Short Eared Owls March 2018

pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooterwestern IndianaPosts: 14,182Super Moderators moderator
edited March 4, 2018 in Wildlife

I continue to try to capture images of the short eared owls several miles south of my home. I still find them challenging to capture cleanly, and to select a proper color temperature from the sun on the horizon

I got this one last evening with a 7D Mk II and my Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens at 450mm, 1/1600th at f6.3, ISO 2000.

I think this lens is a keeper, Taz!!

I call this one "Flying Blind!" All the metadata is the same as the previous image

The rest of the frames are here - https://pathfinder.smugmug.com/Animals/S-E-Owls-March-2-2018/

Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin

Comments

  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,142Registered Users Major grins

    I am convinced Jim! The eyes in full flight came out amazing in first shot! Bravo!

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 11,693Super Moderators moderator

    I'm with Taz - the first photo is amazing, especially the eyes!

  • kurzvorzwoelfkurzvorzwoelf Stuttgart, GermanyPosts: 99Registered Users Big grins

    Awesome shots of my favourite birds! The first one is superb - the bird is well placed in the frame, and the angle of its wings makes the overall shot very interesting. The eyes are almost haunting. Only the background is a little bit busy for my taste.

    The second one is funny and something to love the owls for - all the funny, scary and awesome expressions and movements they are able to produce.

    Wise words from the Dog of Wisdom: If your ball is too big for your mouth, it's not yours.

    I'm here to learn and progress. Honest feedback and criticism on my images is warmly appreciated!

    My SmugMug site - kurzvorzwoelf.com

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,182Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 4, 2018

    Thanks for the kind words, folks.

    The first was cropped a bit of course, one rarely gets that sort of framing in the camera with hunting owls.

    I did reduce the noise in the background a bit, but I did not try to blur the background more - I thought about it while running NoiseWare on the background, but decided to keep it as it was. The color balance is way far away from "As Shot", due to the intense yellow light of the sun at the horizon, so I favored this custom color balance. I even tried it as a B&W, and in B&W the background really is over bearing, I agree. Not quite so bad in low muted color though I think, maybe. The background of the second owl was not washed but is as shot. I wondered if anyone would notice the different noise level in the background in the two images, both shot at ISO 2000.

    I thought the second image was hilarious too, "Flying Blind"

    The really funny thing was that I realized owls are nocturnal hunters, and do fly and hunt at night in the unlit dark fields of the restored strip coal mining pits. The do fly blind, so to speak, or in conditions that would indeed be blind for must of us non-owls.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • JuanoJuano Major grins Brasilia, BrazilPosts: 3,184Registered Users Major grins

    I am in awe with the first shot, amazing. Bravo!!

  • cendrinemediacendrinemedia Winnipeg, CanadaPosts: 42Registered Users Big grins
    You did an amazing job with the first photo. The eyes are so clear!

    Cendrine Marrouat
    Nature, B&W and closeup photography: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,592Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 5, 2018

    Nice job with the first, Jim ... and yes, the gear combo appears to be performing well - if I'd not bought the 100/400mk2 last yr I might have been tempted.
    Whilst the bg is a bit busy - as others have noted - it doesn't really bother me as much as the crop or angle somehow.
    Bg colour is harmonious with no major eye pulls ... just a tad of light squiggle centre frame right - which is nothing at all.

    What was the topology ... were you looking down a slope, with subject flying up and the other side of the slope rising behind as bg ... or bird over flat, horizontal terrain with a slope / hill behind?

    pp

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,182Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 5, 2018

    Yes, you are exactly correct, Paul. We are standing on an elevated gravel roadway that rises up a hill 50-75 vertical feet over about a quarter mile or so - the terrain on either side of the road is lower and shallower, but rises more steeply at the aspex of the road and in the distance to either side. This is why it looks like I am higher than the bird in the image, even though there is terrain in the background behind the bird. I'll see if I have an image of this to explain better

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul low down bum Posts: 1,592Registered Users Major grins

    @pathfinder said:
    I'll see if I have an image of this to explain better

    No need to waste time on my behalf, Jim ... your description was fine :)
    I suspected it was something like this, because of the relatively slow fall off rate (combined with aperture) of bg ... as compared with what I usually see @ water level.

    It should be noted, of course that my comments re pov / level / height etc are mainly just my cross to bear as I don't really like the associations connected with 'Us'(humans) ... 'looking down' on 'lesser critters' ... as this arrogance has brought a lot of issues / trouble imo.>

    pp

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,182Super Moderators moderator

    I think photographing animals is like photographing children, you really, really want to be down at their eye level for the best images.

    This of course is rather challenging for birds in flight, but sometimes when shooting from a hilltop or a high platform or a knob in the terrain it becomes possible. I have even shots BIFS looking down at their back occasionally, usually when they are feeding at water level and I am on a 2nd or 3rd level deck above the water level.

    The fact that these owls usually fly below 20 feet above the ground, and frequently only 2-5 feet above the ground when hunting, makes it possible to shoot them at their eye level, since the roadway is 4-10 feet above the mid-terrain.

    Here is a frame of an owl on the left side of the road looking uphill a bit and you can see how the terrain slopes down from the roadway and then up again farther away - the owl is approximately at my eye level shooting with a 600mm lens

    Here is a viewpoint uphill like the previous one looking off to the right of the roadway - again the bird is not really a lot higher than I am

    These were shot back earlier when there was still some snow on the ground acting as a nice fill reflector. I really have enjoyed pursuing these fearless hunters. There are a number of northern harriers out in the same area, but they are usually much, much harder to get close enough to to capture worthwhile images.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,182Super Moderators moderator

    When I first stated chasing the short eared owls locally back in early January, folks told me that that wouldn't hang around and that they would be moving on to a different location. Well, it is now March 27, and there were still a few around yesterday - not much flying going on near sunset, but several sitting in the grass or corn stubs.

    This image is a 2 owls sitting in the field - not a great image of owls, but I like it because is displays two of them sitting in the same area watching their surroundings as the sun sets.

    ISO 3200 1/1250th f6.3 Tamron 150-600 zoom at 150mm - I wonder if there might actually be three owls in this image

    Here is another image of a single S E owl sitting on the ground later after sunset

    ISO 10,000 1/1250th f6.3 at 600mm Tamron 150-600

    And here is one in flight over the grass again, taken at an earlier date than yesterday

    ISO 3200 1/1600th f8 Tamron 150-600 at 600mm

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • StumblebumStumblebum I shoot, therefore I am Posts: 7,142Registered Users Major grins

    Love the journalistic view point.....lovely capture! Cheers!

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