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Thread: My first ever Owl

  1. #1

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    My first ever Owl

    I hate the pic for its low quality and would never post something like this.

    But then this is the very very first time I have seen any owl.. Pretty exciting as I have been looking for one for months.

    It was so dark in the pine forest and they were so high up and almost invisible. Could not use a flash as that is said to be a huge no no for this species. Pointing straight up, shivering in -10+c temps and bit of wind almost guarantees a poor shot. And to cap it off, the battery dies with the spare still in the car

    Certainly could have done better. Will retry next week weather permitting.

    Pic took a bit of PS work to bring out some of the detail.

    Just sharing a bit of my excitement.

    Long Eared Owl
    My first ever Owl
    Last edited by Bobobird; 20th January 2012 at 04:21 PM.

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Not bad at all considering the obstacles, Bobo.

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    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: My first ever Owl

    I'm still jealous of the shot.

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    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Jealous is right!

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Now if you could talk him into coming out of hiding and landing on a solitary branch...smiles. Nice shot Bobo.

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Thanks guys. Yes definitely exciting. We were actually out looking for Snowies but nothing (yet!).

    On reflection, I am beginning to doubt very much if a better shot is in fact possible. Better shot in the technical sense yes, but cannot see how a clear shot can be taken. They are already very hard to even see properly.

    The canopy is thick, they stand just below it so have cover from both the top and bottom. Even if lighting is great the amount of branches around them will make it impossible to get an isolated shot.

    So far the only clear shots I have seen are "lucky" shots where the owl has come onto an open branch or lower down (they normally do not so could have been scared by something, purposely or accidentally). There may be some in conservancies but "tame" is not my cup of tea.

    This is a brooding colony of maybe 8-10 and no way am I going to disturb them in the off chance of a good shot.

    What to do?

  7. #7
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
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    That's the hard part of wildlife photography Bobo. You wait for what seams like forever to find your target, then you need to wait some more to get a clear shot. If you get one at all :/ you did a nice job of capturing the owl in a very challenging setting.

  8. #8

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Yes, difficult as it may be in normal weather, winter shoots are many times more so. The cold, layers of clothes to keep warm, gloves reducing sensitivity while using the camera, the biting wind that finds every little nook to creep into, etc, etc. Wildlife photographers have my utmost respect for doing things for our enjoyment under trying circumstances. Winter photographers even more so. Most are just amateurs and get no rewards except maybe some personal satisfaction - hey! I did it!

  9. #9
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Yes you did Bobo, considering his cover you did quite well. I am happy to see a good outline of him and his eyes to boot!

  10. #10

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Thanks Paul.

    All I could see was a very indistinct blurry beehive type shape ie his lower half and guesstimated where his head would be given that size. Got very lucky here.

  11. #11

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    I wish I had you oppurtunity... I have been searching to no avail , seeing as they are so hard to find yours looks natural to me hes hiding in the foliage . Great shot Bobo

  12. #12

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Thanks James. The are indeed hard to find. Have been looking for a long long time. This time was lucky as someone who had seen them there took me along with him.

    Maybe join a bird group in your area and work on from there. The intelligence network that these guys build up can be pretty awesome. I know one place that uses twitter to notify each other about locations etc.

  13. #13

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Thanks Bobo I do need to look into something of that nature .. cause I do love the birds

  14. #14

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    One other thing I find useful. On outings it is not unusual to see other photographers there as well. It never hurts to chat about their "bounty" and asking to see their LCD. Most are more then happy to show off their stuff and give directions on interesting stuff they have found.

    Sometimes we will even exchange phone numbers so that any new sighting can be communicated.

    For example the place where this shot was taken (same place as the chickadee shots) met 3 other people with long lens. Now I know that the area has a big deer herd (maybe 2), a horse ranch, coyotes, tons of hawks, barred owl, this owl, woodpeckers and other small birds.

    So not bad for one afternoon.

  15. #15
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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Bobo - your image sums up the challenge of wildlife photography. The excitement of the "hunt" and getting the shot, the frustration of not getting the perfect shot and the hunger to do it all again. I have plenty of images for the record of seeing the wildlife that are far from perfect. My personal favourite is one taken of an elusive Leopard in thick cover, I have a few spots (that I claim to be the Leopard) amongst a green mass of foliage.

    All in all I like the captured long ears and eyes.

  16. #16

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    I found this young Little German Owl, sheltering in the garden, following strong winds that had blown it from the nest (about 200 m). I managed to find the tree that it had been hatched in, and returned it to the nest before the cats got it.

    My first ever Owl

  17. #17

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Ultimately, getting the perfect clean shot is a matter of luck. If you ever watch those shows where people do wildlife photography, then spend whatever time is necessary to wait for that perfect shot. Days, even weeks.

  18. #18

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    I salute you Ken. And that is one adorable baby.

    Agreed Tim, but the reality is not as we see on the shows. These guys with the 500 or longer lens, do spend a lot of time waiting and waiting. But that is all they do - wait. I prefer to walk and find which is a better way to get my exercise then going on a treadmill.

    Btw, these "pros", have many tricks to get the birds/animals to come to them and many of these tricks would piss us off quite a bit. Not the most pleasant of experiences based on the few times I have seen them around.

  19. #19

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Bobo, I like the way your owl photo allows the imagination to fill in the missing parts.

    I do primarily wildlife photography, and I sometimes spend a number of hours to get one ok shot. But I learn a great deal about the animals I am photographing in the process. Perhaps being old makes it easier for me to simply sit and wait.

    Here is a photo of a Great Horned Owl that I took on May 4, 2011 near my home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was easier for me because most of our trees don't get leaves until at least the last week in May. Harder for the owl to hide. I am a novice photographer, so I hope to get some better shots this coming spring.


    My first ever Owl

  20. #20

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    Re: My first ever Owl

    Chuck - wow you can almost feel the glassy eyes. Well done.

    The LEO is unfortunately one of those that cannot be waited out. They hunt before sunrise and after sundown. Good for viewing if we know where they are but not good for photography. Those are not times this old body will want to be out anyway in the cold cold winter.

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