Posts by: Falk
golden lion tamarin
The name is actually not that strange as it seems. Take a close look at its face. It’s got the expression and shape that resembles a lions face although not the eyes – the mane does the rest. Like those little critters! Shot through thick glass at the Zürich Zoo so images are not particular sharp. As all the sorts of lion tamarins their population is constantly decreasing due to Barzil clearing off their rainforest.
A short trip to visit my oldest and one of my dearest friends Alex in Zürich, Switzerland. The last time we met with our families was five years ago so it was about time for an overdue visit. The kids hit it off emidiately although Josh und Juliette can’t recall the last time they met. Sunday was time for the Zoo in Zürich. A Wonderfull park and so huge that we only saw about two thirds of it. Not much time for planning pictures and waiting for photogenic poses when you go with the kids and friends, but I got…
wagtail on the hunt
Wagtails are very common around here. Wherever there is water and some bushes you will most likely find one of them, patrolling the shoreline, jumping into the air, flapping and catching insects. Overcast and a little windy, plus the tendency to wiggle and wobble through the air made these shots a challenge. Focus was slow, so was my reaction and I would have needed more focal length to get closer.
Goose as a race seem to be very vehement when it comes to guarding there territory. As soon as other goose appear far at the sky, they start shouting and threatening the new arrivals. Especially the Egyptian goose seems to have this habit. As there is only so much space on smaller lakes the confrontation is unavoidable and only a question of time. Here are two pairs colliding at the ruin of Mühle Renigishausen. Beavers seem to have build a dam and flooded the forrest behind. A really nice spot, but mostly in the shadows.
From time to time I just have to shoot the moon. As much as I love the song by Mando Diao I do love the moon itself. Still unbelievable that humans have already been there. Fun fact: According to the Lunar Society I do own a claim up there, about the size of two soccer fields. Well… unlikely that I will be up there any time soon. Till than the pictures will have to last.
If there’s water, there will be life! In the last couple of years a lot of renaturing efforts have been made around Offenbach. The Hainbach has been “renaturiert”, hence they broke up the sleek and straight riverbed and generated sidearms that will overflow when enough water is present. This generates new sanctuaries for flora and fauna and animals like beavers are coming back. Same was done in a larger scale at river Main. New sidearms have been created. While it still looks a little bald around the new formed ponds, life seems to get there quickly. Felled trees with clear…
…once more. The more time I spent in the woods, the more of these funny birds I find – or at least their laughing sound can be heard everywhere. This was not so shy at all although he spottet me first and flew off a few meters. Sneaking up and moving very slowly he did not mind me anymore for a couple of seconds.
magpie vs blackbird
Rainy day and not much light. Usually not a day for good pictures, so I went out to the Gradierbau and sat in one of the beach chairs reading a book. Blackbird started yelling his alarm signal as two magpies came close to their nest. It even went after it and started attacking one magpie. I was in no good position to get a good shot, but the action is captured with distracting backdrop, high ISO grain and too high position…. next time I get myself out in the rain and down on the ground.
Just like the changeable weather, which overwhelms you with new moods every minute, it is just as wild and unsteady with the geese. There’s a bang every few minutes. They scold and threaten each other, flap their wings and chase each other across the lake. The graylag geese are naturally outnumbered and so they flew away to have their peace. Don’t know about you, but those grey geese along with its cousins, the domestic goose are the most beautiful and I alway look closely if I can spot Nils and carrot his hamster… 😉
Two weeks ago I took a rest and got a seat in one of the beach chairs around a Gradierbau. Reading on my phone and enjoying the sun that finally made up its mind and came through the clouds, I heard buzzards call a fews times. Suddenly I noticed a huge bird landing in one of the nearby pine trees. I jumped to my camera and turned it on blindly not taking my eyes of the place where the bird landed, approaching it slowly. There it was: a big buzzard, right above a bridge that leads over river Usa and…
Bad Nauheim – some impressions
Three weeks are over – one more to go. Bad Nauheim is a really neat place. The the vast park(s) and the hills around are all beautiefull and are photogenic, but most impressive features around here are the Gradierbauten. Salty mineral water is pumped from the fountain to the top of those structures and runs down over the stacked up blackthorn branches. Healthy for you lungs and in the early days salt was harvested this way. Here are a view shots from my iPhone.
My rehab sessions are distributed over the whole day leaving me with scattered breaks of a few minutes to a hours each day. Today there was not enough time to go out during noon, so I watched some wildlife photography tutorials on YouTube. Suddenly I had a feeling that someone was watching me and noticed a movement at the edge of my perception. Yes! A sparrowhawk was having a break as well on the nearby clinic roof. I stumbled to the closet and got my cam out, throwing all my neatly hanging cloth off the windowframe that I put there…
This tiny bird can be found nearly everywhere in our hemisphere although spotting one isn’t easy. With its prefect camouflage it repeats the pattern of moss and bark and is almost invisible when not moving. A true master of climbing, it moves quickly up trees an branches hunting for insects. This particular one got a spider with its web out of an old apple tree . There are different subspecies with subtle differences that are hard to tell.
playing hide & seek with a blue jay
Love these blue jays! They are quite common and besides looking beautiful, they are clever as well. Usually they always show up in pairs or couples and always keep a fair bit of distance between them and us. This one was no exception: As you can see on the pictures, it alway flew off and hid behind some branches peeking back at me, observing what I would do next. I know, these pictures are far off the norm and are no good in terms of classical wildlife photography rules, but I really like the outcome – probably due to me…
This is the second time in my life that I met a kingfisher. The first was about 10 years ago while walking along the Heinbach. Suddenly there was a tiny blue shimmering spot on a brach over the water. Turned out to be one of them and it was gone so quickly that I hardly trusted my vision. Was it really a kingfisher? Whenever I come back to the Heinbach I hope to meet one again and having my camera with me. Truth is, that I almost spent half of the first covid lockdown – almost half a year –…
The nature around Bad Nauheim is really great, especially the Jacobsberg with its “Fallobstwiese am Steinberg” – a classical meadow with apple trees that has been taken over by NABU and made ready for birds and nature to do its thing. During my few days here I visited this spot almost every other day and right at my fist visit I was greeted by two buzzards taking their turns far above my head. Yesterday I heard their call but it took some time till I found both again and they were near the old spot. Explanation to this: they got…
no singing in the rain
blue tits bad feather day
Weather is a changing and it feels like april already. Lots of wind, tons of rain and constant chasing light. I love this, although my lens seems to have some issues since the last rain shower. I looses contact with the camera, resulting in an error. Have to check the bionette which seems to be a little loose. A slight turn and it registers again, but already cost me two shots. Birds don’t seem to care much about the conditions… how could they? Although these blue tit had its bad feather day, after the shower. Kein Drei-Wetter-Taft in sicht. 😉…
A new bird that I saw a while back but had no clue what it was as it was always too far away of me too slow. A Wacholderdrossel as they are called in German. Lucky me met took my chance and went out as soon as the rain stopped for a couple of minutes. The whole family consistent of a couple that is building a nest right across the street of my rehab was very busy in collecting material like grass, sticks and hay. Once new material is dropped into the nest, the whole buddy is used to shape…
a moment with robins
First day of my rehab gave me time to explore the woods around Bad Nauheim. Skiwiesen is a lovely spot and next to it the NABU had taken reign over some old “Streuobstwiesen” and the whole spot screams Owls and it is a paradise for most birds. Here are some pictures of robins that showed as much interest in me, as I had in them. Don’t ask me what happened to the one with its beak on the wrong side of its head. Guess it was shaking hard, as it was raining a bit prior to this shot.
Same day on which I had the luck to meet both relatives of the woodpecker family and this fellow was sitting quite low on trunk. Doesn’t it look very stern? Light was not the best so I had to crank up the ISO and used some tools to make those images look nicer. Location: somewhere between Maunzen- and Jacobiweiher.
They are quite a common guest in the woods around here and they are not even hard to track down once you learned about their call; it sound a little bit like a high pitched laughter. The hard part, is to get a decent shot of the green woodpecker. Quite shy, it stays in the upper reaches of the trees, despite hunting for insects on the ground. So it would take patients and time to get this right. I am not at the point where I am ready to spent a day in a hideout and wait for the bird…
This was an early trip to Maunzenweiher mostly due to the time change – summer time, although it is still freezing at night. I sadly missed the dispute between two goose couples. Basically they were fighting for being close to me, as I was having a croissant for breakfast. They had been lamenting and shouting at each other for minutes when finally one took off darting at the other couple. Lots of spray and splash and then they went off the other direction, leaving me with my croissant on the muddy floor and this one shot that depicts one goose…
Taking a longer walk from the Schlosspark Rumpenheim back home this buzzard was waiting on a tree besides the dam. I was on the dam and on the perfect eye level – sadly it was facing the wrong direction and the sun was right behind it. Too late I noticed that is was actually a couple, but having Spike on a leach dragging me away it is wonder that I even captured it. A lot of retouching later…
We got quite used to the grey herons. In the last ten years you can find them around almost every billabong, but the white ones, especially the bigger ones, I did not encounter the frequently. This one was very shy and when I crushed into the scene with my bike and its screeching brakes, it was clear that he had a keen eye on me. Half the way on the ladder to the nearby perch it flew off and left me with at least two nice images. Need to learn how to approach shy animals.
The big advantage of living in a metropolitan area is that you basically are never alone, even in the woods. With the Frankfurt airport nearby and big autobahns like the A3 crossing our region it is even never really silent and so the animals adopt to people and noise and sometimes are not shy at all. I passed this nuthatch on my bike and when I turned and unpacked my camera it was sitting there, just watching me as I was aiming and shooting a it. Truth to be told… this does not happen this often and I spoil and…
mandarin duck fight
Ahhh mating season! Although these shots were from last weeks visit to Maunzenweiher where it was still freezing cold (see the ice the birds sit on?) the first spring feelings among the mandarin ducks were already sensible. There was a lot of pushing, shoving and fighting going on among the colourful drakes. It was almost noon but sun was weak and hanging low, if at all. Most of these shots are retouched and still are far from perfect, but they tell the story.
I’ve been working at the Dögelmühle in Karben for more than twenty years, crossing the Nidda almost every day. It had been a more or less straight channel, with trees and vegetation cut back in order to provide unhindered flow. The effect of this is that you hardly could see any water birds that usually show up such places. Luckily a certain area had been renatured a few years ago and those measures seem to show effect: ducks, coots, swans and cormorants I found. One of the latter was resting in the middle of the stream on a sunken tree…
I never thought about taking pictures of animals at Friedrichsweiher. I have been living close to it for all my life and am well aware of its fauna, but somehow I always believed it is too busy with its playground, screaming kids and dog walkers that shouldn’t be there at all. Yesterday, when the weather picked up for a short time, I went there to shoot the young egyptian goose offspring, I noticed three weeks ago. The youngsters had already grown exceptionally well, although there were only 8 left, of the initial 9. Probably a stray cat or the fox…
Crows are everywhere in Offenbach. They are smart, get quite old and tend to rummage through waste bins. This fellow found a peanut on the ground. No time to observe it any further, as the Spike was running ahead, while the kids were heading in the other direction – photography takes time and patients…
The kids got their school reports and as a tradition we as a family do something special on that day. We went for a nice asian buffet (we ate far too much) and headed for the Frankfurt Zoo. When we arrived, it was raining and only about two hours left before it closed, so not the best signs. The images you see here were all shot with high ISOs and were partly very noisy. I had to push them through a few tools and so they are all heavily altered. The all new enclosure for the penguins is great. All…
Cold and slight sleet showers were not the ideal weather to go for a shoot, but I needed to get some fresh air and went for a walk to a nearby lake called Maunzenweiher. Usually there are a lot of ducks and a few herons around, but this time I even noticed two cormorants. I wrongly took the grey feathered head for a sign of age, but it is just the opposite: this one is young fellow – and although a lot of people were hiking, jogging and walking around the lake, it was again me stopping and pointing a…
Yardbirds and squirrels
A walk in the ISO-park…
… well, actually it is called the Fasanerie in Auheim (near Hanau) which is a wild park. Took my new Nikon D7200 for a walk, along with the family. No sunshine, low clouds and my trusty old Sigma 150-500mm that tends to be not the sharpest at 500mm. Usually I dial it down to 400-450mm and it will go up to F 5,6 or more. Bad conditions that would have been for my D90, but the D7200 cranks up the ISO on its own, when set to auto-ISO and that was the right day to test how far I can…
May I introduce you to one of the my beloved bird friends. This is Robin or Rotkehlchen, as they are called here in Germany. They are very common and are all but shy. Quite the opposite: they are very curious and are not afraid of getting close to you. Whenever I come across one of them, if feels like it is rather watching me instead of me watching it. This little fellow didn’t even move when I approached him with my bike and stayed when I hit the my squeaking brakes and stopped a few meters away from it. He…
Following Tin Man Lee for quite some time, it was only about two days ago – while bringing the kids to bed – that I read his great guide about taking sharp picture. Immediately I felt the itch to grab my cam and go out hunting again. The next morning after kids where out of house, I dusted off my cam bag and – oh wonder – one batterie was still holding some current. It was about than that I realized it is a good idea to take the batterie out, as the cam drains them, even when not turned…
The rooftop sides of our house are pure glass with wooden frame structure. I remember, as a kid, when birds would try to fly in not noticing the glass and ending with a loud thump on our balcony. Depending on the speed and the angle they hit the glass front they ended up in a wide range from broken neck and dead to just dazed. My parents had those stickers of large birds of prey silhouettes on every big window and they helped a lot. About 10 years ago they were coming off and I replaced them with Space Invaders…
I don’t have words for this kind of incidents: death belongs to live and without it there would be nothing. You know that a lifespan has and end – sometimes very abrupt sometimes you see it coming. In case of Dexter there were signs. During the last half year he went from old but active to very old and somehow sluggish, though he took his duties in ernest: barking at the postmen, looking after the kids… he was brave and never complained. The cancer won over and raptured his liver, so it was time to see the doctor for the…
the storks of Werben
Werben is called the city of storks and this is not without a reason. While stroks appear more and more around here in Offenbach, they are still not a common view. Werben, with its vast, lush Elbauen right in front of its gate is a feast for storks and so they come to raise their breed; every year and they go back to their old nests sometimes not without the trouble of fighting off some new occupier. There are more than a dozen nests on roofs and poles around Werben.
From the dike outside Werben you can have a good view across the Elbauen. This ist true for both: humans and animals, hence they are quite used to people passing by and don’t care that much if there are still about 100m inbetween. I spotted this roebuck ind the distance right when i climed the dike. Sneeking up to it took me 30 minutes. Luckily an big old oak tree gave me some cover and so I got close enough for pictures. As most of its kind, the roebuck spent most time with its head down eating, so I chose…
Werben is the smallest Hansestadt of all. This really helps the fact that it does not have any big port and the population is slowly decreasing as there is not much infrastructure around. On natures side this is a big advantage. We strolled through the Elbauen (meadows) to the so called “beach”, let loose, let the kids play and just relaxed and enjoyed. Wind was picking up and the big clouds rolled it. Needless to say we got really wet, but the picture were all worth it.
along comes molly
Together with my sister, we visited the Wildpark Schwarze Berge and they do have flight show, sporting a range of birds, from owls to birds of prey. This is Molly an almost adolescent eagle, a really impressive animal. Light was gone due to some upcoming clouds but Molly was on the slower side of things and gliding majestically over our heads.
Kestrels in the fields
We spent ten days at Hilgernriedersiel and our appartment was located right behind the second dike with a roof window that gave view towards the meadows. Everyday I saw a couple of Kestrels hunting in the fields and I tried a few times to get close enough to get a decent shot. Than, after a lot of misses and fences that I was not alowed pass one Kestrel sat down right at a pole, a couple of meters away from us while we were going home. I tried to calm the kids and told them to stay silent, duck down,…
I promissed Marie to take her to the beach later in the evening, alone, without Joshua, so that we both can enjoy the nature and so we went for a longer walk at Hilgenriedersiel. We were lucky as it was one of the most beautiful sun downs that holliday. Far away at the horizon you can see Nordernay and its lighhouse. The atmosphere was pure magic and I shot a ton of pictures….
There’s a red moon on the rise…
Lately there seem to be many cosmic things going on. Wasn’t it at the beginning of last year, that we had the blood moon in the sky? The special thing about last time was, that the moon was on its nearest proximity to earth. Anyway, this time around the spectacular happened around my usual getup time. Although being really cold outside, I stuffed my gear on the rear balcony and could get some more or less decent shots. I am really out of practice, when it comes to photography. Need to do it more. Who else?
One week off, with friends and kids in Schwarzwald. This did not sound like I would have time nor the chance to shoot wild animals at all but these images tell a different story. Fortunately this squirrel was as curious as our kids are and so I had some time to frame the shot. It was used to people and came quite close. The next day, we returned in order to meet it again and we were not disappointed. Besides, squirrels don’t like eating apple that much. 😉 One week off, with friends and kids in Schwarzwald. This did not…