Snowy Owl in Randolph

One of my photography students brought a photo of a snowy owl to class Wednesday evening. So I decided I would see the owl for myself Friday afternoon.

I finished photographing an assignment for a magazine shortly after noon and headed toward Randolph. I found the owl with some help from a friendly local. The owl was sitting on a bale of hay wrapped in white plastic. You might be able to spot it in this photo on a lower bale to the left of center.

I slowly approached the owl with my tripod and long lens.

The snowy mostly sat sleeping in the sun. Here is a photo I got after about 20 minutes when it briefly opened its eyes just a bit.

A little later the owl decided to relocate to a different hay bale. I knew it was going to fly because of the preparations it made. But I wasn’t fast enough to catch its flight properly.

 

Once it settled in on its new perch it went back to sleep. About 25 minutes later it started to stir and I got a photo that appeared to show that the owl might have an injured right foot.

Another 20 minutes or so of sleeping and the owl decided to do some preening.

 

Here is a sequence of the snowy owl preening.

 

A half dozen photographers came and went. A couple walked quite close to the owl. The owl seemed to be quite unperturbed by their presences, even fairly close up. Perhaps it has only seen a couple dozen humans in its life.

Eventually the snowy relocated to a much more photogenic perch. It was fortunate that the owl faced into the sun the whole time. Perhaps it was doing this to stay warm, but it also helped photographically. Front light is excellent for photographing birds.

 

I was disappointed I did not get any decent flight shots. So I pulled one I took over 11 years ago in central VT.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours mostly standing in one place watching the owl sleep. I was alone with it much of the time. By the time I left I was thoroughly cold. The hot chocolate I had when I returned home was an excellent way to warm my body.

Eagle Flying

I led a Field Trip for my Digital Photography class Sunday morning in Woodstock. The eight of us had a great time. It is wonderful to work with such enthusiastic and dedicated students. 

One of the things I suggest in my classes is that when you are driving almost anywhere, have a camera on the seat next to you preset for your next photo. But how do you do this since you don’t know what the next photo will be? Well, if you come upon a beautiful scene and stop to take a photo, it doesn’t matter what setting you made since you most likely have plenty of time to reset the camera. But if a moose or bobcat is standing by the side of the road you will most likely have to shoot fast and not fiddle with your settings. So preset your camera for that situation.

I decided to take River Road home. As I neared the Taftsville covered bridge a bald eagle flew over the river and landed in a tree in front of my car. I stopped, got out of my car, and slowly approached.  I did not have to change any setting on my camera or even look what settings I had. The eagle was mostly hidden by the leaves still on the tree so the few shots I got were not good. But then it flew right by me over the river.

It circled and landed on a beautiful oak across the Ottauquechee River. It was time for a longer lens and tripod. Fortunately the eagle sat in the tree for about three minutes before departing upstream.

I got some photos of the eagle flying away but none were as good at the first few I got with my shorter lens. The following photos are only very slightly cropped.

Fall Multiplied Part 2

After my last post on Multiple Exposures, I decided to try some more. This can get addictive. At least it is a nice break on a dreary November day. 

The following half dozen 10-shot multi-exposures were shot with my camera set to Add (equivalent to No Gain on some cameras) and an Exposure Compensation of -3.

Fall Multiplied

This was a great fall foliage season, though some would disagree.  I have posted some photos HERE and HERE.

While making these “normal” images I tried some multiple exposure shots. Many modern digital cameras can made multiple exposure images and some offer a number of controls that are very useful in different situations.  Some of these techniques are discussed HERE.

The photos in the slide show that follows are all 10-shot multiples taken with a Nikon D500. All were shot handheld.

 

There are other ways to make multiple exposure images. One of the more unusual and interesting is with an iPhone and the ProCam app. (The Android app with the same name is NOT the same app.) In addition to allowing the iPhone to record raw images, this app has a neat motion blur mode that makes images with a “shutter” speed of 4, 8, 15, or 30 seconds. But such long exposures would overexpose the image, so what this app actually does is blend many photos taken at a short shutter speed. For making motion blurs of moving water, you definitely want to use a tripod. But if you set this app to 4 seconds and move the phone while hand holding it, you can make a multiple exposure image. Here are three photos taken this way followed by a normal photo of the image that precedes it.

Give multiple exposure a try sometime. You might like what you get.