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I decided to begin my story about Iceland with the great northern loon regardless. The choice was difficult to make as the meetings with the red-throated loon were probably even more exciting. I took into account also the Atlantic puffin, the whimbrel, as well as several other species, which now have their beautiful galleries on my website. And it’s all thanks to Johann to whom I am truly grateful and for whose knowledge and passion for birds and for Iceland I find no words to express my appreciation and admiration. To have such a guide through Iceland is an honor and a great luck, as without him my photography adventure in Iceland would have had much paler colors than the ones I’m going to present to you. Johann, thank you very much, and let’s hope it was not our last meeting, as we haven’t captured all the species of your beautiful Iceland yet…

But let’s get back to the great northern loon. It appears in Northern America and Iceland. It is bigger than the red-throated loon, which also lives in Iceland. The weight of a great northern loon reaches up to 4.5 kg with a wingspan of nearly 1.5 meters. There are many fascinating things about this bird, for example the fact that in Europe it can be found only in Iceland. The great northern loon’s population there is about 300 couples. For me it’s a new, rare species, but my fascination with it results from its direct observation. The great northern loon majestically swims in the center of a lake or pond against hills which are partially covered with low vegetation and snow hats here and there. The view is absolutely fairy tale-like, and on a background of it all there’s the great northern loon proudly swimming and tenderly singing its song. Watching this performance you can forget about photographing. I’m satisfied with my pictures of the great northern loon but I can assure you that they do not capture the whole beauty and charm of the place and the bird.  I managed to record its sound, but unfortunately it is not a single song of this bird, but mutual sounds of a couple of great northern loons. Nevertheless I would persuade you to view the gallery with the birds’ sound on, for a more complete experience of the described scenery and the charm of the place. And why was it possible to record and photograph these birds? Well, after I arrived at the lake, where a couple of great northern loons lived, I sat down on the bank and waited. The lake wasn’t big and I thought I might have an opportunity to take some pictures. In the beginning however I got interested in whooper swans, which were swimming so close to me that they did not fit in the frame at times. Normally I would be delighted as the whooper swan is not such a common species in our country, but not in a situation when great northern loons are swimming around and giving sounds carrying across the water. I record the sound. Fortunately either the swan or the loon sings at one time. Well, with digital sound processing I have two recordings at one blow. Maybe it’s the swans that I should be grateful to for the meeting with loons, as thanks to them loons grew more and more confident and swam closer and closer to me. That’s how the photos and sounds presented here were taken. My second encounter with the great northern loon took place on a much bigger lake, but to my surprise, a loon was swimming not far from spin fishing anglers. It was swimming away but its song was carrying across the water among the snow-covered slopes of the nearby hills. It’s a pity that I didn’t manage to record this very sound of the great northern loon. I wasn’t bothered by the fact that the bird was only just a small spot on the water. The view of the lake against colorful hills and the loon’s sound leave an incredible impression. I saw great northern loons two more times, but I didn’t have an opportunity to take any photos then. I think that the above descriptions explain why the text about the great northern loon is an introductory text to the photography trip to Iceland. What is also important it’s the contact with nature and photographing manner in Iceland. Here I will use a description of one photo (sorry, Johann, but it’s my gallery and I will confine myself to presenting just a description of your photo, not the photo itself). In the scenery of the hill and a mountain lake described above there is a woman sitting on the bank (with her back to the photographer).  A white sweater, a white lens on a tripod, so no camouflaging – simply a morning stroll in the bosom of nature.  Water fuzzily reflects the mountainside, and in front of the woman photographer, at a maybe 20-meter distance, there is a great northern loon swimming. They are observing each other, she captures this moment. The image is incredible and it captures the essence of  photographing in Iceland and the easiness of communing with wild, beautiful nature. Johann, congratulations on the photo, and I will get back to it in the future as it reminds me of my encounter with the great northern loon on the same water reservoir, and later on with  the red-throated loon…

Last minute news -06/2018 Iceland
My fascination with this bird was already shown in the description of my first meeting with the loon. That session was very short then, because the birds were hatching and we did not want to disturb them. Common loons are the birds that I can photograph endlessly and I am never fed up with. This time I could observe them as caring parents. Tiny youngsters always kept close to one of their parents. The other was involved in foraging for food. It dived every now and then, surfaced with the prey, then gently and lovingly gave it to its offspring and watched if the toddler would eat the meal offered. During one session the light conditions were not good, but the gallery changed its previous monotonous character, goes to the news and also to my favorites. My fascination with the common loon seems to be shared by the Canadians, who chose this bird as the national bird-symbol of Canada.

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