As some of you might now I have been trying out a new eagle hide in southern Norway. The hide is located in a beautiful place called Dalen in Telemark county (see map below), and is run by Jostein Hellevik. Dalen is a stunning place with lots of snow, hills and wildlife. It has a lot to offer all year, but in winter it is all about Golden Eagles!
I visited the place already in September and was asked for advise on background and construction. When I came back in December I was really happy with the result. The hide is very spacious and has four openings for large telephoto lenses. It is possible for four people to stay, but ideally it is made for two photographers. There is a oven keeping you warm and the view is great!
My experience is that getting to and from eagle hides in the mountains is that it can be a real challenge with lot of equipment. Jostein is a experienced snowmobile driver and takes both equipment and photographer to the hide in ten minutes. The only hassle here is the cold wind on the nose, but I can handle that. On the way up on my first day we crossed lots of animal tracks - including fresh Lynx!! In fact the hide is called "Gaupebu" meaning "Lynx cabin".
From the first day there has been Golden Eagles at the hide. No day until now has been without eagles. This hide is dedicated to Golden Eagles, and there is a lot of them. I had four different birds, but I believe up to 7 different birds have been identified. Most of them are young, but also older birds are frequent.
I was in the hide on one of the shortest days of the year, but still the light was stunning. The background is a beautiful reflector, bringing all changing colors to the scene. I was shooting most of my images with Nikon D3s, using the 200-400mm and the 500mm. Especially the zoom was great as it gave me the choice to include more of the background.
Note about the background: a couple of days ago, wolf tracks were recorded just on the other side of the valley. Who knows...
Until now Jostein and Maj-Lena has offered people to stay at their house, but they have also build a beautiful place near their house with stone walls and a warming fireplace. I hope to stay there next time I visit (no offense Jostein...).
If you would like to visit Gaupebu please contact Jostein on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on +47 900 65 976
You can also read more about what is going on in Dalen and at the hide on their website www.dalenvillmarkssenter.no (it is all in Norwegian)