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Rudolph - the Svalbard Reindeer

Rudolph - the Svalbard Reindeer
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-03
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite wild animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-12-20 3:56
Viewed: 5722
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Today I thought I would post something a bit seasonal - a reindeer taken in Spitzbergen/Svarlbard. This was taken from a zodiaz with my 300 2.8
+ 2x converter. The reindeer is strolling along a low basalt cliff. The boulders are on the beach.

The Reindeer on Spitsbergen belong to a distinct subspecies that is endemic to Spitsbergen. The animals are smaller (approximately 150 high) and have shorter legs and a shorter head. They are more closely related to the canadian Caribou (Reindeer) as to the Scandinavian or Siberian Reindeer.

The males weight 60kg at the end of winter and 90kg at the end of summer. Females weight less, from 40kg (end of winter) to 60kg (end of summer). This weight loss is due to the harsh circumstances they have to live in in winter.

The reindeer have a white coat in winter and moult it to a brown summer coat. In summer their white fur can be found all over the tundra. There is an easy way to see the difference between Polar Bear fur and Reindeer fur. Reindeer fur is easily torn in pieces, while Polar Bear fur is much stronger.

Reindeer are the only species of deer in which both male and females develope antlers. Male antlers are much bigger as those of a female.

Reindeer are herbivores and feed on all kinds of flowers and most lichen. Reindeer are also known to feed on goose droppings, which still contain a lot of nutrients.

The Reindeer on Spitsbergen live in small herds, normally not bigger as 10 individuals. In area's with a righ vegetation slightly bigger herds may be found, while in area's without much vegetation Reindeer may live solitarily. Big herds, like the ones seen in Canada, would deplete and trample the vegetation and there would be nothing left to feed on.

The single calf is born in June and suckles for three months, but stays longer with the female. Females with young calfs don't develope antlers as they need all their calcium for the milk.

Reindeer occur in most parts of Spitsbergen in the vegetated area's, e.g. under birdcliffs. In winter they prefer the wind swept mountain ridges. They can swim and cross glaciers, but there are still good grazing area's that are not colonized. They are also seen on barely vegitated area's on Nordaustlandet.

Distribution and abundance in Spitsbergen
Reindeer were almost extinct close to the settlements when Norway got souvernity in 1926. One of the first nature laws that were accepted was the complete protection of the Reindeer. Since then they recolonised most of their old area, however sometimes natural barriers, like mountains, glaciers or sea, proved too much of an obstacle. In 1978 15 animals were moved to Br°ggerhalv°ya (the peninsula of Ny ┼lesund), since then their numbers have increased to 200 animals in 1989. Good area's are Nordenski÷ld Land and Edge- and Bartents°ya.

uleko, ferranjlloret, Nephrotome2, maurydv, matatur, siggi, valy67, eng55, rousettus, Evelynn, PeterZ, jazdzurka, zulfu, cicindela, jaycee, nglen, Adanac, CeltickRanger, horia, albert, eqshannon, manyee, SelenE, hester, Argus, Alex99, haraprasan has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-12-20 4:10]

Hello James,
What a perfectly timed capture of this Reindeer at the edge of the beautiful basalt cliff! A brilliant composition and I love the colours. Great focus on the Reindeer too showing fine sharp details. Very well done!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

Hello James,
Spectacular picture and document.
TFS. Ferran

amazing pic, it looks like it was taken in the desert, well one could treat the tundra as a desert. greetings Ori

Very unusual POV. This is brilliant. We're not used to see them up there like this.
It would have been even beter if the reindeer was more on the right. Small nit in a wonderful shot, thought.
Beautiful antlers too. This is a plus.
I really love this pic.

Ciao James,
meraviglioso taglio compositivo con ottimo momento di cattura ed eccellente POV, straordinaria la definizione con fantastici dettagli, splendido il contrasto dei colori.

Buon weekend

A good, graphic display for the holiday season James, the colour scheme of the basaltic outcrop enhances the beauty of the male reindeer, TFS this fine image my friend.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-12-20 5:17]

Hello James,
Excellent capture of this Reindeer on look. Good POV and composition, sharp details and beautiful colours.
Best regards Siggi

Oportuna captura de bella composiciˇn y bien trabajados colores, ademßs con el aliciente de poden observar estos mamÝferos tan desconocidos en la Europa del Sur.

Saludos James: Josep Ignasi.

Wonderful shot, James.
For example I do like the overall sharpness; the basalt cliff as well as the Reindeer.
Beautifully done!

Hello James !
Such a great picture, it's a bit unusual, but so beautiful ! I love the raindeer standing at the top of the cliff, looks fantastic. All in all a beautiful shot, with excellent details throughout the whole picture, nice natural colors, splendid composition and POV. Very well done !

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-12-20 7:02]

Hi James,
Wonderful photo.I liked POV,framing,details,natural colors and visual impact a lot.
Thanks for posting.

Hello James
wonderful capture for lovely deer species. vertical composition, focus, POV and lighting wonderful. rocks very nice for composition. great work indeed. Thanks for sharing, best wishes

It is starting to get to me!!!... this taking a sharp shot like this with that big lens and a 2x converter. I can barely get a sharp image with that setup on a tripod!! I suppose some of it may be the proximity of the subject, the burst rate, and the amount you need to crop. But even so....... Grrrrrrrrr.

It is great that you were able to get him isolated against the sky that way. A low point of view for animal shots is generally good. Nice work...

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-12-20 8:20]

Hello James,
What an original and excellent composition and POV. The cliffs as well as the Reindeer are in great sharpness. Fantastic homogeneous colours. Very beautiful.

Hi James
Beautiful picture.
I like the point of view and colours of your phptpgraph. Also the sharpness is excellent.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-12-20 8:39]

Hello James, great shot of a reindeer with nice details, sharpness and composition.
TFS and G's,

Hi James!
This is really Christmas picture ;) I like POV and composition. Good to see picture from this part of Svalbard which is not known for me :)

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-12-20 10:11]

Hi James,

This Reindeer with the amazing antlers is spectacular. Fantastic timing to catch him mid-step way up there. Colors, shadings and details are excellent. The setting seems just perfect for the animal and the composition is marvelous.


  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-12-20 10:57]

Hi James. As you say just right for the time ofthe year. I did not know that both the male and female grew antlers. This one looks deep in thoughtwith its head down. Stands out well from the plain BG. well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • darwin Gold Star Critiquer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 403] (1401)
  • [2008-12-20 18:00]

Hi James
Splendid composition with nice natural color and crisp sharp detail.
tfs jon

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-12-20 19:13]

Hello James,
Fantastic piece of work James, I absolutely love the composition here, thanks for sharing.

hello James

excellent shot of the Caribou (for us in QuÚbec and Canada),
with fine POV and vertical framing, excellent density of the colours,
excellent sharpness and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-12-21 0:26]

Hi James

A wonderful shot from you here and indeed one that goes well with the season :)
This is actually a very interesting and original composition - we are used to see reindeer in other types of surroundings as well as in different placing i the frame. This is excellent and its a breath of fresh air...love it!
The texture of the rocks everywhere are lovely, too and add to the impact of the photo.
Surely, the sharpness is spot-on and the reindeer is presented in the best possible way! Wonderful colors and light, too!

Bravo, TFS and Merry Christmas

Hello James
Vey nice composition with the reindeer up on the rocks, but where is father Xmas? very good light too
I wish you,and your family, a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year

Certainly seasonal James..and clearly seen. I saw some on the Sunday Morning show with Charles Osgood..just a few minutes ago...Very neat geology mixed in with the natural beast!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-12-21 13:02]

That is such a cool image, James.
I love the composition with that lone reindeer on top of the cliff.
Beautiful profile showing the formidable rack of antlers.
Excellent details and light.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-12-21 15:17]

Hi James,
a superb shot of this Reindeer... perfect for this time of year :-)
Very sharp and clear.
Great composition.
Excellent DOF.

Well done,

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-12-21 20:47]

Hello James, Lovely shot and superb timing. Great work ganesh

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-12-24 12:43]

Hi James

Perfect timing for this image, Merry Christmas to you

I love how he is walking along the edge and you caught the feeling of height with your POV and framing. Perfect focus as well



  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-12-30 2:20]

Hello james,
Excellent capture of a wild Svalbard reindeer: the ones we have in Swedish Lapland are tame. great lighting sharpness and POV of this stag.
TFS and best wishes for 2009!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-01-10 22:40]

Hi Rick.
Simply amazing, pictorial scene and brilliant photo. I am amazed how well you have reflected the details of the rocks and animal. Texture, tiniest shades of these objects are reproduced precisely. 3D-effect also is superb. Well done and TFS.

Hi James,
A nice capture of this beautiful reindeer. Superb sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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