The second night with the Bear and Wolverine in Finland
We got picked at the hides around 8:00 in the morning and after the walking the same way back to the Lodge, where we enjoyed a healthy breakfast.
We talked about the nights Bear and Wolverine experience and what seemed to have been a Brown Bear meeting here in Vartius. We could really call ourselves lucky. I know that we saw 2 different individuals but it might have been as many as 4. I would be surprised if all of the 4 sightings would have been different Bears but I am not an expert who can tell them apart.
After breakfast we had time to relax, take a nap or a shower before we gathered in the early afternoon to look at a selection of our pictures at the workshop. There was also an electric or a smoke sauna at hand but I´m not a sauna lover so I passed it.
I used the free hours to shower and clean the camera equipment so I wouldn´t have to do it in the hide like last night. I use my air rocket as often as possible to have a dust free lens but I suppose I really should send my camera houses to Nikon to get them checked.
I looked at some of my pictures to see if they were okay technically and decided which to show at the workshop. I don´t enjoy editing photos on my 12″ laptop but with a cold Lapin Kulta, or maybe two, and the company of Jan-Olav and Jouko time flew by. I listen intensely when Jan-Olav told Jouko some of the secrets of the trade. Jan-Olov work as a photographer and photo editor and I learnt things by just listening to their conversation.
A workshop is many things to me. I see it primarily as a place to listen to other person’s thoughts about their photos and where one can share ideas freely. I think the workshop we had was interesting and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Ingela had captured the Golden Eagle. I saw it when we was walking to the Hides but once inside it was gone for a time before it came back for a 10 seconds visit. I was unfortunate in getting focus on the twig in front of the Eagle so my 2 pictures were out of focus.
After the workshop we ate dinner and planned for the night. It was me and Jan-Olov in hide 4 this time. The hide was of the same type as the one from the night before but at a different position.
I had looked at the forecast earlier and it seemed to be okay for periods during the evening so one just could hope to be lucky. Unfortunately the clouds should gather again and give us cloudy skies until noon next day. I had hoped for moonshine but instead it seemed like I would get some hours of sleep.
Once at the hides we just throw our bags inside and then went over to Ingelas hide to celebrate her birthday with some Cava. Back at the hide we made the same preparations as yesterday. This time we did it a little bit faster and I also arranged the sleeping bag that I would use to warm myself with while waiting for the animals to arrive.
I used the first hour to just photo Gulls and their actions. I got this picture of one Gull “attacking” the other.
It was nice to be able to capture the moment but as you probably see I pushed the button a couple of milliseconds too late so the attacking bird isn´t sharp. But I still think of it as a funny picture.
We then had to wait for anything to happen and after 2 hours a Bear appeared and it stayed for almost 30 minutes. We had decent light during this period which was a big bonus.
When it came down over the small slope and I got this picture.
I think this is an interesting picture in which one can see the Bears intent with its strides and how it doesn´t seem to care about how the deep the snow is. It has a purpose and nothing will stand in its way.
Once it got back into the woods the light started to fade and Jan-Olov decided to get some rest. I stayed awake and to my luck the Wolverine appeared. I pushed the camera as far as I think would be okay to produce some decent pictures and even if this is ISO 4500 it’s still okay. I have removed noise, down sampled it twice and corrected the colors because they tend to be on the blue side when you have to use a slow shutter speed at night.
I did some more tries but soon I had to switch off the camera because the Wolverine was really active moving around not staying still at any time. It stopped so briefly before moving on so every picture is a blur of fur. Instead I watched it for 20-30 minutes while it ran around digging and I suppose eating. It is nice to sometime switch of the camera and just watching the animal doing its thing so to speak.
20 minutes after the Wolverine had gone a Bear appeared and I made some feeble attempt to get a picture of it. I checked the Histogram in the camera and saw that they wouldn’t be good enough. To dark photos with a high ISO means too much noise when I raise the exposure in Photoshop. Not the optimal combination I would say.
I felt it was better to fall asleep now. This decision meant I didn´t see the chicken race a la Bear style. Two bears had run straight at each other just 10 meters from the hide that Jouko and Margit used and they both were awake. One off the Bears changed direction seconds before a clash and ran straight into the woods. It must have been an awesome sight and I regret missing it but at least I woke up feeling refreshed.
The morning at the Hide was uneventful and we managed to get hold of Ari earlier so we could go back to the Lodge and get some breakfast. Another memorable night.