Finland, but no wolverines

Originally I went to Eastern Finland to photograph wolverines (Vielfraß in German, glouton in French, gulo gulo in Latin). They are a part of the weasel family, but look more like a mix between a bear and a ferret, or something like that – I’d show you a picture, but I have none. Well, actually that is not exactly true, I have one picutre from 2011 when I saw a wolverine in the Grand Teton backcountry, but while the experience was magical, as a photographer I am not happy with the result. Or rather not happy enough to share it in public. If you’re on my couch drinking tea with me I’ll show it to you.
Anyway, wolverines are elusive as heck, which is why most people have never seen one in the wild, even those who spend a lot of time outdoors, so I am happy to have seen not one but two (and within a space of two weeks) in 2011, even if I did not get the images I wanted. Wolverines do exist in Finland close to the Russian border, however, and there are some people, like the lovely Sabrina Logeais, who provide hides so that photographers and wildlife watchers have a chance of seeing the little devils; and usually people do see them. I didn’t. I was in the hide for six nights and had no luck.
Which sounds terrible, but is also entirely untrue. While I had no luck with wolverines, which is very unusual based on what Sabrina told me (in fact, there were wolverines at Sabrina’s hide the two nights I spent in a different hide), I was very lucky in other regards. I did see and photograph quite a few Finnish bears and a Finnish wolf who came to the hide a few nights in a row, which apparently is also highly unusual. Below you can find some of the results, more will be posted on my website shortly. I hope you enjoy the pictures.


Exhibition Opening “The Bear Essentials”, April 03 2016, Café Vogelfrei, Mannheim, 2 – 4 p.m.

After my Freiburg exhibition closed last week, I already have a new exhibition coming up. Under the titel “The Bear Essentials” I will be showing a selection of images from the “Bear with Me” exhibition at a vegan cafe in Mannheim, Cafe Vogelfrei, from 03 April till the end of June 2016.

The exhibition opening will be on Sunday April 03 from 2 p.m. (14 Uhr) at Cafe Vogelfrei in the Quadrate (C3 20), Mannheim. I will be at the opening to answer questions about the images, sell them 🙂 and there will be a bit of sparkling wine. I hope to see many of you at the opening.

"Botched Mating Ritual," one of the images in the exhibition.

“Botched Mating Ritual,” one of the images in the exhibition; available as a limited print in an edition of 100.

Finissage Bear with Me, March 18 2016, 12:30

This post is in German because the event will be in German as well.

Am 18. März um 12:30 wird die Finissage zu meiner Ausstellung “Bear With Me” im Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg stattfinden. Es wird etwas zu Trinken und zu Essen geben und ich werde durch die Ausstellung führen und etwas zu einigen der Bildern sagen. Da wieder veganes Essen (von Kraut & Rüben Catering) und Getränke angeboten werden, wird das Event 7 bzw. 5 Euro (für Mitglieder des Carl-Schurz-Haus) kosten. Ich hoffe der Eine oder die Andere schafft es früh ins Wochenende zu gehen und auf dem Weg noch auf der Finissage vorbeizuschauen.
Bei Interesse können die ausgestellten Bilder direkt gekauft und mitgenommen werden (die Kosten fürs Catering gehen in diesem Fall auf mich). Nähere Infos zur Veranstaltung sind auf der Einladungskarte zu finden.

03_18_Finissage Bear With Me_Einladung.indd

Pictures from the Opening of “Bear with me” on Jan 28. in Freiburg

With my exhibition safely on the walls until March 18 and a very positive review in the local paper a few days ago (see my previous post), I finally find the time to share some images from the hanging and opening of the exhibition.
All of the images (except for the first three, which are mine) are copyrighted by Rudolf Fehrle.

Article about my exhibition in the Badische Zeitung

The Badische Zeitung, Freiburg’s newspaper, printed a very nice article about my current exhibition today (Feb. 10). You can read it online here – at least for a few days. I will upload a scan of the printed article as soon as I get it.

PS: I am not sure what they did to my image online, but it looks like a truly horrible HDR file (which it isn’t). You can find a version with a correct color space here, and, of course, see the bear the way it’s supposed to look like at the Carl-Schurz-Haus until March 18 :).

“Bear With Me” Exhibition opens in four days!

I’ve had a busy week and a half, preparing all the images (many of them ones I haven’t exhibited before), sending them off to Whitewall to have them printed, ordering mattes and sticky boards (which cost an arm and a leg – I am surprised each time), and preparing the texts that will accompany the images. In the remaining days I only need to mount the images, frame them and arrange them in the Carl-Schurz-Haus. Needless to say, I am quite excited to have a large exhibition again and really look forward to the opening on Thursday evening.

To give you a preview of what you can see from Thursday night till mid-March – only much bigger, better displayed and all around prettier and more awesome – here are a few of the new images. A few other are “animalscapes,” big landscapes with small animals in them, which really only work when they are printed large, so you will have to come to see them at the Carl-Schurz-Haus. I hope to see you there!

Spirit Bear Peeking through Fallen Tree Branch

Spirit Bear Peeking through Fallen Tree Branch

Trans-Alaska Pipeline North of the Atigun Pass

Trans-Alaska Pipeline North of the Atigun Pass

Display of Affection (Polar Bear and Yearling)

Display of Affection (Polar Bear and Yearling)

"Treed" Black Bear Cub

“Treed” Black Bear Cub

Exhibition “Bear with Me,” January 28 – March 18 2016, Carl-Schurz-Haus, Freiburg

This year will open with another exhibition of my photographs at the Carl-Schurz-Haus in Freiburg. The focus of the exhibition is on what is perhaps my favorite animal, bears. It will include pictures of grizzlies, black bears, spirit bears, and polar bears which I have taken in Canada and the U.S. over the past seven years (or so) as well as some shots of their habitat.
The opening is on Thursday January 28, 2016 at 7 p.m. I invite each and everyone to attend. Below is a digital version of the German invitation card. Click on it to get a larger view so you can actually read the text.

Bear With Me Invitation

Oh Canada! B.C. and Alberta Governments Plan to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

B.C. Wolf in the Great Bear Rainforest

B.C. Wolf in the Great Bear Rainforest.

In another sad attempt by politicians to fix the ecology informed by simplistic cause and effect science that has been proven wrong about 50 years old, the B.C. government has started a wolf kill in which 180 wolves are to be located by the radiocolars some of the wolves wear to make them trackable by scientists, then shot from helicopters. The official idea is to protect the last surviving woodland caribou, which have been severely decimated by … you guessed it: humans, not wolves; habitat loss to be precise.

Here is an idea of how senseless these measures are: The U.S. National Park Service stopped what was cynically called “predator control” in the 1960s, and in fact reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1998. This has been one of the greatest success stories of human animal control of the last decades, simply because it meant less rather than more control of an ecosystem that has developed through co-evolution over millions of years. Not so the B.C. government, or the Alberta government, which has killed over 1000 wolves since 2005 according to Alberta wildlife photographer John Marriott (that is the entire wolf population of Yellowstone and then some each year for the past 10 years!), and apparently politicians are considering stepping up their game by killing even more wolves so that they do not have to stop human habitat destruction. The whole procject is, of course, not only highly unethical, but also scientifically unsound, and pointless. As Canadian researchers have shown in a paper published only two months ago, there has been no effect of the Alberta mass slaughter, other than a thousand dead wolves, of course (see here; the site also gives other good reasons to oppose the killings). A sad day for a country with some of the greatest nature, but sadly not the greatest track record of protecting it – to put it mildly.

So what can we do?

If you are in BC or Alberta, write to your governmen, call them, visit them. Make your opinion heard. If you are neither in BC nor in Alberta that does not stop you from writing to the provincial governments, of course. Since they are not your (or my) representatives they probably won’t care too much about our votes, but they may care about our tourist dollars. After all these pay for the wolf killings. Many voices promising to boycott the two provinces may make a difference. They certainly will not hurt. Tell them you had planned to go to B.C. / Alberta this year and that you are now reconsidering. If you hadn’t consider it, consider it now, then change your mind. Wyoming, Montana and Colorado have beautiful mountains, too, as do the Alps for that matter. And Washington State also has a nice temperate rain forest. Pacific Wild’s website has a link to a preformulated email with the right addresses for B.C. here. Marriott has the Alberta addresses here. The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals also has sample letters and addresses, here and here. All these sites also have more background as well as other links which support the point that the wolf kills are not only unethical but show no effect on the caribou population they are supposed to save.

You can also support the folks at Pacific Wild, Ian and Karen McAlister and their supporters, who have done more in recent years for B.C. than most by donating money to their campaign to stop the wolf kill.

If you cannot give money and do not want to write, you can also sign their petition, which takes about 2 seconds. Over 100,000 others have already done so. It may not make a huge difference, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Thank you for caring about these wonderful and intelligent creatures!

Grand Teton in Winter

My first ever real post (and one that the stats of this page tell me people still come to through search engines) was on Grand Teton National Park, so now, a little over four years later I make another about Grand Teton. And, it will even include another picture of Andy Chambers’ Ranch (though not the Moulton Barn which I called the most photographed barn in America back then). However, even more so than Yellowstone, Grand Teton is a much, much less crowded place in the winter; for most of the photos I was on my own, which is what wildlife photography is supposedly all about, but which in the more popular parks, especially close to the roads, is not the case rather often or at least not for long.

In summer Grand Teton is a “sunrise place,” the Teton Range runs almost entirely from North to South, so the morning light creates rather intense alpenglow on the mountains, which makes it almost impossible to take a bad photo if one is up at the right time. The only trick is finding a suitable foreground. It also means, however, that it is almost entirely impossible to get a good picture of the mountains in the evening, unless really crazy cloud formations happen. In the winter, however, the sun sets so early, and thus so far to the south, rather than the west that you can get some decent light on the mountains till rather late. No comparison to sunrise, but still worth taking pictures of. Since I had fog or snow or clouds 7 out of 8 mornings while I was in the park I am very glad about this (I had at least two good evenings). The rest of the days I was faced with throwing my plans over board and dealing with the kind of light mother nature dished out to me, which is one of the challenges, occasional frustrations, but also rewards of nature photography. To say the least my images are very different ones than the ones I had expected, but some of them are pleasant surprises that, I hope, go beyong the clichés I described in my original post.

So without further ado, a my mix of my images from one morning, two evenings and several attempts to deal with less obviously mountain-centered light in Grand Teton and the National Elk Refuge right next to Jackson.

PS: There is one more post coming up with more photos from Yellowstone after my return from Grand Teton. At this point, however, I have 4253 images which I haven’t really looked through yet so it may take a couple of days.

First Impressions from Yellowstone

While I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, looking at a moose chewing its cud in the driveway (cf. my previous post), I spent the last days of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 in Yellowstone National Park, and will be going back up on Friday. I’ve been to Yellowstone and Grand Teton three times before for extended periods, but never in the winter, something I have been wanting to do for years, and it is indeed special. It is quite cold, one day it was -33° C (-27 Fahrenheit), which makes photography both less pleasant, particularly when your fingers feel like they are getting frostbitten, and more so, since it is beautiful, pristine, and much less crowded than in the summer so that there is a chance for one on one or almost one on one wildlife encounters, something which in summer is almost impossible if one is anywhere near the main roads. I only spent four and a half days in the park so far, but it has been a fantastic four and a half days with bison (who always look somewhat boring in my summer photos, but gorgeous in the snow), deer, elk, moose, wolves (very far away), pronghorn, big horn sheep, and otters. I have only seen coyotes at a distance and surprisingly no foxes or squirrels, also very few birds.
Below are a few shots from near the Northern road which leads through Mammoth Hot Springs and the Lamar Valley and ends at Cooke City. It is also the only road in the park open to private vehicles during the winter, everything else is open only to snowmobile or snowcoach tours, in case you were planning to come to Yellowstone in the winter as well.
As always, feedback both positive and constructive, and image orders (!) are welcome. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will open an image gallery that you can click through.

Please pardon the number of images, after going through nearly 4000 images I couldn’t decide to cull any more.