Friday, March 14, 2008

Great Horned of Fire!

My wildlife buddy Pam and I took our annual trip to see the famous Great Horned Owl on her nest for the 4th straight year. I have said it before, and I will say it again; This is the best nesting site I have ever run across. (It is located in the center of a city suburb at the county courthouse with loads of noisy traffic and lots of people walking past to the cute little shops surrounding.) We set up on the sidewalk, and shot high into the Tamarack Tree at a distance of about 30 feet. As each year passes, I have undoubtedly gained more experience and gadgetware for this event. This year marks a truly great one. The tree was struck by lightning last year, but the community came together to keep this owls famous nesting site alive. The town patched up the burnt trunk which was split pretty deep, and treated it with some sort of black substance. The nest was relocated to a lower branch because of the damage, (you can see the old nest above her) all because of this owl and her chosen home during her nesting season.

We arrived around 10:30 a.m. for the timing of the sun hitting the nest for good exposure.

This years addition to my gadget collection was a right angle viewfinder. I "needed" it just for this occasion. In years past, my neck would cramp up from stooping over to look through my lens up into the tree for many hours. I am thrilled with the results of the purchase. It worked great!

I was also happy with the settings I used verses last year. I mainly shot iso 200 @ f9 for 1/80th a second with my Sigma 500mm, circ. polarizer & UV filter, 1.4x teleconverter, tripod, shutter remote, and the right angle viewfinder on my Canon 400D.

There was 1 lil owlet that we could see moving, but never could get a clear shot, although we did try from this angle here.

She kept tending to her lil one which makes her such a successful mom. I am hoping to get back up there for more shots as the owlets grow...


cuttidad said...

Recently I saw an owl book that your photos belong in, the clarity in your shots is amazing. The eyes in side view shot is my favorite. I can't wait to see the baby photos.

Owlman said...

GR8 pictures. I haven't manage to track down any GHO nests. Amazing to have an owl nest in such a public place and to have such active public involvement in protecting the site!

Ecobirder said...

Very nice pics. I have been photographing a pair of GHO at the nest also but your nest shots are much better. Good work.