Polar Park

Polar Park is an animal park that focus only on Norwegian wildlife. There are only few animals but they are kept in exhibits so huge we did not see to the other end or the animals inside. According to their website, the Polar Park is one of the animal parks in the world with the most area per animal (1100 dekar, 1 dekar = 1000 square meters, for only 12 enclosures. Also, the reindeer herd has an enclosure without fence and are free to move around.

The red deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest deer species. This one was constantly eyeing us and if we got too close to the fence (although we were still on the visitors path), it would come close and stomp threateningly.

Lynx (Lynx lynx) is the only wild feline in Norway.

There are two wolf (Canis lupus) packs in Polar Park, but we only saw one pack. Or rather one whole wolf and one wolf that was constantly hiding from our view. By the time we were leaving the park, it was already getting dark and then the packs started howling. It was so scary and I was really really glad that there is high fence between us and them.

I would like to stay there a bit longer but the light (or at least twilight) lasts only couple of hours in December…

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Norway – Northern Lights, New Years Eve and Other

Week in the northern Norway – that was how we spent the Christmas holidays. At first I thought there would be no light during the day and I was quite suprised to find out there are actually couple of light. However, the sun never rose above the horizon – that happens in late January.

But still, how often one can sleep till ten o’clock and say she/he woke up just before the “sunrise”? (At least for someone who is from middle Europe…)

Or take a look out of window and see a couple of reindeers?
(I still don’t get how they can drink the salty sea water)

Or meet small reindeer herd crossing the road?
(this one was little behind the herd)

And then just admire the cold and white nature and occasional red house.

New Year’s Eve

The custom of celebrating New Year’s Eve with fireworks seems to be ubiquitous. We also noticed that people fired some kind of the red lights that were much brighter and lasted much longer than regular fireworks. We guessed it might be some kind of flare and later it was confirmed by our hosts. We learned from our hosts that the midnight of New Year’s Eve is the only time when people can fire red flares which otherwise can only be used in case of maritime distress.

Northern lights (also called Aurora Borealis)

What is Aurora Borealis? Rather than I would copy-paste the info from other website, you can check out Aurora Forecast site for detailed explanation and other information. This site also contains tools for predicting when and where the ligts will be visible.

We saw the lights three times during our stay. When they were strongest, we were just watching, amazed. It is such a beautiful and magical phenomenom. The green lights were literally dancing across the sky.

On the first four photos, you can see that the lights can be moving very quickly. The white line on the left side on the photo which is moving toward middle and then right are the headlights of a single plane taking off.

Here is one vertical photo of the Northern Lights, this time with the Big Dipper asterism (part of constellation Ursa Major). I was suprised that the stars are so visible there.

Even when the sky is partially cloudy, the lights are still clearly visible.

Well, this was one of the most unforgettable experience I ever had. Also, the northern Norway in winter made it to my list of must-visit-again.

You can check out other photos from Norway in my next two posts:
https://monasphotography.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/polar-park/
https://monasphotography.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/panoramatic-norway/

Prague Zoo – Canon ZOOM

Storms from early morning are usually a bad sign for a photo event in a zoo. I was looking forward to this event but I really didn’t want to spend whole day in rain. In the end, I was pleasantly suprised when most of the day is sunny or little cloudy (with enough light coming through the clouds like from a huge light diffuser) – that’s very good weather for taking photos.

Canon ZOOM is a promo event held by Canon Czech Republic but this doesn’t mean that only Canon camera user can take part. Fortunately. Those who own Canon camera can try out new lens as well as new bodies. For the rest of us, there is a opportunity to have our photos printed on large format printers. For free. And there is also a competition – the most interesting photo of the day, taken of course in Prague Zoo. I always take part but never won anything…

And now some of the photos I took today:

The great white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus).
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(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Double yawning pelican was little bit creepy.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/8000 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/1600 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/2000 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

The Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), I just love their colourful feathers.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/320 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 125.0, ISO 400)

and the scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)
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(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 185.0, ISO 400)

The great grey owl (strix nebulosa)
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(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

The humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
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(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/5.0, Focal Length: 125.0, ISO 400)

When I got home I browsed through the photos, I realized that vast majority of them shows birds. So here is photo of some sitatungas, also called marshbuck, (Tragelaphus spekii).
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(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

What? The obtrusive bird got to this photo too!

OK, finally, here is a non-bird photo – the bush dog (speothos venaticus).
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(Shutter Speed: 1/60 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 120.0, ISO 400)

And that’s all for today. Next time I may post some more spring photos or I will choose to present beauties of Madeira – that’s where I am going for a holiday next week.

Late Afternoon in Prague Zoo – Part III

The weather these days is cold and sunny, only few degrees above 0 and that makes perfect conditions to go outside and take some photos. Yesterday, I went to Prague Zoo again, only about two hours before all the visitors would have to leave the zoo. And it was really cool, everything was lit with golden light, especially the exhibits on the southern hillside and there I took most of the photos. All these photos were taken when the sun was just above the horizon and therefore the colours are very warm.

Eurasian Wolf (Canis lupus lupus)

Female Boja is the last member of the wolf pack that lived in Prague Zoo.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

Brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea)

This was the first time I saw a hyena in their exhibit.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/2000 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

Red panda (Ailurus fulgens)

I was very lucky to see red pandas in their outside exhibit as they usually go outside in the early morning hours.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/2500 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 155.0, ISO 800)

Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/1250 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 800)

When I was leaving the zoo, I saw these white blooms near the exit. Although it is winter, they looked like they came into bloom recently.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/2500 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 80.0, ISO 800)

Late Afternoon in Prague Zoo – Part I

The weather these days is cold and sunny, only few degrees above 0 and that makes perfect conditions to go outside and take some photos. Yesterday, I went to Prague Zoo again, only about two hours before all the visitors would have to leave the zoo. And it was really cool, everything was lit with golden light, especially the exhibits on the southern hillside and there I took most of the photos. All these photos were taken when the sun was just above the horizon and therefore the colours are very warm.

The Indian Lion (Panthera leo persica)

… or maybe I should say lioness. Unfortunaly she is the only lion there, but hopefully a new male will arrive soon.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/3200 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/1250 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

I am just wondering if he is pracitising ballet or is it drunkenness?
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(Shutter Speed: 1/250 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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That was only the first portion of photos from Prague Zoo, there are two more to go.
(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 170.0, ISO 400)

Birds in Prague Zoo…

… and one unusual pair.

Altough the weather forecast promised sunny day the reality was quite opposite. Dark heavy clouds blocked all the sunlight and it was raining ocasionally. Not a perfect day for taking photos outdoors in a zoo. But I was already there so I gave it a try.

The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) inhabits a huge aviary in Prague Zoo and this time it came really close to me.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Reflection of the Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) in a pond.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 155.0, ISO 200)

The Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris) was sitting hiden in dense reeds.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 185.0, ISO 200)

Hornbill
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(Shutter Speed: 1/100 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) on the back of barbary sheep(Ammotragus lervia). It looks like the macaques in Prague Zoo are lazy and also very resourceful. Let’s ride!
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(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)