Sunday, April 6, 2014

Will Springtime Ever Come to Virginia? Stephen L. Tabone Finds Spring Owls

It just seems to keep coming at us. Snow this week. We've had a couple of hints of Spring, but nothing to count on. I recently read a quote that I really like:
"All winters turn to spring."
Stephen L. Tabone is one of the best wildlife photographers I've seen. This week, he posted images of barred owls that he was able to kayak to here in Virginia.
Image Source:
(Click Here) to read Stephen's post and see several excellent pictures of the barred owls.
I like this post on several levels. First, I love owls. I have only successfully photographed one; I have not been too successful at finding them, though Stephen gives me a clue with finding his near a creek entry to a lake.
Here's the one I was lucky enough to find some time back:
Barred Owl, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 Lens at 300mm
iso 400, f6.3, 1/800 sec.
Beyond the subject, I really like that Stephen was able to approach his owls by kayak, one of my favorite ways to get out and photograph nature. I'm looking outside at the rain and 40 degree temperatures, but know that it won't be long before I can get out in my kayak as well.
Stephen's images are always first-rate. For this post, he was shooting a Nikon D800 and 80-400mm lens. I'm not sure whether he has the older or the new version of this lens. The new one is quite spectacular, which I say based on playing with one for a few minutes only. Stephen also uses a flash and flash extender ("Better Beamer") in some of his shots. I have a version of the Beamer, but always seem to get white eyes in birds that I shoot with it. So, I almost never use it. The solution is to get the flash further off-camera, so that the light reflected from the bird's retinas doesn't come right back into the lens. But, with a big old flash, Beamer attached, it gets quite clumsy to try and either hand hold the flash off-camera (with a long lens attached), or use some kind of bracket. It's tough enough shooting birds like this, near impossible with unwieldy camera gear. That said, my shot above could have used just a tiny amount of fill flash to bring the left side of the owl's face up in brightness.
In any case, Spring is on the way to Virginia! Thanks for reminding me, Stephen.