More Short Eared Owls February 2018

pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooterwestern IndianaPosts: 14,325Super Moderators moderator

My spouse and I went back out south of town looking for the short eared owls we had been shooting back in January before we left for Yellowstone. Several local folks told us they had departed, but we went down anyway. We watched about a half dozen northern harriers hunting over the tilled ground as sunset approached, but didn't seen any owls.....until just about 10-15 minutes before sunset.

All of a sudden we saw four owls, two on posts and 2 sitting on the ground. Owls are nocturnal hunters so they don't want to ruin their night vision by hunting during the day. But suddenly we were surrounded by at least 6 owls flying in all directions. I managed to grab a few frames that I thought were worth keeping.

1DX ISO 6400 Tamron 150-600 G2 at 600mm 1/1000th f7.1 The light was low again, but was directional still a bit

Aerial battles ensued - 1DX ISO 8000 Tamron at 600mm 1/1000th f6.3 - less sharp than I prefer but interesting image

Landing in the grass - 1DX ISO 10,000 ( way too high for a 1DX file ) Tamron at 600mm 1/1000th at f6.3

15 minutes after sunset 1DX ISO 5000 Tamron at 600mm 1/1000th f6.3

A few more frames here - https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Animals/Short-Eared-Owls-and-More-Jan-Feb-2018/

Comments and criticisms heartily encouraged.

Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin

Comments

  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,321Registered Users Major grins

    Love #3 Jim! I think you might want to explore crop just above the shrub line. Maybe the intention is to draw attention to the critter sitting on the pole in bg, but not sure it is adding anything. The lower half is PRIMO! Cheers!

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,325Super Moderators moderator
    edited February 11, 2018

    Taz, I was trying to include the 2nd owl on the post because I was seeing from 2->4 owls on posts, but not close enough to capture them in a single frame. Per your suggestion I have re-edited a couple frames of that series in the bush. Let me know what you think of them

    1DX ISO 12800 It was dark.. Tamron zoom at 600mm 1/1000th at f6.3

    I see you!!

    Landing in these bushes can be challenging!!

    1DX ISO 10,000 Tamron zoom at 600mm 1/1000th at f6.3

    Which image do you prefer and which color balance is preferred as well? The first image was balanced by a reading off the snow in front of the stump, the second was As Shot

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 12,048Administrators moderator
    edited February 11, 2018

    Jim, I like the first image of the two in your above post the best of all here thus far. The re-crop does draw more attention to the owl, oddly, by making the viewer look through the grasses more closely to see what is happening. And the subject is now near the top of the frame, which to my thinking, is important for bird shots. I'll add that the camouflage is also an interesting aspect to the shot.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,321Registered Users Major grins

    Sweet Jim! I love the spotty snow as well that I didn't notice previously at all.....the shrub feels like cool flames.....cheers!!

  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,321Registered Users Major grins

    Agree with David, the first image is precious.....

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,325Super Moderators moderator
    edited February 11, 2018

    Thanks David and Taz, I really appreciate your suggestions. I am intrigued that the second image wasn't as liked, perhaps because of the birds strange attitude/position?

    I still have issues with the color balance of the first image, so I went back and altered it mid way between As Shot and what the white balance tool gave off the snow in the first image. I think maybe this continues to improve the image. Anyone agree? This image was shot just prior to the first image in HFRate. I think there is more color in the bird. I have also gone back to portrait aspect ratio crop 4x5. I haven't tried this in monochrome yet, but.....

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,321Registered Users Major grins

    Definite improvement Jim. Both comp, and color temp!!

    The second shot above was nice but you know we hone in on the best stuff......cheers!

  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 12,048Administrators moderator
    edited February 12, 2018

    The more I look at it, the more I'm seeing a 1:1 crop and not a 2:3. The above latest version with just a little off the top and bottom. Re: the color balance - I think it looks good no matter what you do with the temperature. Oh, and the pic with the owl doing the yoga moves didn't do anything for me. Owls with the big eye cold stare are just more "owl-like" I guess.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,613Registered Users Major grins

    Ignoring colour balance options, I think my preferred crop to the pic being discussed would be the first crop of said image (pic 1 of the 2) ... but cropped just above the larger area of snow in lower left of frame ... leaving just 2 isolated pates of snow / white blobs.

    Many will, no doubt disagree - as it's establishing an aspect of the environment / conditions ... but I just see it as an 'eye pull' ... fighting for / demanding attention :)

    Am assuming it's snow ... rather than discarded ice cream, 'cos the cream was off ... or suds from the hot tub dip you'd just had ...

    pp

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,325Super Moderators moderator

    David, I gathered the Yoga pose wasn't that pleasing to viewers - maybe its appeal to me was that I saw it occur and it would be better captured in video. In a still image, it leaves the viewer confused as to what it is doing I think. I understand Paul's comment about the snow patches, bright spots in images compete for the viewer's eye, although they were a legitimate part of the environment.

    Re crops of the "I See You!!" image - I first tried monochrome but didn't care for it, but it did provide a nice base for a Multiply blending mode that I rather favor. I cropped it 1x1 as David requested, and I cropped the bottom snow patches as Paul requested and ended up here...... Not sure if this is better than I started with or not

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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