Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Horned Owls

Birds are great subjects. They are plentiful and colorful. They are fleeting which make still pictures of them challenging and all the more appreciated. A friend recently showed me a picture of a great horned owl taken just a short walk from my home and I realized I needed owl pictures of my own.

2 owls live in the eucalyptus grove right down the street. I can hear them hooting as I type this. They do not seem much afraid of us and often sit rather close to an accessable path. They also sit very still. This is an advantage as I am shooting them in late evening light and in deep shadows. With the aperture wide open, I am using 1/10th of a second or slower shutter speed.

According to Wikipedia, we have a male and female. The male being the smaller of the two and with a lower pitched song. All the hooting may be courtship rituals in progress. If so, they would build a nest and little owls would appear in the early spring. All in all, an excellent photo documentary opportunity and blog worthy too.

If I am correct, in the pictures above, the first is the male. The second, the female, is not winking at me. She appears to have lost her right eye.

I will be photographing them as often as I am able. I am using a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 70-300 4.8/5.6 lens usually cranked out to 300mm and still requiring some extreme cropping. Using a tripod and remote trigger helps. Focusing through the branches is another challenge. I hope to score some great shots going forward and posting them here.

Great Horned Owl

This was my first shot and hand held at that! He was sitting in a great location.

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