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.

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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/

Prague Wildlife

During last year I took to geocaching and I also realized that photography and geocaching are two activities that can be easily combined and matched together. Taking photos can be a great disguise or excuse to get close to the cache. Geocaching helps me discover new amazing places. And that’s how found that there are kingfishers in Prague in an area where I would never expect them.

Even though its name is common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis in latin), this bird is all but common in the Czech Republic. Here it is very rare and stricly protected species and therefore I was really suprised I saw it in recently revitalized area in Prague near industrial parts of the city.

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(Shutter Speed: 1/1250 seconds, Aperture: F/3.2, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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Catch me if you can…
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On the other side, grey heron (Ardea cinerea) is very common in Europe. In the Czech Republic, this species is also protected, but not as strictly as the kingfisher, due to the fact that it was being hunted in the past.

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(Shutter Speed: 1/500 seconds, Aperture: F/3.2, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 400)

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And finally, the eurasian teal (Anas crecca), also called common teal.
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(Shutter Speed: 1/400 seconds, Aperture: F/2.8, Focal Length: 200.0, ISO 200)

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Autumn

I have always liked autumn for its colourful leaves and that’s exactly the theme of the following photos. Coulourful leaves, still green ones, those that turned yellow or even red, leaves that are still on trees and also those that had fallen to the ground. The last traces of colour before there are only black or dark brown trunks and branches.

These photos were taken in Malesicky Park in Praha while I was looking for geocaches at the end of October.

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(Shutter Speed: 1/250 seconds, Aperture: F/8.0, Focal Length: 65.0, ISO 200)

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(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 62.0, ISO 200)

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

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(Shutter Speed: 1/125 seconds, Aperture: F/5.6, Focal Length: 62.0, ISO 200)

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