Archive for ‘December, 2011’

Frosty, Foggy, Freezing

I have just returned from a short trip to Germany and Switzerland. The weather over Christmas was not great, but on my last day I took this image in Switzerland.

I like the ambiance of this foggy, frosty and freezing scenery.

Once I have had time to edit  all the pictures from this trip I will upload the few pictures I took at the Zurich Zoo, the Basel Zoo and the Tierpark Goldau. In Zurich and Goldau I spent most of my visit in the fog 🙂

Vote for your Picture of the Year 2011 and win an Art Print

PLEASE VOTE FOR THE PICTURE OF THE YEAR 2011 by sending an email to INFO@SPERKA.COM. Thanks you.

Select from  http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011.

Same procedure as last year 🙂 Please select your Picture of the Year 2011 from all my Pictures of the Week in 2011. You can review the pictures at http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011. Then either send me an email, a blog message or a facebook message with your choice of image.  The voting process is open until the end 20th of January 2012.

On January 21 I will draw two winners from the group of people who voted for the winner image (with the most votes). I will also draw one winner from all people who voted regardless for which image. All three winners will get one Christian Sperka Art Print (11″x14″) with an image of their choice for free.

So, PLEASE VOTE FOR THE PICTURE OF THE YEAR 2011 by sending an email to INFO@SPERKA.COM. Thanks you.

Picture of the Week 52 – Walking the tight-rope!

This week’s picture of a male Bateleur was taken at Phinda Private Game Reserve, Kwazulu Natal South Africa.

To review all 2011 pictures of the week go to www.sperka.biz/potw2011/slideshow

About Bateleur …

The Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) is a medium-sized eagle. It is a common resident species of the open savanna country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Bateleurs pair for life, and will use the same nest for a number of years. Unpaired birds, presumably from a previous clutch, will sometimes help at the nest. The Bateleur is a colourful species with a very short tail which makes it unmistakable in flight. Immature birds are brown with white dappling. The prey of this raptor is mostly birds and also small mammals; it also takes carrion. “Bateleur” is French for “tight-rope walker”. This name describes the bird’s characteristic habit of tipping the ends of its wings when flying, as if catching its balance.

For more Bateleur pictures go to www.sperka.biz/bateleur

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012

Ke$ha (one of Nashville Zoo’s Tamanduas) and I wish you

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012
 Frohe Weihnachten und ein Gutes Neues Jahr 2012
  Geseënde Kersfees en ‘n ​​Voorspoedige Nuwe Jaar 2012
   Ngikufisela uKhisimusi oMuhle noNyaka oMusha oNempumelelo
    Feliz Navidad y un Feliz Año Nuevo 2012
     圣诞快乐,新年快乐2012年
     Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année 2012
    Schöni Wienachte und en guete Rutsch is neue Johr
   Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo 2012
  Cras et sem a Kalendis MMXII
 Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku 2012
Bonan Kristnaskon kaj feliĉan novan jaron

Try to identify the languages for these Holiday greeting – scroll down to see the answer.

I got this colorful, hand-made Christmas card from a Nashville Zoo fan in Argentina.
He incorporated 20 of Nashville Zoo’s species into the picture (Rhinoceros Hornbill, Caribbean Flamingo, Red Panda, White-cheeked Gibbon, Bengal Tiger, Ostrich, Cougar, Damara Zebra, Eland, Masai Giraffe, Baird’s Tapir, African Elephant, Giant Anteater, Red-tailed Monkey, Eurasian Lynx, Rhinoceros Iguana, Tuco Toucan, Ringd-tailed Lemur, American Alligator and Clouded Leopard). Well done and thank you Flavio!

And here are the languages from the Holiday message: English, German, Afrikaans, Zulu, Spanish, Chinese, French, Swiss-German, Spanish, Latin, Polish and Esperanto.

I will be in Germany and Switzerland from December 21 to December 29. All the best – Christian

Wildlife Photography – Rules – That’s It

Wildlife Photography – Nine Basic Rules

In last few days I have posted my nine rules of wildlife photography.
Click here to view them all!

I am convinced that if you observe these rules you can take some great animal pictures. They work in the wild, in zoos and with your pets.

If you have any animal photography related question please post it as a comment to this blog message. I will try to answer all inquiries with a special Wildlife Photography Q&A blog message.

Wildlife Photography – Rule Number 9 – Eliminate fences

Wildlife Photography – Rule Number 9 – Eliminate fences

When you deal with a fence between you and your subject get as close to the fence as possible without touching it (legal moves only, please :-). Extend your zoom to the largest tele setting and open the aperture full. The ideal situation is for your subject to be in the middle between the front fence and back

No Fence?
Yellow-billed Hornbill at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Wildlife Photography – Rule Number 8 – Avoid flash – use a flash-light!

Wildlife Photography – Rule Number 8 – Avoid flash – use a flash-light!

I do not like flash pictures. They are mostly flat and have no depth. In wildlife photography you have seldom the time for good flash setup (with multiple flashes). I’d rather use higher ISO and try my luck without a flash. A standard, handheld flash-light can help producing a glint in the eye of an animal and lighten up a dark corner.

Leopard Girl!
Small female Leopard at Londolozi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Wildlife Photography – Basic Rule Number 7 – Get down there!

Wildlife Photography – Basic Rule Number 7 – Get down there!

If you want tension in your pictures you need to get on eye level of your subject or even below. I find myself often laying flat on the floor when shooting in zoos. Many exhibits are below the observer. Good for observing, bad for photography!

Eye Level!
Corn Snake or Red Rat Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) from a private collection. Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Pictures of the Week 51 – I love bamboo :-)

This weeks’ picture is of a female Red Panda at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

To review all 2011 pictures of the week go to http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011/slideshow

More Red Panda pictures at www.sperka.biz/redpanda

About Red Panda

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs. It feeds mainly on bamboo, but is omnivorous and may also eat eggs, birds, insects, and small mammals. It is a solitary animal, mainly active from dusk to dawn.

The taxonomic classification of the red panda has been controversial since it was discovered. French zoologist Frédéric Cuvier initially described the Red Panda in 1825, and classified it as a close relative of the Raccoon (Procyonidae). At various times it has been placed in Procyonidae, Ursidae (Bears), with Ailuropoda (Giant Panda) and in its own family, Ailuridae.

Recent molecular-systematic DNA research also places the red panda into its own family Ailuridae, which is in turn part of the broad superfamily Musteloidea that also includes skunk, raccoon, and weasel families.

Red Pandas are not related to Giant Pandas, as the name would suggest, but they both love bamboo. The Red Panda picture was taken at Nashville Zoo and the Giant Panda at Zoo Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

This weeks selection for the “Picture of the Week” was made by a 7th grade World Geography class at Sunset Middle School in Williamson County, TN. Thanks for your interest in wildlife photography and conservation.