April 25th, 2014

Keukenhof 2014

For second year in a row I went to the Keukenhof in The Netherlands. As last year, Birds As Art organised a photographic tour concentrating on visiting the tulip and bulb region. The Keukenhof is only open for 2 months of the year, displaying amazing gardens and flowers: an astounding 7 million bulbs are on display. The rest of the year the Keukenhof prepares for the next year. The Keukenhof attracts nearly one million visitors, of which 80% are foreign visitors. The Keukenhof is one of the main spring attractions in The Netherlands. The Keukenhof is an amazing place to visit to photograph and use your creative skills.

The group and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly: a summary of my photos can be viewed here: http://www.naturenotions.ch/blog-galleries/keukenhof-2014.

Part of the photographic tour is to visit some of The Netherlands’s historic sites. I only had time to visit Kinderdijk, where the above image is a true black and white image, created in photoshop using a threshold layer.

Click on the image(s) to enjoy a larger version. Click on the large image to return to the normal view.

February 26th, 2014

At the Duck Pond in Basel Zoo

As I was saying in my previous post, I went to Basel zoo to do some photography. I spent most of the time at the duck pond, where captive and wild ducks fill the pond. Some absolutely gorgeous species are kept there: the Mandarin Duck, the Smew and the (American) Woodduck. The Smew with its beautiful black and white coloring and mask was strikingly referred to as the Zorro-Duck by some young visitors at the duck pond.

The Woodduck has an amazing color range in its feathers.

To get a larger version, click on the image. Click on the image again to close the enlarged view.

February 23rd, 2014

Spring is Knocking on the Door

I went out to do some photography in our local zoo. Temperatures were mild (almost spring-like) and most animals were in a spring mood. I was photographing near the duck pond, when suddenly this red squirrel ran into a low shrub, trying to avoid an attack from a stray cat. As a result, the squirrel remained seated in the shrub, waiting for the cat to disappear. I was glad to help :). Next, the only thing I had to do was find a spot to photograph through the branches to get a clean-ish shot. Below is the result.

January 2nd, 2014

Surprise End of 2013

We went to the Netherlands over Christmas to visit friends and family. On 31 December I visited my cousin who is living in a forest region. She knew of my passion for birds and alerted me to the special guests she has in her garden: a family of a Long-Eared Owls, roosting right next door to the house in a conifer tree. In total a party of 4 owls come to roost in this tree every day, to leave for the hunt just before sunset. I had never seen these small owls before and it was very special to see them on New Year’s Eve. Fortunately I did travel with my photo-gear and was able to grab a few images of these special birds. To all visiting my blog, I wish you a happy and prosperous 2014.

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December 11th, 2013

Colorful Beauty

Common Kingfisher

Last weekend I went out to shoot at a bird-sanctuary near Zürich. Anette Mossbacher from BPN accompanied me.
Star of the afternoon was the Common Kingfisher. We sat in a hide, overlooking a part of the lake. Most of the lake was frozen and the kingfisher was mostly hovering around an open patch in the ice. Now and then the kingfisher crossed to the other part of the lake and twice she positioned herself on a reed-stem in gorgeous afternoon light. Even with the 600mm lens with a 2x converter it was still quite a distance.