animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, technical, travel, wildlife, world

I’m back …

… from the Dutch coast.

While I was in Wales, my wife changed the destination for our summer holiday. Instead of heading south to the Bavarian Alpes for staying two weeks near the National Park “Berchdesgardener Land”, we were heading north to the Dutch province Groningen. Beach instead of mountains. Fair change in my eyes 🙂

But, what a surprise. No beach 🙂 Only a harbor for ferries and fishing boats. But, a huge lake with no tide and lots of birds was nearby. So, from a wildlife photographers point of view fantastic opportunities. But, this wasn’t her intention. So, she was quite disappointed with her choice although the area was very nice and offered many options for walking, hiking or biking, but no town nearby. The next shops were about 15 km away.

I also was a bit disappointed, because I left the lens, I usually use for wildlife, at home. I didn’t expect these conditions. So, I have to return 🙂 Is anybody out there willing to accompany me?

So, now tons of images are waiting on my hard-disk to get developed. Most of them are birds, but I also have many landscape images. Some of them are a mixture of both kinds, just like the one above: a flock of seagulls is chasing a spoonbill at sunset. In one of the next frames, you can see them attacking the spoonbill. But, I like this one more because of the light conditions.

When taking wildlife images, I use a technique called panning. The camera settings are continuous shutter speed, a fixed shutter speed depending on the kind of animal and expected action, fixed aperture (wide open), continuous auto-focus spreading over a couple AF fields and Auto-ISO with spot metering. The camera has an APS-C sized sensor and a tele-focus lens sitting on a monopod. These settings help me to get pretty sharp images even of flying birds. I start taking photographs in a certain moment and following the movement of the birds with my camera. That’s quite easy because it’s mounted on top of the monopod and follows my turns. So, I’m able to follow the movements of my main subject. Back at home, I have to view lots of images and many of them get deleted. But, this technique gives me the opportunity to not miss a shot.

The exact settings for the above image are: APS-C sensor, 1/1000, f5.6, 80-400mm lens at 280mm (~420mm equivalent for a 35mm camera or full-frame), ISO 500

Some images taken during the trip are already on my Instagram account. Check them out over there and consider following me on Instagram, too.

Take care!

 

 

 

animals, bird, insect, photo-of-the-day, photography, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: in-flight swallow


Recently, I showed you an image of an in-flight bee fly. Although it was hard to capture that tiny insect with the long focal-length lens, it was not that hard as capturing this image of an in-flight swallow. Despite, bee flies are very small, their flight is kind of predictable. They are not flight that quick and they are not changing the directions abruptly. They also stay on nearly the same level above the plants.

Barn swallows instead are flying very quickly because they are hunting flying insects and thus changing their flight direction and hight unpredictable. Compared to this, the bee fly simply ‘stands still’ in the air, although she was also constantly moving.

This image is from early April and I was very surprised to see a barn swallow so early. The air was still cold (below 10°C). As far as I know, that’s the minimum temperature for insects to be able to fly.

There were years when swallows came back from the south too early when the air was still cold. The air had temperatures too cold for insects to fly which resulted in hungry swallows. Hunting for flying insects was without results, because of the cold. So they were forced to walk around and pick plant lice from the bushes because they were too weak to fly from all the unsuccessful hunts. A friend of mine, a nature conservationist, reported that year swallows simply falling off the sky. They died of hunger while flying.

I was in that place before and met hundreds of swallows. But, it was June and warm. So I was surprised to see one (two on the next day).

 

Take care!

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, wildlife, world

Travel Tuesday: crab booth

This is a quite common kind of food selling booth. Despite it looks like a pop-up shop, it’s more permanent. In Germany, you can find these food selling booths nearly everywhere. They are selling ice-cream, fish rolls, French fries, bratwurst, döner, waffles and so on: food to eat while walking or simply standing beside the booths. Some of these kinds of food you could find everywhere, others are more regional like this crab selling booth or booths selling fish rolls.

The writing on top of the booth says: “fresh crabs daily” and “unpreserved”. While the writing in the lower right corner says: “not today” 🤣

 

Take care!

 

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, wildlife, world

Travel Tuesday: when dry go back into the sea

Here we meet a cormorant. You know, cormorants eat fish and they catch fish by diving after them. As long as the water isn’t frozen, they stay and hunt. Because they don’t have the option to seal their feathers with grease to keep the feathers dry, they have to spread out their wings after a few dives to get dry again.

During winter, not only the water is cold, also the air is cold. But, a cormorant lives his life anyway. When getting hungry they have to dive after fish and get wet. Afterwards you can see them standing somewhere with spread wings for getting dry again. I guess, it’s a long time during winter.

This cormorant stood on the beach for a long time to get dry in mid January. For about an hour or so we were able to observe him, he stood there looking at the sea and kept in his place even when humans show up and came quite close.

Take care!

 

history, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, world

Travel Tuesday: the ferry is passing the beach

This ferry is called “Funny Girl” and used to sail between Cuxhaven and Helgoland during  the winters for many years. It’s retired and a younger, more modern, ship called “Helgoland” is sailing that route since summer 2016 during the whole year.

Because of an accident on Dec. 31st 2017 in the harbor of Helgoland because of very bad weather the new ship was replaced by the old one to repair it.

Here, the Funny Girl is coming back from Helgoland and  is heading to Cuxhaven harbor. The next day we entered the ferry for our trip to Helgoland 🙂

Jan. 14th, 2018

Take care!

 

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, wildlife, world

Travel Tuesday: Uria

Consider this post as a follow-up to my post three weeks ago showing some northern gannets. Here we can see the same problem, I mentioned in that post: material from lost fisher nets is used for building nests instead of algae.

Take care!

 

animals, landscape, mammal, nature, photography, seasons, travel, wildlife, world

Travel Tuesday: Knieper

Cancer pagurus, commonly known as the edible crab or brown crab / Taschenkrebs

“Knieper” is lower German for “Kneifer” which is the noun for the verb “kneifen” (to nib oder to pinch).

I stumbled upon the crab per incident on the beach of Helgoland. They live in the Northern Atlantic and the North Sea. They are able to bring some water in their body to be able to “breath” when outside the water.

Although, I knew this species, I never met such a huge one before. It’s size was approximately of a DIN A4 sheet of paper (~30×21 cm). According to wikipedia, that’s nearly the maximum size.

He was still alive and I don’t know, why he left the ocean. Maybe, he was originally caught by a seal and then left alone. Who knows. I was glad about the finding.

Take care!

 

animals, bird, landscape, nature, photography, seasons, travel, wildlife, world

Travel Tuesday: northern gannets

These little guys are preparing for their breeding season. They build their nests side by side on these small ledges. Different to other sea birds, gannets build nests. They use algae as nesting material. Nowadays, they also use wasted parts of fish nets and other plastic materials. While algae decay over time, the artificial material fish nets and such consist of, don’t decay. Instead, it’s a huge danger for fish, dolphins, whales and for fish-catching birds. The material can’t be bitten through when the head, a foot or a wing gets entangled by the material. In that case the animal usually has to die.

Take care!