Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Arty Farty!

Over the last two days I have been going about my normal owling business only this time I was in the good company of Andy Rouse the well know wildlife photographer. We had loads of plans, loads of sites to visit and loads and loads of Little Owls to photograph............well that was the plan!!! The weather has been just abysmal and it hardly stopped raining for the two days he was with me. To make the most of the daylight hours (what day light?) we had two early starts and staked out numerous locations.

Below are a few of the images I managed (as usual double click on it for greater detail), not a lot to show considering the amount of time we spent, but not too bad when you take into account the constant rain and very low light levels. We had some very quiet periods when the owls just did not show, so this gave me plenty of opportunity to discuss with Andy some of the photo techniques he employs which results in some stunning images.

Among all the tips and advice he gave me one of the best was to try and achieve an atmospheric image that shows not only the owl but the natural surroundings it lives in too. Given the right situation, conditions and some accommodating owls I will be trying this new technique out in the future.

My first attempt at an "atmospheric image" normally I would have cropped this image so it would have shown just the owl and hardly any thing else. Here we can see (if you look hard enough) the owl just emerging from its nest entrance with some superb tree detail.

The same bird a split second or so late, I've had to crop out some really horrible areas of the image and thus the composition is not quite right but I think it works.................nearly???

The next site we visited is a bird and an setting I have taken on many previous occasions, only this time I have tried to be a little bit more "arty" by allowing the image to "breath" a bit. Can you see the owl?

Another attempt at being a little more artistic, nicely posed owl and some nice detail on the tree trunk and nothing else that is distracting to the eye!

This next image shows a nice natural "green" habitat that I particually like that shows off the bird well, but due to the foreground branches I had to crop it more that I would have liked. Obviously the horrible grey sky on the right hand side is really distracting to the eye and completely spoils the image.

This next image was taken from quite a considerable distance and I would normally have cropped right into the bird making it hardly usable, but because I haven't been as severe as normal with the cropping it makes the image a little more usable.

Finally this last image shows I thought a little more about my positioning and got a nice composition of the Little Owl and on an interesting branch..........but what spoils it is the horrid gap in the background trees that shows the sky, doooohhhhh!!!! 

It was a real experience and privilege spending some time with Andy and hopefully his advice will pay dividends for me in the future??...........Cheers Andy.


  1. Some great tips in there, Paul - and some really great results! Well done! (could try some soft-edge cloning to take the white sky out of the last image)

  2. Some very nicely composed images here Paul and having followed Andy Rouse's work for some time I can see his influence here.

    I really like the third shot...Works very well for me.

  3. Thanks guys for your supportive comments.
    Richard, i have no idea on how to do soft edge cloning??????

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