A Few Owl in Flight Shots

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N Deacon
N Deacon Contributing Member • Posts: 836
A Few Owl in Flight Shots

It's been a while since I posted anything here, but while thinking of whether (and what) to post for the "owls" challenge I reviewed some previous shots and thought I would share them with some notes.

Two of these are owl/environment shots which may not be to everyone's taste but to me they sometimes give a better sense of the environment and conditions than I can usually show with a frame filler. I am very fond of owls and have spent many, many hours watching and photographing them but I still find them fascinating. In these remote settings they show no fear of an observer provided that you remain still and wait at the edge of their hunting grounds until they come to you.

First an old one, but recently re-processed with Topaz DeNoise AI (the D300 was not great in bad light, especially if you underexposed the shot as I did here). I love the last splashes of golden light from the setting sun and the backlighting of the barn owl.

Another environmental shot, this time of a short-eared owl hunting in rapidly forming dense mist. I had only a few minutes before I could not longer see the hunting owls. This shot was tricky to process, as I wanted to bring out some detail in the bird while preserving the misty look. In the end I settled on placing a softly feathered radial filter over the bird in Adobe ACR and added some "dehaze" and "clarity" to the bird.

A barn owl delivering a vole to its nest. Although barn owls are usually nocturnal, they may hunt by day if they have a brood to feed, especially in locations where they are not disturbed.

Finally, a recent image from a long series of shots taken of two hunting short-eared owls over marshy rough grassland at sunset on a recent trip to the Outer Hebrides. Although they paid little attention to my friend and I as we watched and took photographs, continuing hunting all around us, this one briefly glanced straight at me. Although the ISO was at 3200, the shutter speed was still low enough to show some movement in the wingtips - which I consider a bonus for this shot.

All shots hand-held, the first with the 300mm F/2.8 VRII + TC-14EII, the others with the 500mm F/4E and TC-14EIII. Exposure settings fully manual. All downsized to 2000px for posting.

 N Deacon's gear list:N Deacon's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D7200 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +7 more
Nikon D300
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