Wow, what a day – I spent yesterday on an Owl photography experience day, I had the opportunity to photograph 6 owls that were taken from their home in captivity to a location in the New Forest National Park so that I could take photos of them in natural surroundings, with natural sunlight, it was a bright day, shadows and wind.
I took over 900 photos – so culling them down was the first job … I took so many as I used a high speed shutter as I wanted to ensure that I captured the owls with their eyes open, I took my tripod for stability and my big lens – my sigma 150-500mm, the draw back of which was that other photographers could get a lot closer to the animals than I could.
The day was run by Captive Light photography – there was a photographer on hand to offer advice if you have specific questions, he often emphasised the importance of checking the histogram to ensure you were exposed to the right for the highlights – you really wanted to capture the details on the owl feathers, and had a falconer from Liberty’s Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre who was looking after the owls and was able to share with you interesting facts when you asked him questions.
I took all the photos in Raw, so processed only my favorite few which I am going to share with you today and tomorrow…
Siberian Eagle Owl
The photographers – there was about 17 of us, were able to get within a couple of meters of the owls… I was joined today by my son Jake, he has always been interested in owls, so he came to take photos too and to study the owls for a painting… I was able to catch him with a couple of the owls too.
I wanted to take a good selection of photos – landscape dimensions and portrait – capturing the whole owl and getting close to some of the details and with an aperture that would give a great Bokeh for a background.
Asian Brown Wood Owl
A different location, and my son again – as each new owl came out it was a challenge to adjust the exposure so that the highlights were not blown out as the bright sunlight, dapple shade, changing locations to work with the light and the direction which the owl wanted to face … interestingly they generally liked to face into wind!
The Asian Wood Owl had really dark eyes, and it was hard to capture any detail in them, this was because he was a nocturnal owl, which usually roosts during the day – quite often he had his eyes shut or partly shut.
Northern Great Horn Owl
The Northern Great Horn Owl had such amazing eyes, the yellow was so bright and striking they just had to be captured close up. This owl just seemed to ooze character, and had a stronger presence about him.
This triptcych shows the member of staff fro Liberty’s trying to get the Northern Great Horn Owl to sit in an ideal spot for photos.
It was amazing how he seemed to disappear into the tree – you can see why owls are so hard to spot, and he had quite a lot to say for himself.
The final shot I am going to share today is this one… it the eyes that I like most about this owl, and I think the background here is lovely.
Pop back tomorrow and you can see the other three owls that I photographed.