50mm Lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

This weekend I spent some time at World Bird Sanctuary because they were hosting a Camera Day.  That is where they have some of their birds out of their cages so that you can get some nice photos in a more natural setting.  Here is a shot I got of a Great Horned Owl:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/4 1/800

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/4 1/800

The good news is that I had a great time.  The bad news is that I forgot my tripod.  While it doesn’t matter too much for this particular photo, I will tell you that I have a lot of photos that will be heading for the electronic trash bin.

As you can see, it was a pretty bright day.  I set my ISO pretty low but because of the dark wood colors I did not set it at 100, but 320 looked like it would work.  When I am shooting in this situation I almost always try to shoot bracketed exposures.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that with light changing frequently in a wooded area, a bracketed exposure gives you more options per click of the shutter.  The exposure that would have worked a minute ago may now have changed.  Bracketing offers you some flexibility with the changing conditions. The second is I am almost always thinking of trying to make an HDR image out of a photo like this.  What you see above is HDR.  I really like bird images in HDR because in my opinion it really brings out the detail in their feathers.  I chose a low f-stop because I did want to blur out the background a bit.  I would like you to notice how well this bird blends in with its background, but I don’t want the background to compete too much with the bird.  Given that this owl is made to blend in with it’s environment, the balance between the subject and background can be a tough one.  Since the Great Horned Owl is often not seen but instead heard, you would be forgiven for thinking it was a bit eerie to suddenly hear it hooting.  I wouldn’t blame you for jumping a bit.

Eerie is the theme of the weekly photo challenge at WordPress and other entries can be found here.  Have you ever been startled by one of these birds? it’s happened to me more than once while out camping, in the dead of night of course!  Do you like this HDR version?  This is not my first time photographing the Great Horned Owl, here is another shot from last fall. Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Advertisements
Standard
Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: What color are your feathers?

The theme this week at Where’s My backpack? is multicolored.  I thought right away of this photo I have of an Eastern Screech Owl:

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

It has lovely colors but the interesting thing to me is that this bird can also have more of a grey bark color.  Same bird, but it depends on where it lives when it comes to what coloring it has in its feathers.  I have a link here to some information about the bird, and also a photo of the dramatically different way it can look.

As for this photo, I took it at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis. I added in the link in part because if you are in the area on November 3rd they are hosting a Camera Day.  On that day they will take many of their birds and place them in natural settings.  It is a great day to get photos.  I took the photo above on a camera day this past spring.

Speaking of this photo, it is actually three photos merged into one using HDR. So, I took three exposures, one dark, one light and one in the middle, and merged them together using Photomatix. In Photoshop I did a bit of sharpening and cropping.

This owl is part of a series that I did of birds of prey, they are here for viewing and purchase.  I have blogged about a few of the other photos too; the Long-crested Eagle, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, and the Barn Owl.

So what do you think of this little one? and it is a very small owl!  Feel free to leave comments below.

Cheers!

Standard
Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

When Nature gives you a Pattern, Wear It

I recently finished a series of 10 images for a photography class I was taking.  All of the images are of birds.  Here is a Eurasian Eagle-Owl:

ISO 200 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

ISO 200 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

The pattern of feathers help the owl blend in with its surroundings.

For this particular series of photos, I rented a 70-300mm lens.  I did also use a tripod for this image.  I used a bracketed exposure setting because I wanted to make an HDR image.  In this case I have three exposures, -1,0,1.  I used Photomatix to process the image into an HDR version.  Once the images were combined I used a “painterly” option that is available in Photomatix.  For this image I was interested in maintaining and highlighting the detail in the feathers.  After I was finished creating the HDR image I edited the photo in Photoshop.  I sharpened the image a bit by going to Filter-Other-High Pass.  In the layer panel, I chose blending mode “Hard Light”.  For my class I printed a 10×15 version that I matted.

Questions or comments about this image? Feel free to leave them below.

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge which this week has pattern as its theme.

Cheers!

Standard
Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week’s photo challenge from WordPress I picked photos of the Eurasian Eagle Owl to represent the theme delicate.  Despite being one of the larger owls, it’s individual feathers are quite delicate.  I found one on the path at World Bird Sanctuary and took the photo just to show how delicate it is.  If you click on that photo you can see the wood chips through the feather in several places.  I have included a couple of pictures of the owl too, just to give you a feel for its size and beauty, if you are not familiar with this particular bird. Just for your information it is against US Federal Law to possess feathers (and the like) of birds of prey.  If you see the feather, take a picture, not the feather 🙂

Cheers!

Standard
50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Design, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Design in photos and paint

This week’s assignment in Design class was actually three items when it was all said and done.  You will see them below.  Two I did using photography and the third is a painting.  The assignment was this, create a microcosm in collage format.  Then translate that to black and white and as many shades of grey as you like.  We were also permitted to use one color if we chose.  First I made the collage.  I used many photos I had of birds, particularly owls, and then combined those with a picture of my older child.  A representation of part of that child’s world.  I made a black and white version and a color version to help me make the decision regarding the use of color in the final painting.  Here are the two collages:

Collage in color

Collage in color

 

Collage in Black and White

Collage in Black and White

I used Aperture, CollageIt, and Photomatix when creating these.  CollageIt was a free app that I found at the App Store.  Using that I was able to combine the photos I had in mind from Aperture.  It is a pretty straightforward app.  If you are looking for a free, basic, app, it is those things, and it was very helpful for this project.  Then I made three version of the collage to put in Photomatix.  That was helpful in accenting the texture in the collage.  I created a color version and black and white, then put both back into Aperture for some final tweaking.

I decided that I liked the black and white version better.  I also decided that I wanted the final painting to be vertical instead of horizontal.  I used black white and five shades of grey.  Here is the painting:

Final painting

Final painting

So, what do you think?  Have a favorite? question or comment?  leave them below in the comment section.

Cheers!

 

Standard
50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Photo Editing, Photography

Friday, a work in progress

Today I am writing about a photo that I shot a few weeks ago but have just started editing:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/1.8 1/160

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/1.8 1/160

This is Twig, a 19 year-old Eastern Screech Owl who lives at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis Missouri.  I put the link in for their website and would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the area.  Twig sometimes takes naps on the floor of the enclosure causing concern for more than one visitor.  It was unusual for Twig to be this close to the front of the enclosure so this is probably the best photo I have.

As far as the editing goes, first I started in Aperture where I tried to remove as much of the enclosure as possible.  Then I made three copies in order to change the exposure.  So one version I set at -1.33, one at +.33, and one at +1.33.  I then put the three versions in Photomatix and the image you see above is a fusion of the three copies.

I am thinking I am not finished messing with this image.  I would like to attempt to do a better job of removing the enclosure.  I would also like to create a version or two that I like better in Photomatix.  I know I can come up with a better image, so I think I will keep working at it.

Happy Friday to you, and I hope that the projects you are working on are going well.

Cheers!

Standard
50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Tawny Owl in Black and White

I have entered this photo in competition:

ISO 100 f/3.5 1/50 50mm

This was originally shot in color, then converted to black and white.  I cropped it and sharpened it a bit.  It was pretty sharp to start with because I had used a 50mm lens and am not really all that far away from the owl.

It is available for purchase here.

Cheers!

Standard