Barred Owl -----------

I bought my first digital SLR camera almost exactly 11 years ago. It took me that long to make some photos of a Barred Owl. It was sitting in one of the oaks at the edge of our woods this evening. This owl nests here every year and we can hear their distinctive call “Who, cooks, for-you, who, cooks, for-you, all” every night and sometimes even during the day. You can’t imagine how happy I am to have finally some images of this mostly nocturnal bird. I still haven’t figured out where the nest of the owl is, I just know it is very close. Last night, right after the bird had called again, I could hear some pitched noise just from outside my office window, obviously from a young bird. Actually I had another story and photos for you from today, not even less exciting, but the joy about this accomplishment prevailed.

Friends who follow my blog regularly know that I usually don’t set the ISO in camera higher than 200, and it is very rare that I exceed ISO 400. The noise reduction that is required with higher ISO in dim light comes with the loss of detail, and I believe detail is important for bird photography. Today was such an exception. I didn’t want to risk ending up with blurry photos only and so I dialed in ISO 800. The exposure was still as low as 1/125s, actually too slow for handholding at 600 mm focal length, but I guess turning on the VR (vibration reduction) helped to walk away with some pictures in focus.

Nikon D750, Sigma 150-600mm / f5-6.3 DG OS HSM S, @ 600 mm, 1/125s, f/6.3, ISO 800