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This is logged in my filing system as a motor racing photograph, which is not as bizarre as that might sound... It was taken at Interlagos, São Paulo, during t...
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This is logged in my filing system as a motor racing photograph, which is not as bizarre as that might sound... It was taken at Interlagos, São Paulo, during the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix meeting. Burrowing owls are regularly seen at the venue - and sometimes sit on barrier posts while cars are on track - but this one took the more sensible option of a dead tree, which provided a clear view across several corners. Lens: Sigma 100-300mm f4
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Contest Finalist in Beautiful Owls Photo Contest
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Magnificent Capture
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Absolute Masterpiece
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Outstanding Creativity
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Anything Birds Photo ContestTop 10 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 49Top 10 class
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3 Comments | Report
craigthompson_6053
 
craigthompson_6053 November 01, 2017
Phenomenal
Daisy00 Premium
 
Daisy00 November 16, 2017
Great shot!!
brittabia
 
brittabia January 22, 2018
Love this shot! What a handsome bird.

Behind The Lens

Location
It looks for all the world like a nature reserve, but this was actually snapped at the Interlagos racing circuit in the suburbs of São Paulo, Brazil. Burrowing owls are quite a common sight at the venue - even when cars are on track - and this was taken during one of the pre-race practice sessions at the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix (an era when Formula One cars were still properly loud). It's not unknown for local owls to perch atop the trackside barriers, but this one chose a dead tree between Turns Seven & Eight. That said, it was for some reason watching me rather than Lewis Hamilton...
Time
Late Saturday morning, though hard to be absolutely accurate as I hadn't adjusted the camera clock to Brazilian time.
Lighting
All completely natural. There are lots of advertising hoardings at racetracks, so I was quite fortunate that a) it was reasonably bright and b) the owl was perched in front of a fairly clean backdrop.
Equipment
Although I have since switchd to Nikon, this was taken when I was still using Pentax kit. Body was a K-5, attached to a lovely Sigma 100-300mm f4 - a fabulous lens. I'd quite like to find a Nikon version...
Inspiration
I am a professionally accredited motorsport photographer, so usually have the privilege of standing in front of the debris mesh. Although Interlagos is close to a major city, circuits are often close to open countryside and I always look out for passing wildlife. Brands Hatch has a handsome collection of butterflies (quite often take a macro with me when I'm there in the summer), Oulton Park has a regular buzzard and I've seen a bald eagle fishing at Lake Lloyd, within Daytona International Speedway (though I missed the shot). Most European tracks seem to have pied wagtails and there used to be a pair of breeding oystercatchers at Snetterton. In this instance, while most of my colleagues had their lenses trained on the circuit, I kept my ears and eyes peeled for nearby owls - and this one proved to be very obliging.
Editing
Usual story for me: no! This was shot at 300mm, but the bird was quite close so a slight crop sufficed.
In my camera bag
As mentioned, I used to rely on Pentax and owned most things from a K200D through to a K3 before switching to Nikon late in 2015. Contents of my bag vary according to location, time of year (Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6 a bit limited in failing light) and my desire to travel as lightly as possible. Main body presently a D800e, with D700 on secondary duty and rather battered D800 in reserve. Apart from the 200-500, I use a Nikkor 300mm f4, Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro, Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 and a Sigma 24-105mm f4 that is almost always to hand.
Feedback
Whatever your primary focus, always set out with an open mind...

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