Apr 7, 2014

Behind the Image: Snowy Owl on Plum Island


Last winter there was an unusual population of Snowy Owls across New England. While talking to other birders I learned that there was an interruption of food supply further north which drove the birds further south. Some didn't make the journey and died of starvation. One prime location close to Boston is Parker River National wildlife refuge, and Sandy Point State Reservation on Plum Island. It is a year-round birding paradise and in the winter birders and nature lovers flog in from around the area to get a glimpse of the beautiful Snowy Owl. I am trying to get a glimpse of one for years and only saw one years back. This time I was more lucky and more determined and when I made my way out in the wee hours on a frigid day in December I found three of them. This one was patiently hanging on the rocks and a willing photography subject for me and the other outdoor photographers present. 

I came equipped with a Canon 300mm fixed lens, 1.4x telezoom extender which brought my final focal length to approximately 620 mm - just close enough to get a frame filling image. In this image I wanted to include the incoming waves to show a bit of the owl's habitat and environment. I moved in closer and closer by carefully taking a round of picture, than moving tripod and gear forward before taking the next round of pictures. Aperture was set to f/8 resulting in a shutter speed of 1/40 second at ISO100.

During post processing I applied dust removal, minimal lighting, contrast and color saturation adjustments befiore sharpening and cropping the final image of this Snowy Owl Bird Photography image.  

Good light and happy photo making! Juergen

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