PatCorlinPhotography
PatCorlinPhotography

Silent Departure _ Pat Corlin Photography



“Silent Departure”

While photographing a lone Snowy Owl on the seacoast in Massachusetts, another descended silently onto the marsh ... and the...
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“Silent Departure”

While photographing a lone Snowy Owl on the seacoast in Massachusetts, another descended silently onto the marsh ... and then there were two! Settling in for a short spell, this new owl seemed content to visit just long enough so that anyone with a camera had the opportunity to capture a few good images ... and then, without warning ... a silent departure.
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3 Comments | Report
PatCorlinPhotography
 
PatCorlinPhotography January 27, 2015
So grateful to all who took the time to give me such encouraging support on this image! THANK YOU!
Byronfairphotography PRO+
 
Byronfairphotography January 29, 2016
What a outstanding capture. Very nicely done.
PatCorlinPhotography
PatCorlinPhotography February 11, 2018
Much gratitude Byronfairphotography! So sorry for the delay in my response I am only figuring out how to see comments.
barbaramillesrobinson PRO+
 
barbaramillesrobinson March 16, 2016
Exquisite photo! Voted OPEN WINGS. Good Luck!
PatCorlinPhotography
PatCorlinPhotography February 11, 2018
Thank you kindly Barbaramilesrobinson, I appreciate you taking the time out to leave a comment. So sorry for the delay in my response I am only figuring out how to see comments.

Behind The Lens

Location
This early morning capture took place at Salisbury State Park, Salisbury, Massachusetts. A public park that remains open in the winter months, with free access to all.
Time
This particular frame was captured on February 15, 2014, at approximately 8:15 in the morning. I left my home at 5:30 am to be at the site for the 6:39 sunrise. Snowy Owls are actually not nocturnal and can be seen hunting any time of the day. I could have shown up later and still captured a lot of images, however, by getting out of bed and arriving at dawn, there were only a few photographers present, Therefore, I was able to move around freely without others in my view finder. And because I arrived so early, the lighting morning light was perfect and the winds were quiet and not as biting as later in the day.
Lighting
The long shadows of morning are much lest stark and warmer light from the sunrise helped soften the contrast in the deep crevices of the icy landscape. The gift of this day was a slightly overcast sky that acted like a huge soft box, evenly light this Snowy Owls.
Equipment
This was shot on a Nikon D3s on a tripod, at ISO 400, with an 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6. The focal length was 370mm with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a second, at f/5.6. To allow as much light in as possible no filters were used.
Inspiration
Snowy Owls spend their summers in the Arctic tundra. They nest and hunt in regions that are vast and uninhabited by many humans. During the winter they migrate south to snow covered locations where they can blend in with their surroundings and still find food to hunt. Rarely do they migrate as far south as the state of New Hampshire. However, during the early months of 2014, an extraordinary event occurred where Snowy Owls appeared here in record breaking numbers, literally in our own back yards! Inspired by the opportunity that Mother Nature had given me to see and photograph my first Snowy Owl in the wild, I packed up my gear and hot coffee and headed to the seacoast ... broken wrist and all. During a five week period, I visited with and capture images of our very accommodating guests while they hunted our marshes and rested on our rocky shores, rooftops, and telephone poles. In the spring, our magnificent Snowy Owls flew north, as silently as they had arrived. No one knows for sure why they chose to travel so far south and no one knows if they will once again return. Truly a gift.
Editing
This image was captured in RAW so post processing work was required on this image, but minimal. I worked in both Lightroom and Photoshop to help with a bit of white balance correction and tonal adjustments. Some contrast and shadow adjustments helped produce the final piece presented here.
In my camera bag
I never go anywhere without two camera bodies and plenty of charged spare batteries. I shoot with a Nikon with a D3 while using a D3 or D700 for backup. My go-to lens for almost every situation is my Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 but my favorite toy in the toy box is my Nikon 70-200mm 2.8. It is ALWAYS in my gear pack. For more specialized work I carry my Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 and my Nikon 85mm 1.4 prime for portraits and my Nikon 50mm 1.4 prime for some street action. My Nikon 80-400mm zoom is a bit slow but fabulous for nature photography when I can’t get too close and the subjects are not moving very fast. Not a great birding lens for sure but the Snowy Owls fly pretty slow and spend more time sitting still so it was perfect in this instance. I have recently invested in the HiTech Filter System which I absolutely LOVE! Standard present-at-all-times gadgets include my Benro carbon filter tripod with ball head and my Hoodman loupe.
Feedback
After Snowy Owls have fed and are resting, be prepared to sit (I have a fold up stool in the back of my car) or stand (always have a tripod so you can alternately place your hands in your pockets for warmth) for hours, in the bitter cold. They move very little, occasionally giving you a turn of the head, a yawn, a stretch or a bit of grooming. They tend to hood their eyelids a lot so be patient. Wait for them to open wide before shooting, you will be rewarded. Birds or even helicopters flying over head can evoke some dramatic responses form the owls so watch for those natural triggers. Have your shot set up, wait and be ready. They will let you get close so a 70 to 200 mm lens can often do the job if you have nothing longer. Try to get in a position where the sun is behind your Snowy Owl or at a 45 degree angle. That way, when they do open those spectacular yellow eyes nice and wide, the pupils with be larger and much more dramatic than if the owl is facing into the sun. My last word of advice is be prepared to sit outdoors for a very, very long time. Warm boots, hats, face wraps to block the wind, hats, hotpockets and a remote trigger in your pocket or around your neck! Oh, and did I mention HOTPOCKETS? Absolutely my favorite tool in my winter shooting toolbox! They will warm your fingers, toes, your head and ears if you slip them under your cap. Careful, don’t burn your ears...just sayin’ :-)

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