This month's theme, selected by last month's winner, scottashley, is Living on the Edge. From Scott, "Life in the wild is often about living on the edge. With winter coming on, survival for most animals is a matter of keeping warm and finding enough food. Predators must track down or scavenge enough food to avoid starvation. Their prey must outrun, outfly or out-swim predators to see another sunrise. Some animals live in harsh conditions where survival is a day-to-day struggle. Others live in rugged, steep environments where a careless step can mean death.
Photos for this month's contest should capture animals living on the edge—in harsh environment, harsh conditions, dangerous circumstances, pursuing or being pursued—to survive.
NO captive animals, please, since they are living in controlled environments."
RULES: --Post up to 7 images but only one image/post --Include shooting info so we can learn from each other --Previously posted images are welcome - but not previous contest winners --When posting please do so by hitting the ‘reply’ link below this top post, not the reply link to another post. --Include a title in the subject line --Capture must be shot with a Nikon camera and any lens --Comments are welcome but NO public critiquing, i.e., how to make it better. This is a contest so PM's are a better way to offer feedback --WARNING posts that do not meet the spirit of the challenge cannot qualify as finalists, and may or may not be removed by the moderators
The top images will be selected by the previous months winner and be included in a poll for members to vote for the winning photo. The winning image with be added to the Wildlife Contest Winners Gallery
Albert J Valentino Nikonian Moderator Emeritus Vantage Point Images Mastery of Composition is the Key to Great Photography
Wed 05-Dec-12 09:34 AM | edited Wed 05-Dec-12 09:58 AM by vizz
This photo was taken in February this year, during an exceptionally cold spell in Croatia, with temperatures under -20°C. The river in the picture froze almost entirely, leaving only a narrow passage for the swans.
As we all know, eagles would rather wait for another eagle to catch a fish and take it away than to catch one on their own. An eagle is always on the edge trying to get enough to eat with other eagles around. Nikon D800, 400 mm f/2.8 lens, 1/2500 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, -0.3 EV
Thu 13-Dec-12 06:17 PM | edited Thu 13-Dec-12 06:22 PM by Morris in MT
Coyotes survive the harsh Yellowstone winters by "Mousing". The deep snow does not keep the busy mice and voles from going about their business of surviving. With their keen hearing, some predators, such as this coyote, can hear their prey scurrying around under the snow. When they think they have a fix on the little guys exact location, they leap high into the air, and come down face-first into the snow, and catch the unsuspecting rodents. This fellow was successful with this leap, but the follow-on shots will not be posted, in deference to the faint-of-heart!
Sun 16-Dec-12 04:44 AM | edited Sun 16-Dec-12 04:46 AM by Morris in MT
I appologize for the double-post! I tried editing my original, but didn't know there was a time-limit to editing a post! I loaded the first post of this photo from my Gallery, thinking the large version would be perfect for the forum, but it is too small. So, if the moderator would please pull the first post, I would appreciate it!
This is a coyote looking for a meal in the frozen foods section. I may try this technique the next time I go down the frozen food isle at the grocery store.
D80/Nikon 80-400mm/400mm at F5.6/SS at 1/250th/ISO 320
I was witness to this interesting encounter between a young wolf and a band of big horn rams in Yellowstone a couple of years ago. The rams did not seem too concerned with only this one wolf. They stood their ground, and the wolf eventually decided not to press the issue with them. Lucky for them the other 6-7 wolves of his pack, who were on the other side of the ridge in the background, never joined him. The outcome could have been much different.
As the snows of Yellowstone get deeper, finding food becomes more and more difficult. The Bison's massive head seems epsecially well designed for shoveling through snow to find just enough food to keep them going another day.
D80; Nikon 80-400mm (I think!); 280mm; F5.3; 1/350 sec; ISO 320
The sure-footed Mountain Goat certainly knows about life on the edge! These Billies were about 200 feet above me. I was zoomed in to 300 mm and this is a slight crop from the original, so it is a little difficult to get an appreciation for the cliff that they are climbing up. I was so amazed at watching them go up this cliff that I almost forgot to take some photos! They are simply amazing animals.
D80; Nikon 70-300mm VR; 300mm at F 5.6; 1/200th sec; ISO 640
I couldn't decide which I liked best, so figured I might as well submit both! This is a continuation of the same shoot as above, but with one more Billy tagging along. I was shadowing a band of about 8 or 9 goats who seemed not to be bothered by my presence. In fact, the closer ones were somewhat curious. But I think that these three Billies decided that I was too close, so they made an exit by way of the cliff behind them. A lesson learned for me; not all mountain goats are as tolerant of humans as others, so don't push in too close.
D80; Nikon 70-300mm VR; 300mm at F5.6; 1/200th sec; ISO 400
In the fall migration starts with the small birds making there way south, followed by the hawks that prey on these smaller birds. Here a Northern Harrier is chasing a Palm Warbler through the bush. This time the little one got away. Taking with a D300 with 300/4 afs and TC-14e f8@1/1000, iso 400
Tue 18-Dec-12 03:32 AM | edited Tue 18-Dec-12 03:34 AM by Lunastar
I captured these two deep woods bucks as they fiercely fought over a nearby estrous doe! As you can see the right buck has had a tine broken off and what you cannot see is his punctured right eye. The left buck sustained a slight puncture just visible under his right eye.
Thu 20-Dec-12 02:03 AM | edited Thu 20-Dec-12 02:47 AM by cocavaak
This hawk caught a small bird and flew into the tree just outside my window to feed. He was about 10 feet away. He's got a small morsel in his mouth. I'll post two. D700 Nikkor 28-200 f/8 1/250 @200 ISO 6400 Joe
>>Como ca va Jean-Pierre? > >>What lens did you use, and how far away were you? I see >you >>have the 300mm f2.8. Was it that one? >> >>Charlie >> >Ça va bien Charlie ! >;o) > >I use a 2.8/300mm VR1 >+ a big crop ! >
Well, it seems to work. Gotta get me a 300mm fast prime. I do have a 7-300VR that is pretty good. Don't think it is quite that sharp.
Bon nuit mon ami. (Took French in 1961, a little rusty. I was able to barely get by in Quebec in 2006)
Why “on the edge”? Wikipedia (in Finnish-language edition) says that ospreys accept almost any habitat provided that it offers water for fishing and trees for nesting. In the outer archipelago of Finland big trees are few and far between. Instead these ospreys have built their nest on an edge-of-fairway mark on an underwater rock. The juveniles must be capable of controlled flying and landing the first time they try.
D800E, Sigma 50-500mm@460mm, 1/2000s, f/10, ISO640. Shot handheld from a moving sailboat in about 2-ft swell.
Fri 28-Dec-12 06:32 AM | edited Fri 28-Dec-12 06:33 AM by Antero52
Fish in Finland must survive under a sheet of ice from December to April, with very little light or oxygen. This perch received an invitation to dinner from a mink, but the dinner is likely to be the last one for the perch. Mink (Neovison Vison, formerly Mustela Vison) is not an indigenous animal in Finland. Minks have been imported from America to fur farms but many have been released by careless fur farmers and animal rights terrorists. The American mink has driven its smaller European cousin (Mustela Lutreola) to extinction, at least in Finland.
Fri 28-Dec-12 07:01 AM | edited Fri 28-Dec-12 07:02 AM by Antero52
Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus) is the smallest corvid living in Finland. They live in old forests, far away from cities, but in winter they show their opportunist side, seeking contact with humans and even accepting food offered from a hand. Their winter-time diet consists mainly of food they have collected in warmer weather. In cold weather they minimize heat loss by fluffing up their feathers to a hairy ball. When hunters die, their souls continue life in Siberian jays. Therefore, if a hunter kills a Siberian jay, he'll lose his hunting life forever.
This photo is from a ski run in Lapland in early March 2012.
Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) feeding chicks, with no time to stop.
Why “on the edge”? Swallows are the last migratory birds to arrive and the first to go, with only a few weeks to get the next generation ready for a long flight to Africa, south of the Equator. Another reason for the rush was a kestrel circling above, with the treeless island offering very little protection. The cross on the unknown sailor's grave was the closest equivalent to a tree.
Helsinki 2011. The first and so far the only successful hatching of Eurasian eagle owls in a city. One female and two male owlets hatched in February and learned to fly controllably in early May. I am sad to say that one of the parents and two of the three juveniles have been found dead, probably after hitting windows or wires.
Each of the three owlets fell once from their nest, and had to be returned to the roof, eight stories above street level. At this point they could glide gently downwards but not attain more altitude. This one landed on the signpost of Southern Fried Chicken.
D90, Nikkor 24-120mm@120mm, 1/180s, f/4, ISO800. April 20th 2011.
I love signs with a twist, misspellings, irony, etc. Wish I could have taken this one to add to my collection. Probably the only way that I could get to Helsinki would involve our TSA at some point. I would rather drive 2,000 miles both ways than to mess with them.
That reminds me. Coming home on Christmas, I stopped in a rest area, and saw a family with a pet chicken that they had out of the car to walk. Potty break? Never saw that before.
In Rocky Mountain National Park I was tracking this coyote pair hoping to catch some mousing shots when they came across this carcass from a winter-killed elk. I wouldn't want to have to spend my winters like this!
Although only a few months old, these mountain goat kids can scramble up and down mountains with ease, leaving photographers like me gasping in amazement—not to mention gasping for breath at this altitude!
This mountain goat was scrambling up and down cliffs in the clouds, and a slip would've meant a fall of about a thousand feet. This is actually shot from above looking down on the goat several hundred feet below, with a long dropoff to the valley floor below—mostly obscured by clouds.
This mountain goat nanny and her kid are searching out mouthfuls of plants in the alpine tundra at about 13,000 feet, well above the height at which trees and bushes stop growing. They're perfectly at home there and have little fear of human beings.
Mon 31-Dec-12 02:37 AM | edited Mon 31-Dec-12 01:45 PM by dm1dave
This is also a fairly deep crop from the D300 frame – giving me even more virtual reach.
Estimating my position using Google maps, it looks like I was about 370 feet (120 yards or 112.7 meters) from the bird give or take 50 feet or so. He was pretty far away.
The lens is a 400mm f/2.8 so the f/5.6 is wide open with the TC attached. Not too shabby for shooting wide open with a TC – there is a small amount of noise visible in the shadows and water but that is due to the fairly deep crop.
I have a Nikon 1 V1 now so I hope to get a chance use it this year (for even more "reach") as there is a tree just behind this eagles position, that is a favorite roosting area, that is usually just out of reach for quality shots.
Just for reference, here is the un-cropped unprocessed frame.