Monday, January 16, 2012

Great-horned Owl

These past few weeks have been terrific for owling! I have never had this much luck finding owls until this amazing year. They are everywhere! Barred, Great-horned, Short-eared, Long-eared, and snowys! (Still need a Saw-whet though...) Lucky for me owls are my favorites and I get to enjoy them all winter long--hopefully!

I owe this find to my good friend Rattlinantler. Click here for his site!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some more Short-eared Owl Images

I've been concentrating on wintering owls lately and these Short-eared Owls are the toughest to nail. They come out at dusk, so a very high ISO is necessary to get any "clean" images. "Clean" is a bit of an oxymoron as higher ISO's make for a very "dirty" image. Lets break this down a little further for those of you who don't necessarily understand: See, when you boost the sensitivity of your image sensor by selecting a higher ISO, the image sensor is now able to record a fainter light signal. In my case: dusk. However, it is also true now that it will record fainter noise, where noise is any signal that is not attributed to the light from your subject. The increased sensitivity allows the image sensor to record more light signal and more noise. Shooting moving objects (in less-than-sunny skies) also requires a higher ISO so that your shutter speed is faster to freeze the motion.
Hope that makes sense...

This was my best shot. Luckily he was close enough to shoot at 300mm. but the ISO was way up there at ISO 2000. I NEVER shoot that high!

There were quite a few owls out, and they favored these poles to sit on, claiming temporary territories for their dinnertime activities.

This fella was captured "barking" his claim to his territory. Barking is the term used for Short-eared Owl calls. (click on this one to see mouth open)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Long-eared Owl

2012 is being very very good to me so far! All I have to show so far are my favorites--OWLS!!!!! This LEO was my second subject of the new year, coming in behind the Snowy! In third place is the Short-eared Owl which I shot a few hours after this guy! How can I top this? Easy: Saw-whet, Great Gray, Northern Hawk Owl, etc. Easy to list, not so easy to capture! (But I'll try...)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Snowy Owl Poses

Found my favorite snowy again!(Click on any photo to make larger)

The inital image of this shot just looked drab, so I jazzed it up accentuating the wind turbines and rolling cornstubble fields...

On top of a silo, she checked me out with those gorgeous yellow eyes.

It was fun to watch this lady watch birds. This starling made a few passes before moving on...

I liked the fringy hair silhouetted here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Short-eared Owls

Let me preface this post with stating that these shots are not up to my standards, but given the subject matter and the gas/time spent attempting these shots, I am posting them anyway.

I was so excited to shoot these guys on a trip I took this weekend. I went to Nashville for a concert and thought on my way back I could get some birding in. A new friend of mine gave me directions to such a rare bird of prey that fit into my schedule perfectly. I found the location and waited...

I waited for quite some time, circling the area until the show began...
And when I say the show began, I mean "WHOA!!!! They flew out from every direction!
As you see in these shots, plenty went wrong in all of about 10 minutes of showtime.

My aperture was off, my dial was misaligned to manual and I had the 2x on for closer shots. Everything that could go wrong, DID!

The owl even landed for a brief moment in which I found opportunity to whip off the 2x, shoot straight 300 and of course, the aperture was on 6.3. The shutter lagged so much that the exposure was 1/20th sec at twilight! I felt like Charlie Brown...

I managed a few shots at 1/400 with the 300mm before calling it quits with the light draining to impossible...

There was nothing I could do to fix it now, so enjoying the show with my own eyes not behind a few pieces of expensive glass was thrilling none-the-less.

Now that the night was here, all I have been able to think about was how it all went horribly wrong and what I am going to do right, next time...