72 hours in a blind!

Got patience ??? –

.. is undoubtably one of the most important tools in wildlife photography. While sometimes it seems one may be waisting ones time, I have learned that if one give into the waiting game, animals start to present themselves: You discover a little birds nest nearby, you observe a fox that does its daily round to mark its territory – and if you are lucky the moment you are waiting for may come true. Some of the best images in my career happened after such long hours of waiting. 

After 72 hours this was won of the “golden” moments that made all the waiting worth while. Emil and I had scoped out a good nesting location of the snowy owls. It was a great Lemming year and there were many active nests near the town of Barrow in the northern most tip of Alaska. After acquiring permission to set up a blind the waiting game began. 

Wishful thinking

While I can loose my patience quickly with stuff that “unnecessarily” takes a long time, I can have the patience of an elephant after I get “hocked” on the idea of an image. Often I make different scenarios up in my mind. It becomes a collection of imaginary moments of whishful thinking. These thoughts nourish my desire to wait for those moments to materialize. 

Believe me. There are many times when I have waited for nothing. But the times when a wonderful image came out of it make the wait all worth it. In my career some of the best images came out of such stubbornness, where I just did not want to give up on the image. 


I quickly learned about the hunting pattern of the male, that would sit guard some 150 yards from the nest. He occasionally would fly from mount to mount to switch out his perches from where he would hunt the lemmings. The female would have the responsibility over the nest. She needed to keep the chicks and the last remaining egg warm.

But even she did get anxious once in a while. She had been sitting on this nest for  many weeks, through rain and snow and the daily harassment of the jaegers.

If a long time had passed where the male had not brought in any food, she seemed to try to motive him for the hunt with longing calls. Then when the male finally arrived after a successful hunt, she would change her calls to a kind of ongoing “purring” sound to encourage him to pass over the food. 

It was her job to feed the chicks. I watched the male try once in an helpless effort to stuff a whole lemming into the mouth of a chick. He quickly gave up though, just dropped the little rodent and took off for its perch again.


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Über Florian

Als professioneller Naturfotograf widmet sich Florian Schulz dem Schaffen von einzigartigen Naturaufnahmen. Seine Bilder werden in Magazinen wie National Geographic, BBC Wildlife und GEO veröffentlicht. Schulz stammt aus Süddeutschland und verbringt im Jahr durchschnittlich acht bis zehn Monate im Feld, um mit seinen Fotografieprojekten gesamte Ökosysteme zu dokumentieren.

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Florian Schulz Productions
Naturfilmproduktion & Equipment Rental in Alaska und Baja Kalifornien, Mexiko.
Florian Schulz
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Emil Herrera-Schulz
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