Snowy Owl - Billiard Cue-Stick Bird
Well, not exactly a billiard cue-stick! Still, it is amazing to watch how Snowy Owls perch on even the thinnest branch or post. In this case, the stick was some sort of trail marker in a field.
Canon with my 500L f4 lens, handheld @ 1/1000, f10, ISO 400, with - 2/3 exposure compensation.
Small crop for composition purposes.
Snowy Owl - Showing Off My Goodies
The wingspan of a Snowy Owl is quite impressive - an average of about 1.5 yards, with males a bit shorter than females.
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/1000, f16, ISO 400 with no exposure compensation.
Cropped slightly for composition purposes. Toned down the cyan tint due to a late afternoon setting sun a bit just on the owl without affecting the back and foreground.
Snowy Owl - Snow-bound
This Snowy was taken under a dull grey cloud-covered sky while it was snowing.
Despite balancing for whites to reduce the dull blue-grey tint, it makes for a rather monochromatic photo. But the yellow eyes, which are the only other colour in the image, do stand out.
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens handheld.
Snowy Owl - I'm Late For Mass!
This is a scene that I always wanted to photograph, and in effect, I did manage to do so with another Snowy a few years ago which is somewhere in one of my galleries. Therefore, it is a repeat performance!
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens with a 1.4 Extender, handheld @ 1/1000, f9, ISO 400, + 1/3 exposure compensation.
Slight crop for exposure compensation. Left side of face and upper body slightly dodged due to side-lighting which rendered a shadow.
Snowy Owl - Taking In The Setting Sun
The pastel colours of a setting sun on this scene gives this Snowy Owl a majestic look.
The snowy slope in the foreground leading up to the post and owl evokes a dreamy look.
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens plus the 1.4 Extender handheld as usual @ 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 800 with a +1 1/2 exposure compensation.
Slight crop for composition purposes.
Snowy Owl - Fly Me To the Moon
Parts of the following text are a repeat from my last years Snowy moon photo shoot:
Friday, January 22, 2016.
Full-moon time again. Actually a day before the full moon with about 97.7% of the moon's illumination. With just days before my 62nd birthday, this was for me the perfect Snowy Owl gift!
These moon shots take some planning ahead of time. As you will see below, it's a bit like winning a lottery, because so many factors have to come together.
Charts have to be consulted to find out date, times and direction that the moon rises. Then there is the work and chance of having both a Snowy and a moon at the same place at the same time.
You should have the setting sun facing the rising moon; in this case, it was dusk with the sun having just disappeared beyond the horizon.
You have to have the luck that the rising moon isn't covered by clouds - same with the setting sun or the dusk horizon after sunset. You don't want humidity hanging in the air, either.
You should also have the wind at your back, facing the Snowy, because if they chance to take-off, they do so into the wind (ie, facing your camera).
To make things harder after all this planning and chance, you only have 5-10 minutes to get your shoots before the moon is too high, and boy, does it rise fast! It doesn't always work, and you have to wait another year to try again :- )
And finally, because I use a 500mm lens, I can never hope to get both a relative close Snowy and the moon both in focus. It's either one or the other because of the small depth of field due to the long lens. Also, I tried to expose more for the Snowy, therefore moon landscape details were washed out.
I did take pictures of the moon on it's own, including shots with the Snowy blurred but moon behind in focus. This will permit me, if I decide to do so, to montage the focused moon behind the Snowy.
I mused with the idea of cloning away some of the branches, but decided against it. I may do so if I ever try the moon-montage version mentioned above.
By the way, there was present this golden/orangey glow on the interior circumference of the moon as seen here.
The advantage of the lens, though is that it is very luminous and has a stabilizer. When matched with the superb full-frame Canon 5D Mark III camera, great-quality low-noise photos can be acquired with minimal light.
Snowy Owl - Against the Light
This Snowy Owl flies facing a sun already setting on the horizon.
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens, handheld as usual, @ 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 800, +2 exposure compensation.
Small crop for composition purposes.
Snowy Owl - Flight Time
Classic takeoff pose off a fence post.
Snowy Owl - In Your Face Big Boy!
Canon 5D Mark III with my 50-0L f4 lens handheld @ 1/1000, f11, ISO 400, no exposure compensation.
Cropped for composition purposes due to the Snowy being slightly down and to the right.
Snowy Owl - Post Partum
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500l f4 lens handheld @ 1/1000, f11, ISO 400.
Cropped vertically with no loss to either top or bottom of frame - that is why the wing tips are a little tight at the top. Leaving it in its original horizontal view was the worst option composition-wise.
Tons of dust bunnies cloned away. Background despeckled.
Snowy Owl Leaving Its Fencepost
Canon 5D Mark III with my 500L f4 lens handheld @ 1/1000, f11, ISO 400, no exposure compensation.
Cropped for composition purposes. Background noise (not the owl nor the post) despeckled.
Snowy Snow Scene
Photographing Snowy Owls while it is snowing can be a bit challenging. If you are lucky, the sky may not be too grey, with a bit of diffuse light getting through. Otherwise, the scene is so monotone as to erase many of the bird's and background details.
Post production in this situation was a little easier - not all the fine details were washed out after applying some colour correction.
Watch out for the eyes. In these low light winter situations, the eyes usually turn dark orange when you correct the image. Try to convert the orange to a more natural yellow, if you can.
Cropped vertically in a non-standard size format for composition purposes due to the top of the extended wing being soo close to the top of the frame.
If the bird is perched and not moving, you can try changing shutter speeds, especially much slower speeds, to increase the illusion of more and bigger snowflakes in the background.
Taken handheld with my usual Canon 5D Mark III with 500L f4 lens.