On my second day of nature photo shooting we went to "hunt" for European Bisons. Puszcza Białowieska (Białowieża Forest) is the most common place in Poland (aside from ZOOs) to go to if you want to watch them. The history of the species is the one with a happy ending. They were almost hunt to extinction, leaving no wild living animals in the early XX century. The last wild bison (of Bison bonasus) is said to be shot in 1921 in Białowieża Forest. From the small captive population in ZOOs (something around 50 animals) they were then slowly reintroduced to the wild in different countries in Europe (from 1951). According to numbers, Poland has the largest wild living population of animals - 1,212 are in free-range herds.
In the early morning we went to see 3 bulls, that were feeding just outside Białowieża village. They were very calm and I was able to get as close as dozen or so meters. I didn't try to get any closer. Later we spent a lot of time searching for bigger herds, in the end shooting two different herds of cows and calves. The weather was extreme, temperature at -22*C. And despite the sun shining it was really hard to stand and operate camera. With a light wind the perceptible temperature was around -30*C. Hands and feet were freezing instantly. Also my camera was having a tough time, sometimes refusing to work at all. It was the first time I tried to use it in such low temperature. Also my tripod mount broke the day before I arrived there so I had to make it work without it. To sum up, it was fun, despite the cold, but the photos didn't came out as good as I wanted them to. Most are blurry/soapy and I didn't set up camera correctly - I got too low aperture and with camera having problems with proper focus - it all gave up rather poor images. So here are few that look good enough to put them on the internet. :)
So.. Early this year I went to Puszcza Białowieska to try my wildlife photography on more professional level with hideouts and people who takes care of them - www.wildlifephotography.pl . They offer a wide range of different trips to "shoot" different type of animals. The organization was great and I met some really nice people. I had a bit of bad luck when it comes to weather - it was absolutely freezing cold with temperatures during the day between -17*C and -22*C. If I go next year (and I plan to do so) I will definitely need better shoes.. :) It was nice on one hand - sun on the first day worked really well with small birds at the bird feeder who were there throughout the day. But on the last day, when we were trying to shoot birds of prey it was not that good.
But in general I am very happy that I went there. Of course I was a bit sad that I didn't have better photo equipment, but that's a never ending story, really. I really, really hate the noise on my APSC, but it would be so expensive to switch to FF. :(
So here are some of the best shots I was able to make during day one. Mostly Tits and Woodpeckers. :)
Couple of days ago I spent 3 great days on a foto-trip to Puszcza Białowieska. I will made a separate full post with photos from the trip, it's just a teaser. :)
Somehow I forgot to put this here, a photo of a Northern Hawk Owl, disturbed while eating. Photo done during spring 2016.