Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October Class A First Place image

October Class A First Place image by Gary Prestash

This Barn Owl (captive) was photographed in Ontario, Canada, at a photo shoot at a raptor conservancy there. Static shots were a snap but the BIF was TOUGH - tougher than I ever thought! I had a low keeper percentage on this, my first real attempt at this type of photography but, I did capture several images that I liked and that I felt were sharp and which had the whole bird in the image. Tech Data as follows for this one;

Camera: Nikon D300 (what else?!!) in Continuous Mode at 8 frames/second; Auto Focus set to 21 points; Exposure mode - Center weighted; Exposure index set to -0.7 so as not to blow out the whites on the owl; ISO was 640 and the shutter speed was 1/3,200 second. The Image was taken using a Sigma 300mm f2.8 lens set to f4. I also photographed with my Nikon 70 - 200mm f2.8 VR lens which was a bit lighter and easier to hand hold for long periods than the heavier Sigma 300mm lens was, but this particular image was one was through the Sigma lens. Following a fast moving bird is quite a challenge! The final image shown here is pretty much the whole captured image - don't think I cropped it at all - or very little. Some tweaking in CS3 and Nikon NX, was used in the post processing, especially to tone down the white dots (open milk weed pods) in the lower part of the background.

BIF seemed to be the next logical step up in bird photography and a way get more dynamic images of wild birds, so I did did the 17 hour round trip up and back to Ontario to have a crack at it. Several other different raptors were made available for photographing during the three hour workshop and my arms were absolutely exhausted from hand holding for the full three hours, but the good images I made there made up for it! ~Gary Prestash

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