Friday, May 30, 2008

The Great Gray Owl

Great Gray owl in Black spruce trees.
Canon 1ds Mark III, 500mm f4L IS with 1.4x converter, 1/500 @ f6.3, 400 ISO

It finally happened. While driving along the Richardson highway after a photo assignment, I glanced to my right and saw this owl perched along the roadside spruce trees. It was hunting for voles in the clearing. The Great Gray is one of the most impressive looking owls (in my opinion) and, up to this point, I've only had fleeting glimpses of them. I realize that staking out a nesting area is the superb way to document this species, and many people have done that with excellent results. But, for a roadside, serendipitous encounter with a mildly cooperative bird like this, in decent light, got me very excited. It was 8pm, so the afternoon light had softened enough to take away strong contrast. This, in conjunction with the amazing shadows adjustment in Lightroom rendered a pleasing tonality. The bird flew from branch to branch a few times, and I inched along in my car and had a few different shooting opportunities. My vehicle, which I get some abuse over since its a women's car designed for grocery shopping and soccer mom transports, is perfect for what I do. And in particular, the fully opening sun roof gives me countless photo ops without scaring away wildlife by getting out of the car. I use a bean bag on the car top for stability, and it works excellently. This frame was taken with a 500mm and a 1.4x converter for a total focal length of 700mm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Patrick

Awesome. I've yet to run across a GGO here in AK. I spent a lot of time looking this past winter but no luck. I saw a number of Great Horned Owls, but no Great Grays. :(