Almost gone part III
Saturday, 9 December 2017
Welcome everyone to the third and last couple of Alpine Ibex images from this year. When it comes to finding a good composition and a proper framing for my images, I always pay most of my attention to my point of view. The point of view actually defines what can be seen in the picture and what can not be seen. And that's by far the most important thing in photography in my opinion. Since the ibexes live in a quite interesting habitat (which plays an important role for the creation of my images) and they are less shy than other Central Europe wildlife (which allows me to move around carefully), I'm particularly looking for good perspectives there, which leads to a lot of running around on the slopes always trying to foresee where the animals will appear and putting myself in right palce at the right time. And since the light is also crucial, of course, I'm basically shooting in the evening and in the morning hours. Of course, it's much more easy to photograph the animals in the evening, because I can observe them all day long and I know where they're located. In the darkness of the very early morning hours the main challenge is to spot them before the light comes up. But once I discovered them, I try to keep them in sight all the days, but of course I have to leave them every evening.
I was lucky enough to experience some dramatic clouds above this stunning backdrop already during my first evening. What a great start it was.
Right at the edge between light and shadow.
I was already observing the herd grazing on this mountain meadow for some time and I intended to create that kind of an image of the animal in front of the glacier lake with the harsh shadow of the nearby mountain on the water surface.
In spring they scratch themselve a lot to get loose of the winter fur.
Actually Alpine Ibexes are rather big and tough mammals, but in front of the massive glaciers of their habitat they can also look extremely tiny and vulnerable.
They only chance to find them in darkness (I try to avoid the use of a headlamp) is when they are located at a ridge where they can be spotted as silhouettes towards the sky.
It's definitely impressing how they can easily move on slopes which are almost vertical.
There was very intense rain this day and the animals found shelter under this rock wall and just tried to stay dry while the heavy drops fell down right beside of them.
Gentle colors break through the clouds at dusk.
Again I deeply enjoyed my time up there in accompany of these impressive and charismatic animals. Although, especially due to the very short summer nights, these trips are mostly very exhausting they are always extemely delightful and can offer quite good photographic possibilities. Hope I could give you all a little glimpse of the life of these mammals and you could enjoy some of my images. I'm definitely looking forward to my upcoming trips into this particular area looking for "my" ibexes.
Almost gone part II
Tuesday, 5 December 2017
As of now the second Alpine Ibex series is ready for you. As all my ibex photographs, also all the images you will see in these three sets have been taken in the mountains of the High Tauern National Park. This park is Austria's biggest and covers large areas in the states of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol but I took all these photographs in the Carinthan part of the national park. To my great delight I was accompanied by my partner Sabine on my first 2017 tour at the end of May and we were blessed with very inviting sunny conditions. So we took it easy and did some small hikes during the days after/before I focused on the animals in the morning and evening hours.
This was the only time so far I had the pleasure of a close encounter with a female ibex and a few very young ones. Basically they hide in unaccessable terrain and are very shy. So I was very excited about his fluffy experience.
The conditions were lovely that evening and the ibexes grazed on a meadow in front of the great backdrop with the glacier lake, the mountains and the fast changing clouds and light conditions. I knew it would make a great picture if one of the ibexes would pose on this particular rock. So I approached extremely carefully to get the view I wanted and started waiting. And once more one of the animals finally did me a huge favor and placed himself right at the top of the rock for a brief exciting moment.
A spectacular scenery as the last light of the fading day broke through the heavy clouds and the majestic animal appeared at the horizon. I knew immediately that I would like to get this kind of a shot, but I was not located right to get this view and the ibex was moving rather fast. So ran down the slope with my long lense and just took a few images as quickly as I could and I got my intended composition. But since my heart was beating fast and I was heavy breathing from the run and the light was already pretty poor I struggled to get a pin sharp image.
Although they spend most time of the day grazing on the meadows, it seems that they highly prefer rocks to romp around.
This particular image is actually an older one, taken in 2016, but I just noticed, that I never published it here on my website. You can also find this picture in my 2018 calendar.
No matter how steep a slope might be, the animals can handle it with ease.
A big buck posing in the morning sun in front of a glacier lake.
The day fades in gorgeous light as a lone ibex takes a rest right at this ridge.
Although they seem to be pretty relaxed most of the time, they're always attentive.
Of course, in the mean time there's already lots of snow in the habitat of these fascinating animals and the toughest time of the year lies ahead of them. So, I hope they are all healthy and doing well, so that they can make it through the hard mountain winter. ... hope some of you will check back here soon for the third and last image set.
Almost gone part I
Saturday, 2 December 2017
Finally I managed to go through all the Alpine Ibex images I took during the last year. Since this is my most productive project and since I've been up in these mounatins again for a couple of times, I'll post three sets here showing some of the shots I got. Not that much words today, just a few images of one of Austria's most charismatic animals. Hope you enjoy.
Still lots of snow up there at the beginning of June.
The uncommon sunny conditions in the mountains during my first trip in 2017 forced me to limit my shootings to three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. So I tried to make the best out of the situation and sometimes the animals also cooperated like this lovely subadult rascal showing me his breathtaking home.
A pair of quite impressive horns of an older male.
As you probably already know, my preferred way to capture ibexes are small scale silhouettes.
Beautiful animal in beautiful evening light. Due to the surrounding high mountains there are only a few little spots where soft warm light illuminates the slopes.
There are no better conditions like low clouds battling with the sun.
Close-up of a dispute between two males, taken at 145mm.
In German the "ibex" is called "Steinbock" which actually means "stone buck". Guess why ;)
Much appreciated, thanks a lot.
For those who don't know, Alpine Ibexes have already been almost lost. They've been hunt extremely close to extinction in Europe by the beginning of the 19th
century. Only about 100 individuals survived in Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park. In 1924 the rewilding of these mammals in Austria started. Now there are about 4,000 individuals in Austria, most of them in the areas of the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern.