Thursday, January 8, 2009

Great Horned Owl


This Florida Great Horned Owl image was the better of the 3 that I chose to work up from the December trip. As you can see the lighting was a challenge. On occasion, I receive an email and asking how I was able to obtain some of the images. So, FYI below were the steps I took to get a keeper:
1) Changed the metering to the "spot" option. Using spot metering allowed the camera to only retrieve a reading from the owl, the focus of our photo, instead gathering the extraneous light from the background.
2) Next, experimented with the exposure some, starting with +1 going all the way to +2 and then found that +1 1/3 worked best after checking the camera's histogram.
3) Unfortunately did have to use a flash. Feather highlights and head details would not be visible w/out bringing in some light. I don't usually like to use a flash due to critter disturbance. Tried one flash and the owl did not seem to mind. I also used a Better Beamer attachment to my 580 to extend the flash's range.
Other info: 400 ISO; 400mm/2.8 w/1.4 extender on a Mark IIN

Blue Skies.

14 comments:

fishing guy said...

Ken: Wonderful capture of the owland some great information on the execution.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I love owls. It's been so long since I've seen one in it's natural habitat. I'm jealous!

Natural Moments said...

Your Owl photo turned out great Ken. I like how he is somewhat positioned or sandwiched between the two darker areas in the photo. I sometimes will use a flash on birds too, and I havn't had any that flinched or blinked their eyes so far. It's rather interesting that the intensity of it doesn't seem to bother them. Squirrels on the other hand....

He looks kind of sleepy.

Salty said...

Excellent GHO shot Ken and thanks for the info. The GBH silhouettes posted previous are most striking, as always excellent work!

Florida is one fantastic place for shooting birds whether one can travel to many locations as you did or being limited to only a few as I was. I am enjoying your series immensely!

The Birdlady said...

Wonderful - I love his "curly" horns!

Stacey Huston said...

Ken great shot, even with the difficult light.. I have been having a tough time lately as the lighting here has been horrible.. everything keeps coming out blury..(to dark, slow shutter, and trying to keep the flash off also) very frustrating as I am not proficient with the manual settings on my camera yet, will have to check into the spot metering you mentioned.. I guess i had best start experimenting more..thanks for sharing

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Besides it being an excellent photograph, owls are one of my favorites too.

Ivar Ivrig said...

" Hey dude, what are you looking at" :-)
Great capture. A beautiful owl

Bradley Myers said...

A great photograph of a beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing how you got the end result.

Fish Whisperer said...

Ken great shot of the owl. I like the silhouettes too. nice work.
Cheers

kjpweb said...

Most excellent! You avoided all the Flash pitfalls! Looks very natural!

I'm finally back after a lot's of shooting days all over the place.
And will finally start posting new ones - starting with the shots on our shoot! :)

Cheers, Klaus

Willard said...

Great shot and information Ken.

It was good that you and Klaus got to shoot together for a day.

I have really enjoyed your Florida series and also like the shot of the dove in the last post.

Tabib said...

Great Owl picture.
Thanks for sharing the photography technique. I have yet to capture an Owl in nature environment.

T and S said...

That's an awesome image resulting from a beautiful experiementation. I like the way you have played around with the EV setting on this one.