Winter Nature Details

The winter has finally come. The temperature dropped below zero and the freezing thick fog covered everything with frost. It almost looked like it snowed a little. I was hoping the fog will disappear during the day but when the sunset time came it was as thick as in the morning. As it was slowly getting dark, I took my camera, small LED light panel and headed out to capture these details. Thistles, rose hips and various dried grasses, all covered with frost.


(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/80 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds, Aperture: F/6.3, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds, Aperture: F/6.3, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/50 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)

The thick fog was gone next morning and the clouds even let through some of the sunlight.


(Shutter Speed: 1/160 seconds, Aperture: F/6.3, Focal Length: 85.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/250 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 78.0, ISO 200)

More Wildlife in Prague

I finally had free day after very long time and I decided it’s time to go shooting some wildlife again. And by shooting I mean, of course, taking photos. As this was quite rare photo session for me, I borrowed amazing Nikon 200-500mm lens.

In the morning, I met with my friend and we went to a very nice area in Prague. This area is known for presence of a rare bird – the common kingfisher. And that was our goal for today. Take photos of this elusive bird.

At first, there was a pond with ducks and a rodent. It was a coypu. But this animal does not belong to our nature.

Coypu (Myocastor coypu)

(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius)

(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Yes, I had borrowed a 500mm telelens to take photo of…

… an escargot (Helix pomatia)

(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Sometime around noon, my friend heard the kingfisher and the chase began. We sit down and waited if it would appear again. Then we played a recording of its voice to lure him to us. Finally, we got lucky. The kingfisher sat down on a nearby branch.

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

(Shutter Speed: 1/200 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

(Shutter Speed: 1/250 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

(Shutter Speed: 1/320 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 480.0, ISO 800)

Great tit (Parus major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/320 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

The gulls were great objects for practising taking photos of birds in flight.

Gull

(Shutter Speed: 1/2500 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 440.0, ISO 800)

This one caught a fish but unfortunately had to fly away with it unless he wanted to share it.

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

And there was another hungry gull that wanted his share of tasty fish.

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

(Shutter Speed: 1/6400 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

European green woodpecker (Picus viridis)

(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 380.0, ISO 800)

European green woodpecker (Picus viridis)

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 480.0, ISO 800)

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 500.0, ISO 800)

Wildlife in Prague

Last week I had a chance to join my friend on her wildlife photo hunt. We visited a recently revitalized area in Prague near stram Rokytka, artificial lake Pískovna, then chateau park Dolní Počernice and in the end we visited area near Blatovský stream in Klánovice. As I own only 80-200mm telelens, which is awfully short for the real wildlife, I tried using 2x teleconvertor. This setup worked for me fine for zoo “wildlife”. Well, I was quite disappointed with the results now. The photos were very soft and the details not clear. So I put it away and took photos only with the lens. I also took this opportunity to try out auto-iso setting.

I know these photos are far from perfect but I was quite happy how they turned out, given the gear I had.

(I will also fill in the missing species names later)

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 200)

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)

(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 270.0, ISO 200)

Eurasian coot (Fulica atra)

(Shutter Speed: 1/320 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 200)

Common reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 450)

Common reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 400)

Common reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus). This photo is almost 100% crop of the original file.

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 450)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 360)

Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 400.0, ISO 720)

Great tit (Parus major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/4.5, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/4.0, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)


(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/4.5, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1600 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

White wagtail (Motacilla alba)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1250 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius)

(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Mallard ducklings(Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/640 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

(Shutter Speed: 1/800 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

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

Airbus A380 taking of on its flight to Dubai

(Shutter Speed: 1/8000 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 80.0, ISO 200)

And now, for comparison, several photos with 150-600mm Sigma telelens. My friend was so kind to lend her camera with that lens to me several times so I could try it out.


(Shutter Speed: 1/2000 seconds, Aperture: F/6.3, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/3200 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

(Shutter Speed: 1/1000 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)


(Shutter Speed: 1/3200 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)

Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

(Shutter Speed: 1/3200 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 600.0, ISO 800)

Panoramatic Norway

No matter if it is winter or summer, there are always opportunitites to take photos of the beautiful nature. And the great views are so tempting to be captured in all their width as a panorama.

One day we made a trip around island Kvaløya. Because of only couple of hours of light (or at least twilight), we managed to go around only part of the island. This is how noon looks like in December.

Unfortunately, it was getting dark very quickly when we got to Sommarøy island. So I took only a few photos, then we found one geocache hidden under snow and were on our way again.

The city of Tromsø. We took a cable car to the top of one of surrounding hills. The view from up there was great but the wind was so strong and cold. It felt like it was -20°C. I was also quite lucky because I took enough photos to make this panorama and then the batteries in my camera died due to the cold.

And finally, New Years Eve. Also it was our last night there. The greenish smudge across the sky are the Northern Lights.

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…

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/