2012

Garden rat 2

Saturday, 22 December 2012 14:41

Thumbnail imageAfter last week's shot I had a different point of view in mind. Due to work I wasn't able to work on it for three days. After that it remained to be seen whether the rat would still be there. Futhermore, lots of rain was forecasted. On Thursday morning it appeared to be dry, so I built a setup. Not much different than before, I only changed the angle of the camera for a frontal shot of the leaping rat. All in vein, the rat didn't show up. On Friday another attempt. First I just waited. No movement at all. I was about to decide that the rat had left when it suddenly appeared on stage. Quickly I put out the equipment, but the rat felt otherwise. After two jumps it didn't return. For me enough to see my settings were all wrong. A lesson and a day later I decided to try again today. He came later than expected, but at least he did come. Now the camera and flash units didn't bother him at all. After every two of three leaps I had to go outside to check the results and ajust the settings. It then becomes clear again trying a frontal shot is far harder than a lateral one, just because of the focal plain. Every time I made minor adjustments at hoped the rat would return. I had one eye focused on the internet, because rain was coming. Both the equipment and the rat don't like that. It should have been 15 minutes later, but just before the first drops it all worked out.

 

Garden rat

Sunday, 16 December 2012 13:05

Thumbnail imageIt's winter and a few weeks ago I started feeding the garden birds. There is quite a lot of them and where animals are feeding food is being spilled. A few days ago suddenly a new garden inhabitant showed up under the bird feeder: a brown rat. Our first reaction was: we don't want it in the garden, is has to go! The life-traps are standing by, but I also saw nice photographic opportunities. Luckily the rat turned out to be a male, so no chance of a nest. It was allowed to stay for a while. Against expectations it seemed to be active in daytime. I moved some stuff around in the garden and put some bird food on it. In no-time he figured it out and leaped onto the dust-bin. After that I installed the camera and some flash units and sat and waited. The flashes didn't bother him at all and the rat was leaping back and forth. After a few attempts it was done. It doesn't always have to be hard...

 

Foxes

Tuesday, 04 December 2012 20:31

Together with Vincent de Jong I have been photographing foxes. Before I never managed to capture them from relative close distance, at least not in the wild and alive. We managed to take nice images from a low point of view. I was really satisfied with those shots. Nevertheless we kept going and with succes. We tried to capture the foxes at the waterside. It worked, first with reflection in the water and later even drinking. Furthermore we saw foxes fighting at some distance. Unfortunately not through our viewfinders. Until once we were photographing one fox when suddenly another one appeared. Instantly they started to fight. What a beautiful moment. Sometimes you just need some luck. What's that, it even got better! After a long day the light was gone for a while. Dark clouds started to build at the horizon. We decided to pack our equipment and head for home. Just when the first rain drops started to fall a ray of sunlight appeared through the clouds resulting in a rainbow. We said to each other how great it would be to capture a fox in this setting. And just at that moment a fox did appear from the bushes. Quickly I pulled my camera from by bag and started shooting... The whole scene lasted just over 30 seconds. Just enough!

 

Airborn squirrel

Saturday, 24 November 2012 11:34

Thumbnail imageThumbnail imageThe red squirrel is one of people's most favourite animal. They are cute but also very athletic. With ease they are leaping from branch to branch. Photographing sitting squirrels is a lot of fun on it's own, but I wanted to emphasize the agility of the animals by photographing them in mid air. The problem was that I didn't have a location to try this. Luckily photographer Han Bouwmeester had the same thoughts and even better, he had a place to give it a go. Together we started working things out. This time of year appeared to be ideal in two ways: 1) autumn was at it's peak and we could work in a beautiful coloured setting and 2) the squirrels are building their food stock for winter, resulting in running back and forth many times giving us much better chances. In the end it still took 3 full days before, in pooring rain, we had the images we were after. It was very worth the effort! Thanks Han!

 

Award GDT competition

Sunday, 28 October 2012 13:18

Thumbnail imageThumbnail imageThis weekend the GDT international nature photo festival in Lünen (Germany) is taking place. There are lots of international guests with very inspiring presentations. Much worth the effort. Connected to the festival is the competion for the 'European Wildlife Photographer of the Year'. Having about 12.500 entries from 27 countries this is a huge and important competition. Therefore, I am proud to announce that I'm among the winners with a 'highly commended' in the category 'plants and fungi'. This year as much as 10 Dutch(wo)men were among the winners. That must be a record.

 

 

Vertical mushrooms

Sunday, 28 October 2012 12:56

This autumn was very rich in mushrooms. Unfortunately I had little time, but still went to the forest a few times. Traditionally I photograph mushrooms mostly horizontally. Now I experimented a bit more on a vertical orientation. I opens up the opportunity to include more of the surroundings in the image, like trees in the background using a wide-angle lens. Also using a 'regular' macro lens a vertical perspective can give surprising effects.

 

New workshop IR light traps

Sunday, 21 October 2012 18:50

On November 24th 2012 Paul in cooperation with Buteo Outdoor Supplies organises a workshop on infra-red light trap photography.

During this workshop you will learn all about infra-red light traps and how to use them. Using this technique an infra-red light beam is used which has to be crossed by your subject. As a result a photo is taken. Light traps are used to photograph elusive or nocturnal animals. Another important application is high-speed photography. Here fast movements of subjects are frozen.

Check the flyer for more info (Dutch only).

Update: The workshop has been cancelled. Do you wish to be informed about new dates, please send an email.

 

Leaping wood mouse

Thursday, 11 October 2012 10:00

Thumbnail imageWood mice are the kangaroos amongst mice. They can make huge leaps. Moreover, it's their main way of moving around. If you see a mouse running on the forest floor, it's unlikely to be a wood mouse. If you see it bouncing with huge leaps, it probably is a wood mouse. Wood mice don't hibernate, but they do create food storages. On the photo you can see a wood mouse collecting beech nuts.

 

 

Blue wings

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 07:09

The blue-winged grasshopper is a remarkable grasshopper. It lives in hot open areas like the edges of drifting sands and areas with pebbles. It is perfectly camouflaged on the surface; animals that live on sand are brown and the ones on pebbles are grey. In the field this grasshopper is almost invisible... when it sits still. When it flies off it's true nature appears. Then it unfolds it's wings and you can see where it's name comes from: bright blue hind wings!

 

Paul to Buiten-Beeld

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:00

Starting today I will be represented by Buiten-Beeld. Buiten-Beeld is a leading Dutch based photo agency and picture library and will represent a large part of my work starting today. Last few weeks I have been preparing the images by updating the image descriptions and in most cases by re-editing them. In the time to come I will upload the images into the database and then they can be found at www.buiten-beeld.nl.

 

Glowing in the dark

Monday, 02 July 2012 20:25

Thumbnail imageThumbnail imageMagical. Dozens of dancing lights around us. A short period in summer soms woods in the Nijmegen area in The Netherlands change into a fairy tale forest. Males of the firefly fly around as small green lanterns. Together with Douwe Schut I went firefly hunting and we made an attempt to photograph them flying. That was easier said than done since the lights are not so bright. Using iso 6400 we managed to record the light trails. I tried to make an overview photo of the forest with the lights. Using a long exposure to 'catch' many lights doesn't work, because the background will become overexposed quickly. Hence I made a number of shorter exposures and stacked those together. Further I tried to capture a single trail using a short tele lens. I was lucky, because in my image two males circled around each other, creating a spiral. Unfortunately the peak is over now. Maybe another try next year.

 

Hong Kong lemurs

Thursday, 28 June 2012 18:55

Thumbnail imageThumbnail imageRecently the Hong Kong magazine 'Weekend Weekly' appeared with one of my Madagascar dancing sifakas on the cover. There also is a short article with my images. My Chinese is not too well, so I don't uinderstand a word of the text. I'm sure they wrote an amusing story. Anyway, It's fun to be found in the Hong Kong book store!

 

 

Project pied flycatcher

Sunday, 24 June 2012 13:01

Two years ago I started an attempt to photograph pied flycatchers in flight with colleague photographer Han Bouwmeester. As usual this was more complicated than hoped for. Everything has to be perfect at the same time. First of all the location itself. Next the circumstances need to be right and the birds need to fly exactly where we anticipate, because the camera is aimed and pre-focussed at a certain spot. After every passage it is exiting. Is the bird fully in frame, is it in focus, is the posture right? Usually not all criteria are met, but sometimes they are!

Despite the succes we thought there was room for improvement. So the year after another try? Unfortunately that didn't work out. This year we were able to try again. Techniques had changed, but the circumstances and goodwill of the birds can't be controlled. An improvement of the results was hardly meant to be. Maybe we can try again next year, but for now it's time to show the results.

Thumbnail imageThis year I also have been busy at the terrain of CJ Wildlife Foods (Vivara) in The Netherlands. Here pied flycatchers breed in one of their nest boxes. I didn't 'just' want to photograph the bird in flight, I also wanted to include the nest box in the photograph. After all, the pied flycatcher is one of the bird species that responses very well to offering nest boxes in woodlands. The birds didn't care about my setup and kept flying to the nest box. I succeeded to take the image I had in mind. I hope this image can contribute to stimulating offering nest boxes for birds. And if it aren't pied flycatchers that will occupy the nest box, it surely will be tits. Just as nice!

 

 

Cockchafer

Friday, 22 June 2012 09:20

Thumbnail imageIt's not May anymore, but a typical photo of last month anyway. The common cockchafer lives up to it's Dutch name 'May-beetle' because it can be found most abundantly in May. They fly mostly around sunset and can be very numerous. The males try to find females by using scent. This is why they have suck nice fan-like antennae, being much larger in males than in females. Here is an image of a male cockchafer in flight.

 

 

Brenne at night

Monday, 11 June 2012 13:28

When the last light has gone the night really starts. This is what this last Brenne-post is about.

In the barns at the terrain where we stayed multiple species of bat can be found. I managed to photograph the greater horse shoe bat in the same window as I did before. Now the window was overgrown with common ivy. In one of the other barns there was a group of barbastelle bats. The first time we encountered them here. They may be not very pretty, but I was pleased to get my first flight photo of this species.

The last night of our stay the air started to get dry. This meant a clear sky. Time to pick up an old form of photography I had been practicing back in the slide and negative era! I was inspired by a recent presentation of Marsel van Oosten and started shooting stars again. I experimented with long exposure times and high iso values. I also tried lighting landscape elements using a flash light and ended with a long exposure of almost two hours to record the circular movements of the stars. This image was build from several shorter exposures and stacked together. Unfortunately a longer exposure wasn't possible, my battery was dead and it started getting light again. Quickly into bed, before packing and going back home...

 

Brenne in twilight

Monday, 11 June 2012 13:25

In the first half of our trip it was mostly cloudy. No chance of nice light. Later in the week the sky became cloudless blue. During the day you can't do much, but when the sun starts to set it all starts again. In the last light I went searching for insects. Butterflies and dragonflies become less active and search for places to spend the night. If you find them in time and you have a more or less clear horizon it's fun to photograph the insects against the setting sun. I tried to keep the sun in my image as long as possible. Once is it set, you can make silhouettes.

In early morning, before sunrise, I tried to find sleeping insects. That night it was very humid so there was a lot of dew. Besides the 'ordinairy' photos taken with macro lens I approached one of the dragonflies with a wide angle lens, at the very moment the sun came above the horizon.

 

Brenne in bloom (orchids)

Friday, 08 June 2012 18:26

In strong contrast to the dry late summer, spring in the Brenne is fresh and green. Everywhere you look there are flowers. If you look closer, you'll see many of them are orchids. You can find them in meadows right between buttercups. Sometimes they even bloom alongside roads. In more rare types of terrain, like calcareous grassland you'll find more rare species. The orchid names often tell you something about their appearance. Take monkey orchid, the flowers really look like tiny monkeys, or tongue orchid which sticks out its tongue. Other ochids try to let their flowers look like insects. This attracts those insects who take care of pollination. There are to many orchids to photograph them all, but more than enough to enjoy yourself photographically for many hours.

 

Brenne in high-speed

Monday, 04 June 2012 21:43

With a few photo friends I went to 'La Brenne' again. I visited this area in France before, so I knew pretty well what to expect. However, it was a long time ago I visited in spring. This year I prepared myself for some high-speed work on birds. In the years before barn swallows were breeding in the farm where we stayed. This is what I aimed at. When we arrived it became clear they were there, but at different spots as before. I had some images in my mind I wanted to try. First of all catching the swallows as they would fly in or out of their window. At least as challenging would be to try a shot with a wide angle lens capturing the entire barn in the image. One particular room in the barn would be perfect. The entrance for the swallows was an old wooden sliding door. Beautiful. The speed of these birds is amazing. What a velocity and agility! This combined with difficult light circumstances (read: bright sunlight) made it quite a challenge, but I think I succeeded pretty well.

I will post some other images of my trip to the Brenne shortly, so visit again soon.

 

Common redstart

Sunday, 03 June 2012 11:51

Thumbnail imageThe common redstart is a beautiful bird found in open park-like woods. Especially the male has splendid colours. I have been hoping to photograph this bird once, of course in flight! Last week an opportunity offered itself at the terrain of Vivara (CJ Wildbird Foods), so I got to work. The result? See for yourself. Many thanks to Vivara!

 

 

 

Spring flowers

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:13

Leafs are appearing on the trees again. A sign early spring is over. Typical for this time of year are the spring flowers. These flowers bloom very early in the year when the sun is still able to reach the forest floor, before leafs block the light. I went out a few times to photograph these flowers, around home, but also in the southern part of the province of Limburg, where more special species are found. Very nice to see the follow-up of different species. A week futher in time gives the forest a whole other appearance.

 

Easter tits

Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:36

Thumbnail imageThumbnail imageAlmost Easter, so yellow is what it's all about. No less for these blue tits. It also the time when forsythia is in full bloom. I tried to combine both and succeeded. Take a look at the images on the left.

 

 

 

Handbook bird photography, Birdpix 8

Sunday, 25 March 2012 10:47

Thumbnail imageRecently the eighth edition of the Dutch Birdpix book series has been published. All previous editions were filled with the most beautiful bird photographs. This one has a different approach and describes how to make those stunning bird photos. It's titled: Handbook bird photography. It contains a huge amount of practical information and tips on how to work in the field, equipment, light, composition and much more. Of course the book doesn't lack beautiful bird photos and also gives a look behind the scenes. One of the chapters covers high-speed photography of flying birds using infra-red light traps. This chapter is my contribution to the book. I can recommend the book to any bird photographer who can read Dutch!

Click here for more info or to order the book.

 

High-speed tits

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 22:23

Now winter has arrived, especially with the snow from last weekend, tits are very active. Blue tits are most abundant by far. A good opportunity to attempt high-speed shots of them in flight. Below you can see the result.

 

Bruce Lee-murs

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 22:10

Thumbnail imageThe Kung Fu postures of the lemurs (sifakas) I photographed on Madagascar are picked up by two British online newspapers titled 'Bruce Lee-murs'. Very amusing! 

Daily Mail

The Sun

 

 

Workshop IR-light traps

Thursday, 02 February 2012 16:38

On March 17th 2012 Paul in cooperation with Buteo Outdoor Supplies organises a workshop on infra-red light trap photography.

Using this technique a infra-red light beam is used which has to be crossed by your subject. As a result a photo is taken. Lighttraps are used to photograph elusive or nocturnal animals. Another important application is high-speed photography. Here fast movements of subjects are frozen.

 

Update: This workshop is FULL. If you like information about possible new dates, send an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

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