sometime people ask me which Czech zoo is the best and which I would recommend.
To those who simply love to take walk in a modern, wonderful park that keeps rare and also big and famous animals, I guess ZOO Prague is the total "must". It is absolutely professional, top facility which is running also fantastic and efficient campaigns to protect the animals in the wild.
However to those who are somehow "deeper" into zoo topics, I would surely recomemnd to visit zoo Pilsen (Zoo Plzeň in Czech), as it keeps many amazing rarities. And all of them in spacious, modern and photographer-friendly exhibits.
Today I woke up at 6 AM to see their incredible new addition - MY BELOVED HUMMING BIRDS!!! They became the only Czech facility that exhibit those marvelous creatures.
They keep them in smaller mesh aviaries, which are some 2-3 behind the glass, so the opportunity for the photographers is almost ZERO XD
And as I woke up very early and was the first visitor of the day, I could snap a Cape fox for you!
This animal is kept ONLY in zoo Pilsen
Living in completely dark nocturnal exhibit, it is usually impossible to take a photo, but I've learned that if you get there soon you have a chance to photograph the fox as the lights are still on for few minutes.
So I took my 30 minutes before the enclosure turned dark and did my best to get some images.
This male is quite old and once he dies, he will not have a successor of the same species so this might be the last chance to see this animal outside of Africa.
Oh and BIIIIG thanks for those who donated few bucks for the new lens, you made me so happy
Enjoy fresh photos from ZOO Pilsen and have a lovely day!
- I left the job I really loved and where I felt safe. I liked my colleagues and my bosses as well, however I was not comfortable with the only position they offered me ather the restructuring of the company. It was my first job, I spent there 5 years and only few months before I left, I would never guess I would ever feel like leaving. It taught me, that the quality of breakups matters much more than you might guess - if you handle the breakup well, it never puts a shaddow over the years you spent together. This was a nice breakup and I appreciate it a lot, thinking about this company every day in a nice way
- My other breakup lacked such elegance, but I still showed some good manners and strong personality when I definitelly cut - NICELY - one friendship that turned into something slightly slushy. Sometime if the attemps to save something fail, it is better to thank for nice memories and simply go on. I am very proud that I am not a bridge burner, but you always need to focus on your own future and possible future relationships
- And when I made such cuts, I somehow adapted a "well, it will work somehow finally" lifestyle, which was completely opposite to my previous experience! In few days, I decided to not ask for any job, instead I am self-employed. Just to try it! Giving myself a COMPLETE freedom promising that I would not regret if I give it up after the first month. But it seems to work a bit! I sell my service to some small agency, where I also learn many many many many new things + I have my own little projects
- I also needed some brand new experience - so I took my the first voluntary flight and spent 10 days in Malta, enjoying EVERY second. Eating well, sleeping well, shooting, swimming, diving...
- For the first time in my life, I also complelly changed the color of my hair - from blond to ginger I quite like it!
- I am just sad that of course changes bring a lot of stress - and I grew a lot of weight so in 2019, I have to lose at least 20 kilos to not be ashamed and to reach 40 without heart-attack
- The final days are quite bitter as I got some bad news about distant, but still very close and beloved family members. I can not stop thinking about them. But that's life, I guess
Therefore I founded Instagram account.
The show itself was neat.
I did not want to speak about it that much because when I allow myself to mention anything I long for, it usually has a really bad end.
But this time it all worked well and I can present some photos from my very first wildlife photography expedition!
I visited Helgoland with my beloved cousin and his wife, who both entered world of photography just recently, but they take it very seriously and have amazing results. I am the person for the animals - and I highly admire their images of buildings or landscapes. We went together with two other adult men and four kids, so it was a bit crazy group of nine
It was so amazing - we saw many things, even visited TWO zoos during the trip (Bremerhaven and Hannover, stay tuned for reports), some city included on the UNESCO list and went through two heavy storms (I LOVE storms). And we could explore the original WWII German submarine
The main target was Helgoland - two islands in the North sea, Germany.
The bigger one, Helgoland, is inhabited by 1 600 people, it used to be a Nazi base - they even planned to place whole German fleet there. During the war and also soon after, the island was heavily bombed by the Allies, you can still find the remains. So this part was interesting for men, but also for me. And the high cliffs are home for breeding colonies for sea birds!
The smaller island is called Düne - it is a beloved location of many animal lovers, as you can get really close to WILD gray and harbor seals there
If you want to, go though this little photoreport
HELGOLAND TRIP REPORT
The first day we just travelled by car to Germany, but the second day, we visited Bremerhaven - a long time dream of my cousin came true there, as he has been always fascinated with German submarines. We all took this chance and explored this original WWII submarine, which was turned to the museum. I bought a ticket for Marek, as it was also his birthday and guess which animal we spot when we arrived to the city? A WILD RED FOX! A wonderful healthy individual was running along the road. It took two seconds and it was gone, but it was enough for me to be very happy
In Bremerhaven, we visited also local zoo which is really tiny but keeps many interesting animals, such as polar fox, polar bear and three species of sea mammals. Then we moved to Cuxhaven. Although looking as a classic Czech village, our accommodation was in fact pretty close to the sea! I have never been close to the North sea, so I was happily running there... only to find only mud it was low tide. The situation is so different here - I am used to Adriatic sea, where you can barely notice the difference between low and high tide. But here those are meters!
The next day we left the car at the port, as no vehicles are allowed in Helgoland. We boarded a wonderful and modern looking ship. The weather was awfull, it was rather cold and slightly raining. But I still decided to stay on a deck, as I thought there was a tiny, tiny, tiny chance to see a harbor porpoise, a small dolphin like creature. And you know what? I SAW THEM!!!!!!!! those animals are not rare, but it is very difficult to spot them, as they don't jump like dolphins. They are very inconspicuous when they surface to take a breath and you can easily mistake them for a wave. So three times I saw something, which was obviously an animal, probably a sea mammal taking a breath. I was a bit disappointed as I never consider the observation real, until I am 100% sure. But then then the animal appeared repeatedly and I saw a tiny dorsal fin. No question - a harbor porpoise, such incredible luck! Of course there was not a single second to take a photo and I was also a slightly hysterical, so find at least a photo I took in Harderwijk this is exactly what I saw in murky brown waters of North sea.
And then we arrived to Helgoland. We just took few minutes to leave our bags in the hotel room and then we rushed to take a water taxi - every 30 minutes, a boat transport seal lovers from Helgoland to Düne, a tiny island where there are long sandy and pebble beaches, ideal place for the seals. I don't have to describe this, it took us several hours and we were in paradise. I was shooting wild mammals for the very first time and it was... incredible, although the weather was far from nice. Most people who arrived to Helgoland with us probably decided to take a break and visit the animals the other day, because we were almost alone with the seals. AMAZING!
This poor little harbor seals had some kind of rope tightened around its neck. We reported it and they called the seal expert to the rescue! Keep your fingers crossed for the animal.
To my surprise, we decided to not go to Düne the second day. I agreed with this decision as the weather got really bad - the strong wind was blowing blasts of cold rain to our faces. I loved it, as I dressed well and I think it was authentic to enjoy a typical local weather. The life on the island must be really tough. We climbed the cliffs to see both remains for Nazi base the island used to be and to photograph breeding colonies for the local sea birds. Sorry for low quality, the conditions were not that great
I soo enjoyed this, and I sooo needed this, pals!
Fantastic animals, new photo experience, nice company, some challenges, delicious food and a courage to feel happy and discover something brand new
Hopefully there might be a chance to have similar adventure in the future - no plans yet, but there is always hope
Have a nice day,
wow, we had terribly low temperatures in the Czech Republic in the past days! On Sunday, it was -15 °C and meteorologists even recommended people to stay at home if they can. What does it mean? That at 7 AM that day I was already lying on snowy and completely frozen field, trying to snap a running polar fox!
Thanks to one DA pal who was nice enough to address me with a special offer, I've attended my first shooting workshop that means we had three different foxes (polar, red and silver) running in the field, snow, forest or high golden grass freely, while we were doing our best to snap the best pose it also meant I met a group of people who were friends, knowing each other from previous similar events, but they were complete strangers to me. If you know me, you are well-aware how deeply introvert I am and that I am really stressed about new people. But they were soooo friendly! Being really passionate about photography, they had fantastic and very expensive technique - was just gazing they even allowed me to use me Canon L lens with 2,8 aperture for WHOLE the afternoon, advising me how to get the best from my poor efforts. I am very grateful and still shivering with excitement.
It was sooo cool but also cold! I have to say that although I had several layers of clothes, I even had to stop shooting at one moment, rather running on the field to get warm at least a bit. It was so freezing that it was painful so I've nearly missed the chance to photograph freely flying eagle, but I could not stand the pain anymore. A short run helped
I mean... I really feel I am moving with my photography a bit. At first a one day photo class that made my photos look much more colorful and I hope also interesting. I now really consider things like ISO or apperture and it is such a challenge! Now shooting in the nature - of course those were TAME wild animals, but still...
I am now hoping in my first truly wildlife photo trip - please keep your fingers crossed for me
GOD, I really want to buy Canon 70-200 L f 2.8 now!
Anybody has 2 900 bucks to spare?
Have a nice day,
Thank you, really, I am so grateful for such a great time!
Please give her some love, pals
And some of my attempts - the best pieces will be published as regular deviations, of course
- Reading: Cujo by King
- Watching: Superstar :D
- Eating: Ice cream
- Drinking: Coffee
This is the first journal published in 2018, so let me wish you all the best, good health, nice and strong relations with your beloved ones and some luck as well!
I decided to dedicate this year to „self-care“.
I will simply allow myself to spend some money, enjoy some nice new places, zoo trips, maybe even photo gear… I plan to enjoy some concert, some sport events and maybe even some big adventure – my first real wildlife photography expedition!
Now one personal thing – skip it if you want to.
It always helped me to share my feelings, but I understand some people might not be fine with that.
And as a part of this „caring about my own self“, I had to do one sad thing.
You know, I deeply despise people who are able to cut long-time relationships without looking back. I found disgusting and disconcerting how easy Facebook, Twitter and Instagram era makes this cynical „pals“ management.
Still yesterday I clicked on „remove contact” on Facebook to somehow close one 12 years lasting friendship in my mind.
The better observants might have noticed that I no longer mention joint zoo trips with one of dA members, who was a close friend of mine in real offline life.
It was one of those friendships which are deep, mutually beneficial and pushing both persons to new horizons, if you let me use some cliché
She brought me to DA – I brought her to animal photography.
I remember how we shared ONE crappy camera during our first zoo visits, taking turns when snapping pictures of snow leopards and arctic wolves so much fun!
She supported me when I was a nervous wreck during the last phase of my studies – and I kind of supervised her master thesis, saying that she is good enough to finish the studies, when she wanted to quit.
She kicked me to start losing weight, which surely made my life much better – I listened to her troubles with other friends, supporting her when she was down, fighting at her first job.
It was that kind of friendship when you met family members of your pal – you know what troubles her sister, who treats her father badly, you know how her other friend got fired etc. And she knows the same about your family.
We did not meet in person very often (usually only two times a year) but I remember how we both spent so much time to prepare the best gift for each of such rare meeting to make each other happy.
We both wrote fanfiction stories to please the other one with her own role
I got her support when my beloved granny was dying, she got mine support when her own family member fought with serious illness – luckily with a happy end.
After the last meeting in March 2016, she accused me of being addicted on her, saying she is afraid I would threaten her other friends or even her kids. I was gazing at the EMAIL she sent me just hours after we saw each other with disbelief and even a tiny portion of bewildered amusement, understanding that her accusation could be disproved just by time.
We had no contact ever since.
Nearly 2 years.
Can a person who does not know ANYTHING about the other one be addicted? it is up to you to judge.
But of course anyone can have its own view
I was told that sometime the biggest battles can be won by doing… NOTHING.
And believe me, when you are an active person, who is used to FIGHT to achieve your goals, doing nothing is VERY difficult and VERY exhausting.
I did so, honoring so many years of nice friendship with energy invested into silence.
It did not work in this case
I feel sadness – and I am GRATEFUL for such feeling.
It means I am normal. Because when a friendship that lasted years ends, it is a good and HEALTHY reason to be sad
I don’t want to say that I am quitting it completely and that I would not be willing to listen to her if she approached me somehow. There are still many ways – phone, e-mail, dA note.
But I guess it came time to do something symbolic to take care of myself.
I am not waiting anymore
Just keeping all those wonderful memories – and there are many
Unfortunately what I need to overcome to keep my psychical strength, is a result of the last presidential election I am still too… exhausted and sad to tell more, but expect some really devastated status post
Have a wonderful day, everybody!
Now there is time for a bird feature I promised before X-Mas!
I love birdies! I love them more and more and more
I also promised a feature for the contest winners:
how are you, pals?
I am fine, looking forward to the tomorrow's trip, which will include a roasted goose - Czech Saint Martin's tradition, which is related also to the first young wine of the year
I also hope to see some wild white-tailed eagles!
I am fat.
Definitely NOT as fat as I were few years ago, but as things did not go well since March, I got several kilos back due to stress and some lack of confidence.
Bad thing is that right now I can't kick myself to start losing weight now :/
But I plan a vacation of my dreams for 2018, and I can't enjoy it with status "hardly obese" XD so it's a good motivation to go!
And for you, I have some shots taken in zoo Ohrada
Have a great time!
we had the most important elections in the Czech Republic today, the results are already known.
I have no words to describe my feelings now.
Just a though: I can understand that some people might find very difficult to live in democracy, which is challenging and forces you to make choices every day, making you responsible while you are mostly on your own both in good or bad. But why can't those people found their own country with some charismatic dictator they long for?
Your scared Woxys
While waiting for results, I visited zoo Brno today. So some shots.
how are you?
I am fine and ready for the most amazing photographer's season - colorful autumn
Yesterday I attended a great event, the St. Hubert's ride.
It is basically a fox hunt - but without harming any animal of course. There are many St. Hubert's rides accross the country, so the one saw was one of many. Of course it is based on the hunting tradition, when both men and woman dressed elegantly to join the drama and enjoy the atmosphere. Great mood stays, but no animal is chased and torn apart.
In the first part, riders simply enjoy a long ride through the forests and meadows.
The chased "fox", in this case a person with a fox tail (fake or real) on its shoulder, prepares a number of tricks or natural obstacles for its hunters - for example a shallow river the horses must wade through or a fallen tree which must be overcomed by a jump. The hunters are led by a Hunt Master, who watches carefully for any little offence of any rider.
After they come back to the audience, where there is usually live music and food and drinks, the riders are punished for their sins - by eating and drinking of course
Then there come some little funny games, for example a jumping competition or a slalom, all natural, horses are not forced to do anything.
The weather dediced to be a bit crazy, combining rain, sun or dark clouds, but nobody complained.
It's just fun for both humans and animals.
The crowd is chearful, the horses are beautiful and the meals are just delicious.
Then comes the very last part - "Halali" is announced and all the riders break into the gallop in attempt to catch the "fox" and steal the tail.
The one who succeeds is the king of the hunt
Hopefully I will have to join also the next year, it was great!
See a little report
Have a nice day,
Fox hunt / Saint Hubert's ride 2017
The "fox" arrives after the long ride. You can see the Hunt Master in the background (in red).
I used this opportunity to learn if I can catch a quickly moving animal with aperture priority shooting. I can - even with old kit lens!
So you want me to jump over this high strange thing? How about no.
Horses were the stars of the day, being really admired.
Other discipline, a slalom. That hot guy on a spotted horse later became a King of the hunt
Don't you love horse's eyes?
"Fox" won the slalom.
Halali!!!! Catch the "fox"!
I promised some update with macro shot. I am a newbie and still learning how to befriend with my new camera and lens, so macro is other new field I have to study.
But I am working hard
Today I'd like to share some shots I took during my visit of tremendous Moravian locality - it's called Váté písky (Air-Blown Sands). It is a very special habitat, which is 6 km long and only 120 meters wide with a very frequented railway in the centre. It is extremely hot and almost completely tree-free with a thick layer of sand under your feet. This locality therefore attracts warm-climate prefering species such as rare types of plants, birds, spiders and insects. And every photographer knows that if you want to shoot a mantis, this is the right spot!
When planning your visit, don't forget you are about to enter a desert-like place (walking under direct sun, very high temperatures), so a cap and 2 litres of water are a total minimum. Expect nothing but nature, you might not meet a single person during 3-4 hours. And definitely no shop
The first time I went there, we ended up with begging some total stranger for anything to drink as soon as we made it to a train station with my sis
Even the aerial view shows the special character of the locality: mapy.cz/s/1ZEpO
Thank you for wonderful company, Kajula!
Have a nice day,
before you scroll down to see (if you want to) some photos of animals and flowers taken during my visit of my parent's weekend house, let me share a little feature.
When my camera broke down, some of you offered nice and valuable advices and I am grateful for that. Thank you, pals, your wonderful feedback cheared me up and was a true pleasure!
But offered me his own old SLR camera, Canon 20D, which was a shock! I already ordered Canon 700D, but I still appreciate such offer!
I think I owe him a feature - not just because of his kind offer, but also because he really inspired me, as now I REALLY want to visit zoo Wroclaw
New camera, new lens and new attitude - to become a photohrapher, not just a shot snapper - it means a lot of practising!
And weekend house of my parents, which is full of wild animals and wonderful flowers, is excellent place for that.
Have a nice day, everybody
finally something positive!
I read like millions of reviews on Canon 700D, my cousin also recommended this gear.
Checking the availibility of this body, I found out that Canon will probably stop offering this particular camera body very soon, as it already sells newer (and much more expensive) stuff.
The same day I got this information, I received unexpected financial bonus at work!
So I took it as a signal from space.
And I bought brand new camera body, whose quality should be very high, for incredible 430 USD
So please let me introduce Canon 700D and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4,0-5,6 IS II USM
Completely new gear - both camera body and lens! And finally not kit lens!
This deer was looking at me from the opposite side of the ravine. The distance between us was 80 metres (266 feet - for my British and American pals)!
Jay was 25 metres from me (83 feet).
A baby song thrush - some 5-7 metres (20 feet).
Some bug life!
Goat. Domestic one
And a butterfly!
Thank you for support, everybody! I can't wait to visit a zoo!
wanna hear a joke?
Somehow many things in my life are not going very well since February 2017.
I have a feeling that the more and harder I try, the bigger disappointment I get.
It's not anything super serious, and I know that it is only a phase which will come to an end.
It does not make me worried, just VERY very tired.
I simply have "bad months" instead of usual "bad day" everybody on this planet knows very well.
But you know what?
I bought that lens I mentioned in my previous journal (Any advice, guys? + BIG photo news!)
I simply said "for 7 years, you use just old and very cheap kit gear. Things might not be the best for you now, but make youself happy with this investment. You are worth it!"
I got the lens on Monday.
On Wednesday, my old little Canon 500D, the camera body, colapsed.
The repair might cost up to 320 USD, while the price of my original body was 500 USD seven years ago. So I surely won't invest such money into such old camera.
I am trying to find a solution, I will keep you posted.
So now I have great lens, but no camera.
I am not an idiot, I know that I don't deal with any serious health issue, job loss, death or ruined partnership.
But in Czech, we have a quote: "100x nothing killed a donkey".
Or a fox in this case
Just sharing, because this is so stupid that it forces a bitter smile.
Have a nice day!
as you probably know, all my photos have been taken with cheap kit lens Canon 55-250 IS.
It's so old that don't think you can buy this gear anymore!
Few days ago I fell in love with Canon EF 70-300mm f/4,0-5,6 IS II USM and since that moment, I've read like millions of reviews, all of them highly positive.
It seems to answer all my demands and dreams.
I believe that after 7 years of shooting with very cheap stuff, it might be time to move on.
The only problem is… well, price.
It’s not THAT expensive, in fact it seems to be reasonable for such quality, but I surely need to grab my savings.
I will keep some financial reserve but it still makes me a bit nervous, so I think about ways how to get some money back.
I got an idea – to sell some special mug (for 15 USD or something like this), which would be a wonderful contribution.
Do you think you would be interested?
If so, would you prefer some special motive? (wolves? Or combination of wolf / fox and big cat?)
Please don’t hesitate to drop me a note!
Just for inspiration, those are mugs I already sell
I have all of them and they look nice + the quality is great!
For years, I allow people to use my shots for references. I will still do that!
If anybody feels a motivation to please me in return, I am always grateful (thank you) for ANY Paypal donation
If you have any other idea what I can provide/offer to get some money (maybe not just here on DA), every such tip would be appreciated
I have much more animal species in my stock. If you are interested in some special animal, again, drop me a note, please. I will do my best to provide a good material.
That does not mean you are obliged to pay. NOT AT ALL.
But if you WANT to, it makes me happy.
And helps me to shoot more photos of animals.
And the big photo news?
The first photography "time to move on" step was my b-day present. My cousin, who recently got into photography and takes it VERY seriously, initiated a great gift. They paid a „Zoo shooting“ workshop for me although they were a bit afraid such present might insult me, when I visit zoos with a camera for many years, I liked it a lot.
A famous Czech wildlife photographer Petr Bambousek was our lector.
The advices he gave us definitely had nothing to do with discovering America.
In fact I knew most of them:
- To avoid making fence visible, get as close as possible.
- To have nice photos, try to have natural background behind the animal – no concrete, no metal bars.
- Don’t be shy to kneel or even lie down to get better perspective.
Quite obvious, right?
But since this moment, I somehow… try to apply it. It was a big kick and nice impulse.
And the most important change?
Petr helped me with camera settings. I never got to understand even those basic photography terms: ISO, aperture… blah blah. So all the photos you can find in my gallery have been taken by auto-sport mode! *Woxys is very ashamed*
He advised me to rely on aperture priority.
And… all the colors immediately changed!
The background got to be nicely blurred!
Photos looked like… well, photos
You know what?
Although you might find it strange, I’ve never liked photography that much.
All those discussions about the best gear and stuff… I was completely ignoring it.
But now, when getting some basic knowledge about camera setting and considering new lens, I finally feel like a photographer… a bit
If you want to, have a look.
All those photos were taken after (or during) the workshop – except for the first one, which is the example of the old style.
The last two photos even feature wild animals!
Look at those vivid colors, so much more interesting style!
I really hope I can bring you nicer shots in the future
I can’t believe that the last journal was published 6 months ago!
But let’s be honest, I wasn’t very active even when it comes to posting new photos
Ok, I’m still alive, kicking and ready to show you some animals, at least time to time!
This time I prepared a journal with shots taken in random German zoos, scroll down to check them
And some personal news?
Year 2016 was pretty awesome for me.
I’ve learned so many new things, my job offered so many challenges I went through with success and I was also finally promoted
I also managed to improve my relation with a family, so once again, nice.
There might be some serious loss too, but well, that’s life, I guess
There is one thing I am trying to learn.
Kind of new life approach.
In past years, I had in mind a motto/life style which was essential to Czech Olympic legend, marathon runner Emil Zátopek: “Getting tough? Try harder!“
I tried to follow it or at least felt guilty and as a loser every time I did not.
But I become to be aware that life is not about kicking yourself to TRY HARDER AND HARDER AND TO BE PERFECT EVERY TIME.
That it is not about denying your body needs or feelings.
That sometime you have all the right to feel tired, annoyed, lazy. That if you feel exhausted, you have all the right to spend a weekend in the bed, although there is a wonderful weather outside, which invites you to have a trip.
It is not about pushing yourself to edit and post photos on DA, when you are simply not in the mood and the only aspect which drives you is guilt or feeling of duty, not joy.
In the Czech Republic, biathlon is increasingly popular.
Also thanks to a very successful representative Gábina Koukalová, young lady who is so… sybaritic!
She obviously listens to her feelings, to her body needs. She is able to give cameras a naïve smile and said “yeah, after that race, I woke up at night, went to a fridge and ate a BIG cake and a big portion of rabbit fat. I am such a pig!”
She DOES want to win (and she wins!), but obviously she is well-aware that there are so many things which are way more important than winning races. And I believe this is exactly the reason why she is so successful and also popular.
I think Gábina’s life approach is worth to be followed.
So for this year, I decided to be less strict about my self-control. To relax when I feel tired. To have a chocolate bar when I feel exhausted. To not smile when I don’t feel happy.
To not save money, but rather buy stuff I like or to allow myself to travel a bit!
I’m not sure I wonderful 2016 can be repeated and I am rather nervous about 2017, as after “ups”, there are usually “downs”.
But let’s wait for the things the life would bring…!
Have great time!
Photos taken in Germany