradiso mountains from our cottage when we arrived :-). The rest of the week we had a bright sunshine, excellent weather to hike and enjoy the summer.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 75 mm; ISO-200, f7.1, 1/125s; +0.3 stop; hand held.