Nature photography has gone through an enormous change in the last decade and it has come to be a very trendy an popular hobby. When there are a lot of people, there are usually also some unfortunate side effects. I have always tried to shoot in places where there are minimal distractions and not so many people, but it seems to be quite hard nowadays. If there are a lot of other photographers, i have to watch out where i go, not possibly be able to find the angles i want and be careful not to be in any other photographers way. This is important to me, as i expect other to do the same for me. This also hurts my creativity and patience is usually quite thin in these situations, adrenaline is flowing and it’s hard to stay calm and focused.
The yar 2018 was good, i got to meet new people from here and far. New contacts were formed and plans of collaborating made, hopefully these will continue to develop in 2019. With good friends this is a lot more fun.
Let’s see how 2018 was for me
Year started with a great grey owl. I spent a few days looking for it and one day shooting. Winter was only a dream in southern Finland but at least the ocean started to freeze. With little to shoot, many people gathered to the same spots. At the end of january the sea ice became strong enough for us to get to see bearded reedlings, which were feeding in the shore line. We got to shoot them alone for couple of days a, making it easier and more flexible to shoot.
Sea froze solid and we got to enjoy clear cold weather, sunny days and a little snowfall here and there. With safe ice came also masses of photographers to see the bearded reedlings, this altered the birds behavious in a way that made it hard to get good shots. We spent a few more days with the birds but the best pictures are still in the future.
Dipper rapids. Local rapids froze more and more solid and white-throated dippers were forced to feed in small opens spots. This made it easy for me to point my camera at a certain spot and wait for the bird to come. This rapid had a few good shallow spots where i could shoot the bird from water level as it searched for food. Midday sun was bright enough to get the shutter speeds super low and stop the motion of the bird and water flowing over it.
Lekking season of black grouses started in snowy conditions in southern Finland. This was a bit out of the ordinary compared to previous years. The swamp was covered with thin ice and snow but the birds weren’t ready to start their battles yet and the season fell short for us. Few birds visited the scene and we captured what we could.
Foxes of Netherlands
To warm up for our fox season here in Finland we took a trip to Netherlands where there are many foxes living in huge nature reserve. Huge in this case is 34km2 sized area so it’s not a small place. We wlaked 101 km in five days so it’s not your typical relaxing holiday but we had fun and also found time to rest and enjoy being away.
Waterfowl in Latvia. We packed a car full of equipment and headed to Nagli village for a workshop testing group for MrJan Gear. We scouted the local fishing ponds with our floating hides and spent a week trying to find good spots and shooting mostly migrating birds. Thousands of geese and few local red-necked grebes were the most photographed birds of this trip. Read more about Nagli
Kallbådan lighthouse and warm weather. We went to the Kallbådan lighthouse island, which is more like a small rock than an island to shoot grey seals. Weather was nice the whole weekend and there were plenty of opportunities to get shots of the seals laying on rocks in nice light. As we got back, my camera chnaged to a fishing rod and training for the Helsinki Fishing marathon started. Some time was also spent looking for fox dens and one was found where i got a few pictures of really young fox kits.
Month of foxes, what else can i say. 25 days spent shooting foxes, many days both morning and evening were spent at their dens. We got to see four different fox families in the Espoo region. This was the absolute highlight of summer holidays and fox as a species is now very well portrayed in my archives.
The full moon is not the best for fox shots so we spent a night looking for eagle owls for a chance to get them as a silouette with the full moon. One opportunity, one perfect execution. This makes me feel good.
June was the best and most productive month of this year for nature photography.
From foxes to raccoon dog cubs in Helsinki. The little vermins cause mixed feelings in my mind and others. It’s not an indigenous species in Finland and it causes a lot of distress in local ecosystem. They breed fast and its is necessary for humans to take action in not letting them spread uncontrollably. They are nice to photograph and i feel the need to represent the true nature of our wildlife as it is now, future will show if and how it changes.
In july it was time to start the moose photography season as the animals move from the deep forests to feed on the open fields. This season was not as active as previous years, some shots were taken but the perfect one got away. Closest to perfect was a mother moose breastfeeding two calfs. On the other hand, what is a perfect shot?
Extremely hot weather and a lot of wedding photography were the main thing and left only little time for other stuff. We continued wit moose and deer and one night a very calm moose family let us watch them feed close distance as we observed them from our car. These shots were takne with a 70-200 mm lens.
Squirrels collecting acorns and a nice relaxing holiday in Koli National Park. Autumn started nicely. We also made a short trip to Kuusamo Nature Photo contest to collect a third place price. In september we started preparing an maintaining our eagle hide project, made little landscaping at the scene and cleaned the hides and surroundings. Excitement for the new season started to rise.
Eagle hides in use. Two common buzzards and a sparrow hawk visited the grounds. Eagles were there for few weeks but the disappeared and didn’t come back. Much work went in to the project but it hasn’t payed off yet.
A nice surprise waited for me as i was filling bird feeders in Suomenoja, Espoo. Eagle owl was sitting in a tree being harassed by crows. Shooting days got fewer as the days got shorter and shorter.
Few days out with the camera, not many sunny days. Some backlit photos of blue- and great tits. A hawk owl landed in Helsinki for a few weeks which provided an opportunity to get plenty of material of it. Few days were enough since the atmosphere got very unpleasant, ruined by a few photographers reckless behavior. I managed to witness a goshawks attempt to catch the hawk owl, this was a pretty spectacular sight.
White christmas. Dark december made camera stay at home until we got a beautiful snow coating. This inspired us to get out with cameras and drone and hike in the forests.
This month was spent running and mountain biking and i even managed to tour skate on frozen lakes once.