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Great Gray Owl!

Well, my blogging has certainly fallen behind! I was hoping for more time for this sort of thing, but travels and other stuff have made for less of it.

Anyway, just returned from a trip to the bog lands of northern Minnesota, and saw and photographed many interesting birds. Just time for this one photo now, but I'll try and put up some others soon.

A Great Gray Owl bayonets the photographer with its laser beam stare. Of all the birds that frequent wintertime Sax-Zim Bog, this spectacular owl draws by far the most attention.

It was nearly dark when I made this image. Dusk is an excellent time to find these massive owls, as that's when they typically emerge to hunt. The photo demonstrates the vast improvements in camera technology in recent years. It was shot with the amazing new Canon 5D VI, at an ISO of 12,800! Even so, and with minimal noise reduction applied in post-processing, the image still holds up fairly well. Such a high ISO was needed to harvest enough light to make the image, even with the lens (800mm) wide open at f/5.6 and using a fairly slow shutter speed of 1/320 (could have gone slower and should have), and exposure compensation at +1.7. To help produce a sharp shot, I utilized live view to eliminate shutter slap, and careful camera-holding technique (tripod-mounted). Should have used a remote shutter release too, but forgot to throw it in my pocket.

But nerdy photo-talk is not the point here, cool birds are. I'll hope to share some other hardy boreal birds before long. And hardy they are - every morning saw temperatures well below 0 F, with the mercury plummeting to minus 29 F one memorable morning!


Lisa Greenbow said…
Wow. Such a handsome creature.
D Hadley said…
Way 2 Go. Love the geeky camera talk as I learn from it.
Jared said…
Beautiful bird; I certainly am jealous of this sighting. I also enjoy the nerdy photo talk. I'm thinking about ridding myself of three Canon DSLR bodies in favor of the 5D IV.

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