Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

This Spring I was working on a series of bird photos.  I wanted to do birds of prey.  My favorite place to photograph birds is World Bird Sanctuary which is just outside St. Louis Missouri.

If you have never seen a Barn Owl in flight, it is almost silent.  It is almost like you can feel a slight disturbance in the air rather than hear it flying.  Talk about fleeting, it you didn’t know the bird was in the air, you might miss it.  I was at the Sanctuary, and they were flying this owl:

ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500
ISO 400 70mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

For all these images in this post I was using a 70-300mm IS lens.  For the photo above and below I was using a fast shutter speed because I really wanted to stop the motion of the bird.  For these images I was not using a tripod.  Here is the owl at rest with a treat:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500
ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/500

Here is the final photo I used for my project:

ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125
ISO 400 150mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

This is actually an HDR image.  I merged three photos that were exactly the same, except for their exposure, in Photomatix, which is a software that specifically helps the user create HDR images.  As for the photo itself, because the bird was still, I lowered my shutter speed.  It had been at 1/500th for the other two shots in the post but here it is 1/125.  That is still a pretty fast speed and the reason for that is that I know that if any of the feathers are moving at all, it creates a blurred look in HDR.  For this shot I was also using a tripod.  A lens like the 70-300 IS I was using is fairly heavy, so the tripod was to help with any camera shake I might have introduced by just holding the camera.

I was happy with the way my birds of prey turned out.  The final photo is available in my Picfair portfolio.  One of the other birds in the series was a Eurasian Eagle-Owl that I blogged about here.

This post was written in part as response to the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress, this week’s theme is fleeting. I appreciate your thoughts and comments so feel free to leave them below.



70 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

Add yours

  1. I always love wildlife photographs, but these are amazing; the detail is fantastic. I agree with you about the way an awl fly’s. It is so totally different than anything else I have witnessed. Thank you for sharing your photos.


  2. Oh these are gorgeous PJB ! The one in low flight there well done ..his face makes me smile though I catch myself thinking of an Owl with mumps Lol
    That last one is so clear … lovely limpid but obviously all seeing eyes . His face looks like it is edged with a sort of embroidery chain stitch !
    Your whole Bird gallery is well worth a look at 🙂


  3. We have barn owl(s) living in our crofting township but we don’t get to see them in this incredible detail. About twice a year when we’re driving home at night, a small white ghost drifts silently just over our car 🙂


  4. Those owl`s are amazing. You have a great eye. It`s not easy to capture animals, birds etc. You have to be so patient, lucky and also understand how to take those fleeting moments and turn them into awesome captures.


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