Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

September 2, 2009

Great Horned Owl at Rest

Filed under: behavior, Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 10:59 pm
Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Although the high temps are still here in AZ I felt a need to get out for some exercise and photography this morning, so I made my usual trip to the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ. But even limiting my visit to 6:00-8:00 am didn’t keep me out of the heat completely.

I didn’t see any unexpected birds, and only a couple other bird photographers were out. But two birds made the trip enjoyable and gave me a few raw files to process.

This Great Horned Owl was recently discovered roosting in the largest tree along the trails – this is the same tree that the Neotropic Cormorants like to hang out in, and the same tree shown here with the dead cormorant tangled in discarded fishing line. When I saw the owl a week or so ago in was an impossible photo, with lots of branches blocking about the only possible shot. Of course I took shots then, but mostly because the owl had the carcass of a rabbit on the branch near one talon.

This morning it was close to this spot, but visible from the front through one “window” through layers of intervening branches. Unfortunately there was no rabbit on the branch.

Some viewers might prefer the owl to have its eyes open in this shot, but I’m fine with them closed. It’s a clear indication that the owl didn’t perceive me as a threat and was comfortable with my presence and attention with my camera and long lens.

In terms of composition I’ve centered the owl – this usually seems proper with head-on views of subjects. I’ve also kept space around the bird on all sides to show the setting and keep the owl from feeling crowded in the frame.

D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 250, 1/640th at f/7.1, spot meter, natural light only.

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