Trip Report: Bavarian National Park

Lone Wolf
Originally uploaded by DigitalHeMan.

Spent the last five days in the Bavarian National Park with FotoCampus on an expedition to photograph the animals and landscapes around there.

The park itself, covering 200 hectares, is a “Tier-Freigelaende”, meaning the animals housed there (over 45 species) are able to roam freely within their allotted enclosures, and care has been taken to simulate accurate living environments for each species.

The animals are enclosed within fenced areas, mainly to provide safety to the visitors, but also to protect the animals from the natural food chain that would otherwise be in place. Some of the animals represented include red deer, otters, wild pigs, wolves, bison, owls, lynx, beavers, wild cats, and brown bears. In terms of photographic opportunities, we concentrated on the brown bears, wolves, lynx, and wild cats.

The park is very popular with photographers, as it is one of the only places in central Europe where so many types of animals are accessible by visitors, whilst at the same time being able to roam freely. This of course creates many photographic opportunities, although this sometime is accompagnied by a long wait for some action.

We were lucky with the weather, as although there had been no recent snow fall, the temperatures were still around zero, and there had also been no rain, so there was still ample snow on the ground in many parts. This of course meant we needed to use some exposure compensation to avoid the snow influencing the scene, but the benefit of digital is that this is relatively simple to calculate by using the histogram on the back of the camera.

Since the park is spread over a large area, a lot of walking is necessary to reach the animals we were interested in. The wolf in the photo accompagnying this blog was at the top of a hill around 2km from the car park – and after pulling the beach rolly loaded with all my gear up quite steep inclines to get there, I was ready for a break before we had started…..

This shot was taken with my D200 and 200-400mm F/4G VR lens attached. Since the light forced me to use relatively long shutter speeds on occassions, the need for good technique was evident. It was difficult to get the nice sharp images one would expect from such a lens, and I really needed to work on my long lens technique in order to get good results. Still, after 4 days of trying, I think I am beginning to appreciate exactly when and how to use the lens.

More in a later blog……

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