Yesterday I had a go at making an animated GIF made with an image sequence. I used the free ImageJ multi platform and open source Java image processing and analysis program, utilizing the plugins StackReg and TurboReg. Without the registering or alignment the animation would be rather jumpy since I was handholding the camera and lens:
Here is result after registration (using StackReg):
It is always great to see your images published and this week I had the pleasure twice. The danish web media on science videnskab.dk is visiting Greenland at the moment. They are using a sequence from my Greenlandic postage stamp muskox turned into a nice gif animation.
Three days ago, I placed a camera trap at a fresh musk ox carcass. The night after I placed the camera, we had a polar visiting the research station. Due to work and weather I was not able to check on it before although I knew the batteries would not last for three days. I hoped the polar bear would have found the carcass and that I could catch some photos of it there. When I came to the camera trap today, I found that the bear had indeed been there. The carcass was moved arround and so was the trap!
The bear had snapped the ball head socket and the small pelicase with the camera was lying 50m from where I placed it. When I picked it up it was heavy and I realised that it was full of snow. Back at the station I brushed off the camera and dried it up a bit. With a new battery, it worked fine. Unfortunately it had ran out of power before the bear came but I got some nice images of arctic foxes.
Today, I am rounding 1000 days at Zackenberg Research Station. For the last eight years and a few months, Zackenberg has been a big part of my life, and I feel very privileged to have been able to spend so much time in what I consider the greatest little place on earth. I have met many wonderful people here and had some fantastic experiences with nature; most of them pleasant, many of them exiting and a few of them somewhat dangerous. Working and living for long periods in the world's largest national park is very special. What is going on in the outside world is no longer that interesting but the weather condition and the state of the nature certainly is; where the musk oxen are, how the foxes are doing, whether this year had more snow than previous years becomes hugely important. The senses are amplified and you live in "the now" and almost get a "personal" relation with the place. The more time you spend the stronger this relation grows. Some people may think it would be boring to spend so much time in such a moderately little place but every year brings new experiences; nature is wonderfully diverse and never the same.
Also, the daily newspaper Politiken had a feature on Zackenberg yesterday. Again with a some photos of mine. I do not have the URL handy.
This years late snow melt have given some photographic opportunities with high concentrations of wader birds and geese in the few snow free areas close to the station. We have a couple of "house" barnacle geese hanging around the station buildings. They have gotten pretty used to people now and allow for rather close approach. I have been photo hunting a bit on the sea ice after ringed seal and managed to sneak up on one. Forty meters is still a bit long even with my longest lens. I therefore placed a photo trap at the seal hole but it seems to be using its other holes afterwards. I will probably need to rescue the camera tomorrow as puddles are starting to form on the snow on the ice. I want to set up a photo trap at the place I captured the image for the stamp hoping for more musk ox activity. But there are quite few musk oxen in the area.
I found the first muskox carcass of the season the other day. It was from a recently dead bull, so it was on top of the thick snow still covering almost the entire valley. We are expecting to find quite a lot more when the snow disappears, but this year it will take a long time. Yesterday, I heard a radio beacon from one of the collars we have on muskox cows. Two of the collars no longer transmit position via sattelite but we hope the collars are still logging positions and that we may be able to retrieve these via UHF radio. First we need to find the collars though (hopefully including muskox) and this is attempted by listening for the VHF radio beacon a few times pr. day. All other the functional collars are out of range of the VHF signal so there is still hope we may get a chance to find the disfunctional ones as they may also be out of range at the moment.
Yesterday the little male arctic fox that had spent over 24 hour sleeping between the station buildings died. I had photographed him day before yesterday and did notice that he looked a bit scruffy and stiff legged.
When I went to check on him yesterday afternoon, he was lying on his side and no longer reacting. I felt a little sad but it is part of nature and even those tough little survivors do not live forever. When I had a closer look it seemed he was rather old. His incisors were missing and the canines were quite worn. I put him on the scales to find his weight of only 1.85 kg. It was a rather little fox and perhaps the one we have seen during the last couple of years nick named the "3/4 fox". He did interact with another fox the day before yesterday, displacing it from some bits of interesting food items. That other fox may be the one that took shelter under the houses last spring. I'm not sure you can recognize individual foxes and we don't artificially mark them. During spring they loose their winter fur so their coat changes all the time. The dead one is now in the freezer and will be used as scientific samples.