vrijdag 27 april 2012

The House of Orange

The House of Orange is the name of our Royal family and was the first thing that came to mind when i came across these scarse and beautiful Butterflies today. They are one of my favorite species down here and i am always pleased to see them back at one of the nature reserves i tend to go to regularly.
It might be a coincidence but it also happens to be the birthday of our crown-prince today so that might have been the reason the Orangetips where so active today despite the somewhat harsh weather..:)-

woensdag 25 april 2012

Kingfisher Season 2012

It is no secret that i am a huge Kingfisher fan and it has certainly become one of my specialisms over the years. They are the most colorful bird we have and because of the harsh winters they had to endure over the past 3-4 years they have become quite scarse again too. I was glad to be able to set up another hide at one of their nesting sites this Spring and see that they started nesting succesfully. Allthough i will only return there once the chicks have hatched in order not to disturb their nesting i was able to get some images of them over the past few weeks when i was setting up my hide and all the attributes. Here are some of the images of the Kingfisher pair i am working on at the moment..

Spring has finally arrived...

Though while i am writing this topic it is raining outside i can truely say that Spring has finally arrived again.. One of the first species i tend to look for during Spring is the Common Moorfrog. Not that it is such a rare sight or anything but during March there are around 5-10 days when the males turn as blue as the Smurfs...!! It is always hard to predict when this will occur and over the past few years i have been missing this event quite a few times. This year however i was on a mission as i am working on a new book wich should come out early Spring 2013 and the blue Moor Frogs where on my wishlist for the book so here's some shots i took that day:
Another tell tale sign of Spring are the boxing Brown Hares wich run around our fields this time of year and are a pleasant attraction to us wildlife photographers:
I love the sound of Black-tailed Godwits returning to our country or the courtship song of a Bluethroat whilst displaying in the top of a Bullrush. The first rays of soft light that appear when out to look for these lovely birds are what make my day. Here are some images from the past few weeks when i was working on several species of wading birds and Bluethroaths.
And as promised some recent Bluethroats photographed whilst out on a 1:1 workshop on this beautiful little bird:

Another Big Update....

Yes i am truely sorry but time and health have not been on my side over the past year and therefor another "Big Update"..
It has been a while and several projects have passed the revue over the previous months and one of the major projects for me was my trip to Australia. Australia is a wonderful continent for nature and wildlife photography and it has been a true joy to have been "down under" again. The variety of species is enormous and it seemed like no day went by without spotting and photographing new species.
I had been to Australie and Tasmania in 2007 and knew what to expect but each time i walk trough the fields i am surprised by the beauty of the countryside and it's animals. The unfortunate thing wich happened to me though was that i lost all of my files from that trip due to a crash of both my external hard drives after a power surge...It took me a couple of weeks to get over that one let me tell you... Luckily in November 2011 i was able to get back to the land "Down Under" and had another go at it's precious wildlife..
I remember well one of the first mornings when i was out to photograph some wetland birds at a small river when i noticed a pair of eyes popping out of the water. Experience told me it was a Turtle but i had no idea what kind and it was hard to photograp as it was mostly submerged in the river. I then decided to imitate the late notorious Australian wildlife specialist Steve Irwin and jumped into the river to grab the Turtle and place him on the shallower side of the river bed. It only then appeared to me that the neck of the Turle seemed very long and kept growing longer and longer...As it turned out this was a "Snake-necked-Turtle" wich explained this behaviour..
Furthermore the colors of the wildlife and Parrots in particular in Australia are just stunning. Some people ask me how theses beautiful Parrots are camouflaged with these bright colors but when you see them amongst the bright and vivid flowers they blend in like no other. There are over 50 species of Parrots in Australia and though i have not photographed them all i was particularly happy to get some very scarse ones but also eager on photographing the everyday ones in a good manner.
Besides during the day i also went out at night. There are several species wich only come out at night and it takes quite a bit of patience and certainly skills to be able to photograph them well. One of the species wich was highest on my wishlist was the Flying Fox and i knew a place close to where i was staying where around 3000 of them where hanging out. It was a matter of waiting for them to start stretching in the late afternoon and then as darkness set in they started flying. Another species wich happened to hang out in the same area was the Brush-tailed Possom. A beautiful marsupial and very curious by nature. On another occasion i went out to look for Tawny Frogmouths wich are birds that can best be described as a mixture of Owls and Nightjars. Very hard to find and only after two hours of searching with a small torch light i found one..
Ofcourse you can not go to Australia and not photograph it's iconic Kangeroos. Most of the Kangeroos you see are Grey ones and especially in late afternoon it was not hard to find them on the edge of forest areas. I was also able to photograph some Red Kangeroos wich are a bit larger and have a specific shape of head wich reminded me a bit of a mule.
Another icon of the Australian wilderness is ofcourse the Laughing Kookaburra. The largest Kingfisher in the world and for that feature alone it was on my wishlist during this trip. It also has a very loud laughing sound wich reaches far beond it's territory and early morning it was a joy to listen to all the sounds of the wilderness but especially that of Laughing Kookkaburras calling out to eachother.
I will place some more random images from the Australia trip down here to give you an impression of Australia and it's fantastic landscape and animals. I will be hosting a workshop down there from the 1st to the 20th of November 2012 so for those of you who might be interested to join me for this amazing trip just send me an e-mail for more information at: info@jeroenstel.com
Besides Australia i have also been back to the UK for some more Grey Seals and Red Deer photography during my annual workshop. As the Grey Seal situation is a bit precarious at the moment i decided to go there early January when the pupping season had been over. We had some beautifull weather and had a great time down there on both days of the workshop. Here are some images from the trip in January 2012.
And some of the Red Deer we photographed during the workshop..
Back home i decided to spend some time on wintering Duck species and host some of my annual "DuckShop" Workshops wich turned out quite well this year with many interesting species staying in our wetlands and streams. I just love those Ducks and during this time of year most of them are easier to apporach so here's a few images from several DuckShop workshops i hosted last winter.
A trip down to the Bayerische Wald in Southern Bavaria (Germany) in February gave me an opportunity to set up a new workshop for that time of year next year and it was time well spent.. Had a great time down there and was able to get some stunning shots of Wolves, Lynx, Capercaillie, Marter and several other species. Here are some images i took during that trip and if you are interested to join me for next year just send me an e-mail: info@jeroenstel.com
Then all of a sudden we got winter down here after a relatively warm winter period in end of January/early February we got cold, frost and snow out of nowhere..This ofcourse triggered my senses as a wildlife photographer to look for our true winter species and here are some images from that period of time.
So.... I hope you enjoyed the BIGGGGGGGG....update..:)- and i hope i will be able to update the blog on a more regular base in the near future... See you out in the field and catch the light when it's out there!