Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2008 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 5 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!!!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Still not satisfied!

I made yet another visit last night to see my latest found Tawny Owl site, sorry I know these posts are getting a bit repetitive but I still haven't as yet attained an image that I am entirely satisfied with. With the crevice facing northeast the sun sets behind the tree putting the owl into almost blackness.  So I made this latest visit later in the day than on previous occasions after the sun had set, which was good as I didn't suffer from horrid lens flair that reduces contrast and makes the image look all washed out, maybe I need a filter of some kind?? Anyhow, that then gave me other issues to deal with like lack of light! I know I don't have a very high quality lens but when the light levels are low it really comes into its own, I opened up the aperture to F3.2, (didn't go all the way to F2.8 because it goes too soft) dialed in a high ISO which still enabled a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. The camera/lens was held rock solid on my beanbag and luckily the owl held a statue like pose, the result was definitely my best effort to date although still a bit noisy/grainy and washed out.


I WILL still be making another visit to see this owl(s) at this site as I think an early morning visit could pay dividends? I have calculated that if I was in situ at dawn there may be just a slither of sunlight on the crevice for 5-10 minutes when the sun rises. If this is the case it will make the whole task of getting an improved image much easier. All I want then is for both the owls to show together, mmmmm I don't want much then do I?

Whilst driving over the fields to see the Tawnies I passed my Little Owl site No 214. I have not seen a bird here for nearly a year. So you can imagine I was chuffed when a pair flew from low down in the Willow Tree and perched up at eye level not far from the Landie. So just to give this post a bit of variety here below is a heavily cropped image of one of the Little Owls in the setting sun.


Thanks for visiting, see you all soon!

16 comments:

  1. I don't think that or the previous effort are bad at all Paul, I've only ever seen a Tawny in complete darkness. I'd be over the moon, what exposure level did you dial in? As i was thinking either a little less perhaps a third less giving perhap a little more shutter speed which might make it less washed out (even though I don't think it is).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Doug, I was shooting in aperture priority mode and dialled in minus 2/3's, F3.2 and iso 1600. I couldn't take the exposure any lower (to increase shutter speed) as the image was just too dark and trying to recover it in PS made it look terrible, although I did try! I could have got another 1/25th of a second shutter speed at F2.8 but the overall image goes too soft. The main problem I am having is when the sun is still up and behind the tree (shining straight at me), the subject (the owl) is almost completely black (because of the shadows) and slithers of light come through the branches and straight into the lens making the image very grey and lacking contrast. That is why I thought maybe a filter of some kind would help? Anyhow, of course I am happy with this latest image, it really helped waiting for the sun to go down, I am just being greedy as I want two owls together again in good light!!

      Delete
  2. Wonderful pictures of owls!!! We love these birds:-)
    Best regards - Michał and Piotr, ornitologists from Poland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment Dzial.

      Delete
  3. Great pictures.. Beautiful header.. Congrats..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nothing wrong with this picture Paul !

    Greetings Michel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I known there isn't Michel, I am just being over fussy!!

      Delete
  5. That Tawny owl is a beauty! That shot is perfect......really. Don't stress over getting the "perfect" shot because I already think you have it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers for your comments Chris.

      Delete
  6. It's great to see. If you're not happy, keep trying. I think a lot of photography is about whether the photographer is happy, not what other people think!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy with the image but I am sure there is better still to come, I'll keep trying!

      Delete
  7. Stop coming up with excuses and get a proper Image.................................lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK i'll pull my finger out and get on with it Col!!

      Delete
  8. Don't know what you're complaining about, Paul. Not many people can boast having a photo of the rare blue morph Tawny Owl!!

    Seriously though, I'd be over the moon if I'd got an image just half as good as this. Well done!! Haven't even seen a Tawny yet this year - I must try harder!

    ReplyDelete
  9. A "blue morph" Tawny, I didn't notice that Richard, yes I suppose it does have a tinge to it. Thanks for stopping by mate.

    ReplyDelete