Last month I organized a field excursion for the Youth group of the Dutch Association for Nature Photographers (NVN). With a group of about seven youngsters we got up really early to make the most of the beautiful light before sunrise. I had chosen the Kootwijkerveen as a location for the excursion, as it will provide plenty of photographic opportunities, also in winter. We had a lot of fun photographing the landscape and birds on the water. The most outstanding bird was definitely the little grebe. We saw multiple fights, a lot of calling, and all kinds of other spring behaviour. Just before sunrise, I took my favourite picture of the day of a little grebe on the water. I really like the juxtaposition of the blue and orange tones, together with the small grebe in its surroundings.
I have been working in the field a lot in the last month, but fortunately I had planned a one week trip to Runde, Norway, together with my father. This week was totally dedicated to photography, and we wanted to portray the island in all its forms. This meant that we did not want to focus solely on the sea-birds, for which Runde is famous. However, I did choose a picture of a puffin as my photo of the month. We spend almost every evening on the cliffs waiting for the puffins to arrive from their foraging bouts on the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast to some other puffin colonies, the puffins at Runde are not present around their burrows during the day, and they only come in, in the beginning of the evening. On this particular day, I was sitting in a small gorge in the cliff side, hoping for some shots of flying puffins. I had waited for a long time, but even just before sunset there were hardly any puffins present, so I started photographing the cliffs against the blue sky. I really liked the abstract feeling of the cliffs against the sky, but something was missing. So as soon as I saw a puffin flying near the cliff, I knew which shot I wanted to make. I waited for it to pass the cliff face I had photographed before and made this shot. I was the only puffin that evening that flew in the right place, so I was happy I made a quick decision.
Due to a performance with my band, and preparations for my field work, I did not go out to take pictures a lot during the last month. Fortunately, I did go on a photography trip with my father to Flevoland, of which I already showed some pictures. This picture is my favourite from the trip. It depicts a group of greater white-fronted geese flying over the Markermeer in the early morning light. They are flying from the area in which they have slept, to the area where they are going to forage.
The combination of the soft light and the pattern made by the geese, makes this picture stand out from the rest. I hope you enjoy it!
Another picture from last weekend. This one is from Sunday morning. After photographing the sunrise, we (my father and I) went to the Oostvaardersdijk in search for some waterfowl to photograph. We saw a reasonable group of tufted ducks, but in the end I decided to focus mainly on the overflying geese, which contrasted nicely against the soft early morning sky caused by the sun shining through the clouds.
Today, most of the snow melted in the ongoing rain (at least here in Wageningen), ending the second period of snow this winter in the Netherlands. Fortunately, I took some time yesterday to take pictures while it was actually snowing again. I was looking for patterns and abstract forms in the snow, when I came across a large group of greater white-fronted geese. The geese were happily foraging in a meadow, and luckily they didn’t take too much notice of the strange photographer on his bike. I positioned myself in such a way that the geese made a nice line through the landscape and took some shots, of which one is shown above.
The nice thing about greater white-fronted geese, is that one of my colleagues (Mikhail Grishchenko) is studying them, which increased my interest in the species. They stay in the Netherlands during the winter, after which they migrate north. It is this spring migration that Mikhail studies, and especially the relation between the change in land-use in Russia during the last few decades, and the effect this has had on the migration routes and patterns of the geese.