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Thread: Advice for 'Shooting' an Owl

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    Member FallingHorse's Avatar
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    Advice for 'Shooting' an Owl

    We have this Rufous Owl that has been hanging around near the house of a night time. Last night he sat on the bird feeder and 'watched' us cook a BBQ. He stays just outside of the perimetre of the light. I have seen him come down within metres of me having a smoke outside but I don't think he realised I was there because he is otherwise fairly shy.
    Can anyone suggest how I can go about capturing his photo?
    Jodie

    Gear - Canon EOS 7D, EOS 6D, 24-105 F4, 70-200 F2.8L IS, Canon EF 100mm 2.8 Macro, Sigma 10-20mm, nifty fifty, EF2xII, 580EX, 430EXII, EFx2 III and a long wishlist


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    Not much help, but for now have a squizz back through the bird section, Shelley was playing with this not long back & some good tips came up.
    Last edited by Art Vandelay; 06-06-2011 at 3:13pm.

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    Do you have an external flash unit? It is pretty much a must for occasions like this. The flash will freeze any movement in the bird. You will need an aperture setting as wide a possible for your lens. You should also try practicing your exposure settings by shooting at the 'normal' distance you and owl keep and see how the exposure turns out.

    I was recently in the rainforests of Costs Rica shooting a Sloth some 50 - 60 feet above me in a tree. It was dark. I was using a 70 - 300 lens at around 280mm and my Nikon SB800 flash. Even with a wide aperture I needed an ISO of 800 to get sufficient light for a half decent exposure, but shooting RAW I was able to adjust the exposure later on in PS.

    Working out your settings beforehand is really important. Let me know how you go.

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    Thanks Peter - I have 2 flash units, I haven't used them a whole lot but perhaps I should practice the exposure setting at night first before I scare the poor thing away lol. I do usually shoot in Raw (except sport). Will let you know how it goes. Would love to see the sloth

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    If your going to shoot an owl don't use a gun use a canon preferably with an fast 300mm to 400mm lens and an external flash. I agree with the advise that peter4wdexposure gave and can only suggest that you try to keep the flash away from the lens, maybe on a bracket, to help minimise red eye.

    Hope you don't mind but attached is a shot I took with an 80-200mm lens and external flesh as an example.

    NightOwlv1.jpg
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

    Photographs don't lie ! - Anonymous Liar

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    Thanks Darey - I have the 70-200mm 2.8 but no fast 300-400mm as I'm not really a birder. He normally hangs out near the house and sometimes even swoops down under the carport. Thanks for the tawny frogmouth We usually have one of these around too but haven't seen him for a bit.

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    Would the flash scare him away permanently? Where does he go to I wonder.....is it worth trying to find his daytime perch? We used to have an owl ( no idea what sort ) that roosted in the shearing shed during the day.

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    are you serious? Shelley's Avatar
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    Jodie, I used external flash 580exII and was able to auto focus with light shone on the owl. It did not seem to bother the owls and I was able to take some shots - they were used to cars going past, if I was in the light I was able to get reasonably close and get some shots.

    My settings were M mode, iso 400, F7.1/F8, spot focus, Shutter speed of 1/250 mostly, set up on my monopod. If you can get the flash off camera - its good, but you still get decent shots with it mounted. I noticed my red eye reduced drastically when I mounted my flash on a bracket. I used a home made bracket and it worked well. I would have liked to have tried some more light, but it was fiddly carrying the stuff and trying to get the owl anyway was enough.

    All the best.

    Experiment with your flash settings eg. reduce the power/increase etc., which I did and you will get some decent shots.
    Shelley
    (constructive criticism welcome)

    www.shelleypearsonphotography.com


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    Thanks so much Shelley - I did check out your owl shots as suggested in another post. Fantastic work Thanks too for the advice on your average settings! (another thumbs up )

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