Author Topic: Wildlife in Finland  (Read 2935 times)

simato73

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Wildlife in Finland
« on: November 23, 2016, 22:18:52 »
I have always dreamed of a trip to photograph bears and wolves in Finland since hearing of the business owned by Lassi Rautiainen:

http://www.wildfinland.org/

Maybe one day... hopefully in the company of Nikongear friends!

PS: Has any of our Northern friends ever done this trip/met Lassi Rautiainen?

Simone Tomasi

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2016, 23:27:04 »
I have met him several times.

He is an interesting character in many ways. However, these bear/wolves/wolverine set ups have become very hackneyed.

simato73

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 23:38:41 »
I have met him several times.

He is an interesting character in many ways. However, these bear/wolves/wolverine set ups have become very hackneyed.

I thought you might have met him... no idea how I got this impression, maybe you mentioned it some time.
Do you refer to his hides specifically or the concept in general?
Simone Tomasi

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 23:44:58 »
Both. Never participated although being invited,  but many friends and nature photographer colleagues have.

In fact, one can buy into pre-packed "wildlife safaris"  for sea eagles, whales, bears, wolves,  etc. these days. Such arrangements have become a cliché circuit and a lot of people with plenty of money follow every step. Not that this ensures their photography benefits though, on the contrary, from what I see when they apply for membership in the professional nature photographer's association, it'll do them more harm than being a benefit.

simato73

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 23:59:10 »
Both. Never participated although being invited,  but many friends and nature photographer colleagues have.

In fact, one can buy into pre-packed "wildlife safaris"  for sea eagles, whales, bears, wolves,  etc. these days. Such arrangements have become a cliché circuit and a lot of people with plenty of money follow every step. Not that this ensures their photography benefits though, on the contrary, from what I see when they apply for membership in the professional nature photographer's association, it'll do them more harm than being a benefit.

Never thought about it this way but you have a point.
I guess similar considerations can apply to African photo safaris (another thing I've never had the opportunity to do).
Simone Tomasi

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2016, 00:00:01 »
There is an undeniable similarity at play here.

MFloyd

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 05:47:05 »
I have never done any "wildlife safari", nor had a close look at what the "market" has to offer.  I guess it is like with everything, there are good and less good ones. At least I learned a new word: "hackneyed".... 😎
Ο Φράνκι δεν πηγαίνει στο Χόλιγουντ

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2016, 10:15:13 »
You're welcome
.... At least I learned a new word: "hackneyed".... 😎

You are entirely welcome. Glad to be of help :D

In my country (Norway), these wildlife shoots have become so trite clichés that attending them is bound to create suspicion about the photographer's creativity. Thirty years ago perhaps these motifs were fresh, now they are hackneyed. It has gone so far as creating a virtual lack of genuine wildlife shots, as everything is staged, controlled, and managed. The Norwegian Mail ordered wildlife portraits for a new series of stamps of Norwegian predators (bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx) only to find that most photographs had been obtained in Finland under what nature photographers, if honest, label as "controlled conditions".

There are a lot of dubious biological ramifications and disturbances to the ecosystem as well. For example, one can get massive concentrations of bears in a small area because these animals are fed carcasses on a regular basis. In turn, the animals exhibit a deviating behaviour by becoming aggressive towards each other. Good for action scenes, of course, but not for behavioural biologists. Thus, even though they are "wild" as in not being penned in, their behaviour cannot be used as any reliable documentation of the species and its normal pattern of interactions. Plus on occasion, a photographer makes a shot of a bear with tags or radio transmitter !! (a friend of mine did that and removed the transmitter in the image edit, causing a lot of problems for him later when the facts emerged).

BW

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2016, 11:19:29 »
This is an interesting topic in it self. I have friends that run these kind of businesses and I have never used them, claiming that making the animals habituated and dependent to feeding sites has no positive impact on wildlife in it self. The only one who benefit from these kind of ventures are those who run it. Pictures taken at this kind of sites has no creative or photographic value for me. It is no surprise that I am not a popular person among other wildlife photographers :)   

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2016, 11:40:21 »
Count me in as well :D

The worst set ups are those arrangements for sea eagle and bears. The animals are pre-conditioned to find food in a given place, and (as for the bears in Finland, where carcass is deposited on a bog opposite the hides, with a small lake in between)  simply associate clicking sounds of shutters with a juicy carcass ... Sea eagles are conditioned on the appearance of certain small vessels etc.

Wolves and wolverines are more random in their appearance as they cover large areas and won't stay put waiting to be fed. If they are in the vicinity, they might strike for easy food, otherwise they are roaming elsewhere. A hungry wolf pack or wolverine will chase even an adult bear away. However, that is an unlikely setting in the wild as animal density are many orders of magnitude lower than at these feeding sites.

Ethan

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2016, 14:23:16 »
Unfortunately, this is a very sad situation to have animals subjugated to the whims of humans.

I do not condone animals in Zoos or in Reserves or even in controlled environments. Unfortunately. such measures are sometime necessary to protect the animals from human behaviour.

It is the eternal human greed and such photographers are no better. Whether it is the Pizza Bear or the poor Dolphins lined up for a stroke and a picture.

These are not toys for children or adults but living creatures. They are part of us.

Killing an Elephant or a Lion for a picture or a trophy on the wall. Recently an award for wildlife photography was withdrawn from the recipient as it was discovered that the picture was shot in a reserve,

It just reminds me of the people in India or China or other similar countries where a couple of dollars will get the kids in any scene or composition you like. And they call it photography!

Shame!

Erik Lund

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2016, 14:25:33 »
What a sad turn of events,,, I would love to go on a Safari again - Especially remembering how much fun we had shooting back in 2009 in South Africa,,,
Erik Lund

elsa hoffmann

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2016, 14:52:56 »
South Africa is still here :)
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Erik Lund

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2016, 15:20:51 »
Thank you for the confirmation Elsa, they had me worried there for a minute,,, What about Finland, still there as well?

Next NikonGear event,,, Wildlife friendly shooting anyone? ;)
Erik Lund

simato73

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Re: Wildlife in Finland
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2016, 21:08:33 »
Even though I am aware that others seem to view the matter very differently, I'd like to say what I think about the business of guided wildlife photography (and about funding it as a customer).

What Bjørn said at the beginning is certainly true.
There are obviously a wide range of offerings, some more "natural" than others, to the point that some almost guarantee to deliver whatever they promised, but in general it is fair to say that "aided" hide photography and photo safaris have lost their originality long ago.

For many of these activities the customers should not fool themselves that they are experiencing the real deal, they are not. Also for those who would like to use the images professionally, care should be taken in presenting them; the ethical position should be that the photographer does not claim what these images are not, nor, by omitting information, let people/customers draw erroneous conclusions wrt the conditions under which the images were acquired.

However, most people taking these trips are not professionals and they don't have time or skills to immerse themselves in truly wild natural environment to acquire these images (and experiences) "the hard way". But they still would like to have something as close as practically possible to the real deal, and I see nothing particularly wrong in that.
At least, no more wrong than wanting to buy expensive glass that will not make their photography improve, or fast, expensive and polluting cars that are not 10 times better than cars that cost 1/10 the price (the list of examples could go on... expensive wines, and all sorts of status symbols).
With the years I have become less excited about images of wildlife (including my own) but I would still feel the thrill of being able to see and photograph macrofauna about their business (and especially apex predators), even if I am aware that the experience is somehow manufactured.

Regarding those that offer varying forms of wildlife photography as their business, I would think twice before casting sweeping negative moral judgements.
I agree that times have moved on and zoos are questionable in terms of ethics. People in favour may still have valid arguments in their support, but I think the general sensibility is shifting against them. Personally I don't find interesting shooting animals behind bars, but YMMV.

However this conversation is not about zoos, it is about businesses that offer clients the opportunity to see wildlife in their environment.
These businesses are certainly bringing humans closer to relatively intact wild places and doing so they are perturbing them.
But what are the alternatives? There are essentially no more truly wild, pristine places in the world. Even places that don't see wildlife tourists aren't truly free from Humanity, just think about all those remote places in Northern Canada and Siberia, or the Amazon, devastated by huge mining operations. Humans are growing in numbers enormously and many wildlife-rich places (Southern and Eastern Africa are prime examples) are under enormous human pressure (including man-made climate change, which affects profoundly places that hardly see any humans). In these places wildlife and the environment in general are under more pressure from other human activities and lucrative businesses like wildlife photography can actually have a net positive role in conservation, for example taking an active role against poaching and providing economic alternatives to more unsustainable exploitation of the territory.

Going back to what Erik said last, I would not mind some wildlife friendly NG event in the future, if I can fit it with my work and family.
Europe is better for me simply on the grounds that I have to travel less far.
Simone Tomasi