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Great Horned Owl II



Mother's Day Powwow 2013 birds of prey exhibit.

Mother's Day Powwow 2013 birds of prey exhibit.
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2 Comments | Report
Mother_Nature
 
Mother_Nature December 10, 2015
Excellent Colour, Texture, Contrast Composition "Great Capture"
watkinsvk PRO+
watkinsvk December 10, 2015
Thanks Doug!
ovosphotography
 
ovosphotography December 28, 2015
like it!

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Behind The Lens

Location
This is a photo of a Great Horned Owl that was being featured in the Birds of Prey exhibit during the annual Cherokee County Indian Festival & Mother's Day Powwow at Boling Park in Canton, Georgia, USA.
Time
This has always been one of my favorite bird images. My wife and I were attending one of our favorite annual events, the Cherokee County Indian Festival and Mother’s Day Powwow. It was a sunny and warm May afternoon in 2013 and we were walking around the outer circle perusing the vendor’s wears when we noticed the Birds of Prey exhibit. They had several falcons, a Barn Owl and this exquisite specimen of a Great Horned Owl.
Lighting
I am a self-taught amateur photographer and I always try to capture the scene as it is seen at the time. This was midday in May and the sun was high. The birds were positioned in an open field with direct sunlight. I tried to position myself in such a way as to limit the shadows, highlight the key features of the bird, and ensure there was a natural backdrop to make the scene look more natural.
Equipment
This photo was shot with a Nikon D5000 and Nikkor 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. No other equipment was utilized.
Inspiration
Wildlife is one of my favorite photography subjects. I have always been an outdoors nut and spend as much time outside as possible. This particular photo was just too good to pass up. A large, fully mature adult Great Horned Owl in all his glory with full sun; beautiful! The owl was beautifully lit, his ear feathers were erect, and I had the perfect angle to make his color pop against the natural back drop of the surrounding forest.
Editing
I do not typically do a lot of post processing, especially when this photo was taken. I am learning to use some of the advanced features of Photoshop and Lightroom now but did not know anything beyond basic cropping at that time.
In my camera bag
Being a self-taught, ever evolving amateur photographer, my kit is rather limited. I have plans to increase and upgrade as budget permits but, as usual, it doesn’t seem that budget will ever permit. I still carry my first DSLR that I purchased back in 2010, the Nikon D5000. As for lenses, I carry my Nikkor 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 with a SKY 1-A filter and the Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6. I recently purchased the 55-300 to replace the 18-200mm that came with the camera kit and have been happy with it thus far. 99% of my photos are taken with natural lighting so I do not have a flash, although I hope to get a Speedlite soon. I also carry a sturdy, light-weight tripod for those shots when I have time to set up.
Feedback
My favorite time of day to shoot would have to be early morning or evening when the light is softer. I particularly enjoy mornings when everything is waking up to start the day. The best advice I can give is: one, have your camera with you. I cannot tell you the number of times I have missed a shot and wished I had brought my camera along. Two, if you like it or it peaks your interest, shoot it. When able, I will shoot multiple images of the same subject at varying angles and exposures until I am satisfied with what I covered all possible options. Third, patience and preparedness are key. There are times when you will have to stand still in one position for extended periods waiting for that one shot and when it comes, you have to be ready. When I know I am going to be shooting in a particular area, I will shoot a few test shots just to ensure the camera is set up correctly. If I have to wait a while for the shot and the lighting changes due to clouds or time of day, I will re-shoot just to ensure the setup is still good and I am ready for the shot.

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