Summer of ’13

It seems that for the past three years I’ve always taken the wrong decision on when to have my Summer holidays. This year I had the better part of June off from work and, as always, I started to take the best photographs when I had to go back to work again. Same is true for the weather. The minute I had to go back to work it started to clear up and get nice and sunny… oh well, enough about that. Time to see what I’ve been up to for the past few months (yes, it has been that long since my previous post, sorry ’bout that :p).

I don’t really have any special stuff to share other than that I’ve been preparing for a very interesting, yet quite difficult and challenging, project that will probably take me around 2 years or so to complete. I’m not going to specify exactly what it is since I don’t even know yet if I can get it to work like it has been working in my mind. I’ve had to make some serious investments in both time and money but if it’s going to work, oh boy, will you be amazed!

Here is my Summer of ’13 (so far..):
(all are clickable and will link to my website)

Running hare
Great fun that was! Came running straight towards me, then stopped within the minimum focussing distance of my lens and decided to turn around when it noticed something weird was lying on the path (I wasn’t even wearing any camo clothes).

King fishers
Yes! 2 King fishers :). Taken at F14 or so to try and get both of them sharp.

Roe deer mother and fawn
ISO 4000 :p

Actually found a small weed plantation near where I took this shot :p (I’m not kidding!)

Haw Finch
Not a very common garden guest. Shot full frame at 4fps of a D800 :). Wall sized prints anyone?

wild fox
A real wild fox! Not one of those fake, tame ones ;). It actually took me five early mornings to get this one. Luckily I got the fox before the local army of hunters did..

King fisher
An evening light King Fisher. They never seem to bore me. Such characters they have!

evening light

Until next time!


Deer stalking

Just a few quick shots from this weekend. Only the buzzard and forest zoom link to a larger image because I believe the others aren’t really worth publishing on my website.

I really like these beautiful markings. Great birds..

The next one just looked funny. I saw two deer in a field on one of my strolls and decided to stalk them. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any closer so I had to crop quite a bit for this one (titled: “Look honey! I can fly!“)
flying deer / roe deer

A hare sniffing the road:

An older one (forest zoom abstract):
forest zoom

I will be leaving for Idaho, US (audit) on September 10 and will be back at the 18th. Hopefully I’ll get to take some new good shots for a weblog post before that time.

I also decided to switch my OS to Snow Leopard, but I have to make some preparations for that first. Backups, photo workflow changes, new Adobe CS suite, and I’m also switching from Lightroom to Capture NX.

Nikon will introduce the D7000 (follow up of D90) on the 15th of September. Rumor is that there will be a new flash, and an updated 200mm f2 (VRII, Nano etc). Since my last post Nikon also introduced the D3100. Specs are as mentioned in one of my previous posts.

Until next time folks!

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Blending in, Part II

This is the second and last part of the ‘Blending in’ post. As mentioned in Part I, I’ve had a pretty darn good weekend. I got up early and set out to one of my favorite spots. Its on the border of a large forest and some farm fields. I put on my suit and made my way along the forest border, trying to blend in with the long grass. I finally ended up under a small tree and lay myself down on the ground, camera on my backpack. It was seriously uncomfortable since I was laying on a pile of dirt and in between some nettles. Anyways.. after a few minutes or so I saw this hare coming straight towards me. It really didn’t seemed to notice me, it just kept going. I had to take some shots while holding the camera since the nettles were in the way. The hare just kept coming until it stopped no more than 3 meters from me. I really thought it would see me by then, but strangely enough it didn’t. I could just click away and it didn’t seemed to notice. As long as I didn’t move everything was ok. That’s how I took this incredible shot:
hare / haas
Uncropped with the Nikon AF-S 300mm f4. Amazing moment!
It then pleasantly hopped away into the grass, raising its butt every few hops or so ^^. Such a funny sight. Luckily for me, the hare had some brothers or sisters of which I could take the following shots:
hare / haas

I really like the way the hare looks in this one! Check out the eyes!
hare / haas
Really love the AF of my D300. It’s pretty darn accurate and fast, especially with the 300mm f4 attached to it. Hardly missed a shot. As you can see, also these hares came pretty close. After a while I also noticed a deer and a pheasant. How amazing was that. Thirty meters to my left was a deer, right in front of me at 5 meters was a hare cleaning and scratching itself, and to my right was a pheasant at 10 meters. None of them knew I was there, quietly laying between the nettles, shooting away… how about that for blending in with nature!

Truly amazing. I’m addicted to that place and will be visiting it a lot more (too bad I have to work during the week :(). Here are the deer and the pheasant btw:

Next time I hope to get this kind of a pheasant shot from the front side and a little bit closer.

I could just walk behind the pheasant today. Normally they fly the hell out there when they spot you. Now, with my suit on, it didn’t know what to make of me.. awesome!

Have a look at my recent pics for more hares, pheasants and deer!

Until next time!

Blending in, Part I

This is the first part of two posts. The last two days have been quite successful for me because I took some shots which I regard as my best ‘animal’ work yet (see Part II later on). As I mentioned in my previous posts, I recently bought a special suit. I prefer a suit over a hide/tent because you are flexibel, you don’t have to set up (just get dressed in 1 minute), lay down on the ground, stand, and you can sneek around. With a tent you can do none of this. As long as you are not moving when there are animals around, everything is ok. When you move, they get suspicious and don’t know what to make of it.
I chose to write it all in 2 parts because I have so many pics to show.

First up is my encounter with a bunny and a very very very young deer (I call him/her Bambi but it’s not a white-tailed deer but a Roe deer). The rabbit was eating away at a bush on the way to my ‘hotspot’.
rabbit / bunny
The young deer is a different story. I just put on my suit and was walking through the long grass. I suddenly saw this young deer laying on the ground. I couldn’t believe me eyes! I almost stepped on it. I took a few quick shots and got out of there, not to scare away its mother. Important not to touch the animals since they might get rejected by their mother. Amazing and rare moment:
young deer

anyways.. my ballhead has been send to the manufacturer in Germany and based on the photo’s I showed them they said they’ll probably do a direct exchange of the head. Lets hope they do! Soon!

No real Nikon news to report this time. More will be known around July/August I think.

Sneak Preview!.

Until Part II! (Tomorrow)

(a)380 is less than (D)300 right?

Last Saturday my alarm clock started ringing at 6 am, trying very hard to get me out of my warm bed. 15 minutes later, just after Heartbreak Warfare ended (good song btw!), I decided to get up and I arrived at the forest at 6.45 am. The first subject of the morning was a hare that was just sitting on a dirt trail. I started walking in his direction taking some shots every 10 meters or so. He tolerated my presence up to 20 meters and then decided to head off into some nearby bushes. Luckily I was able to get some nice shots. The one below also has a European Robin in it. I didn’t even notice that since I was so focussed on the hare.

Next up is the deer. While walking around I suddenly saw a deer having its way with the young Spring leafs of a bush. I looked for some cover, quietly sat down and was able to take quite a few shots. I think he knew of my presence, but didn’t mind all that much as long as I stayed quiet and at a comfortable distance. When I tried to get closer he suddenly headed off into the woods. Good lesson for next time: don’t push your luck, unless you have a Ghillie suit! And I do now! It’s awesome. You look like a monster but it should work for wildlife observation ^^. I’ll post some pics of the suit next time. Below is the deer.

Anyways, when I was walking back to my car I came across two elderly people on a bike who were kind off lost. They asked me for directions and we ended up talking about my camera. The woman said it looked impressive and the guy proudly took out his Sony a380 with his kitlens. He immediately asked me how many megapixels my camera has, and after a comparison of my 12 vs his 14 MP he concluded he had the better camera. I tried to stay calm and mentioned that it’s not the amount of MP that defines how good a camera is. As we all know, its also about noise handling, speed, and the kind of lenses you use. He didn’t agree. It was all about MP since you could crop more. I was getting a little bit annoyed with him and luckily his wife told him I probably knew what I was talking about. So they finally went their way and a happy ‘plastic Sony a380’ owner left the woods… had to get that off my chest, thanks for listening ;p.

Below are some other shots I also took during the week. I really like the frog since the reflection in his eye shows the sky, my house, my lens, and some flowers. He allowed me to get to 5 cm of his head (I used extension tubes together with the Sigma 150mm). The tulips show the awesome bokeh my Sigma 150mm produces.
frog eye


A new post will follow shortly (within the weekend). I did some experimenting with running water and longer exposures: (quick preview!).

Until next time!