3 Days – 3 Raptors!

The new year is starting out quite nicely.  Even though I am under the weather with a very bad cold, I can’t miss photographic opportunities when they are presented.

Day 1-Shortly after Dianne had left the house to run some errands around town, she returned excitedly telling me that a Barred Owl was hunting on our street.  We are fortunate to live in a part of town that has mature trees and large lots.  At an intersection a block away from our home, a spring-fed creek flows under mature cedar trees and sometimes native Brook Trout can be seen there.  I quickly grabbed my camera which is always ready to go and the Barred Owl was still there paying little attention to us and other residents that were starting to arrive.

Barred Owl

Day 2-I had traveled to Algonquin 3 times this past fall in search of the often-seen and reported Great Gray Owls but I have not been lucky enough to see any.  With the reality that everyone would be going back to work and school next week we decided that one more trip had to be made even though I was still not feeling 100%.  The 4th time was the charm and even though the Great Gray never ventured close enough to us for full-frame images it was still a thrill for all of us to watch it while it hunted and flew from perch to perch.

Great Gray in flightWhooo are you - Great Gray OwlGreat Gray OwlGGOW Take off

Day 3-Today is a typical Orillia January morning with flurries and bouts of heavy snow showers.   My feeders were very busy in the early morning hours but around 10 activity dwindled to nothing.  Our resident Coopers Hawk had returned and patiently waited for almost an hour but eventually left without brunch.  I took the opportunity to take a variety of images exploring different settings.  The first picture has an aperture of f8 which blurs more of the front and back of the item in focus, in this case the Cooper’s Hawk.  As I processed these images this morning, I noticed that an aperture of f8 rendered my subject in focus quite well but in turn it blurred the snow-covered branch that is directly in front of the hawk.  A viewers’ eye will go to the brightest object in a picture and in this case the snow-covered branch which is not the intended effect.  Since the very co-operative hawk was still in the tree, I tried a smaller aperture of f20 which brings the branch in the foreground into focus and a much more pleasing image, at least I think so.





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  1. Scott Martin January 7, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Congrats on the Great Gray Arni….perseverance always pays off! I hope I’m with you the next time.

    • Arni January 7, 2013 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks Scott, I hope so too!

  2. Nathan B January 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    What a run, doesnt get much better then that!!! Congrats on the
    Great-grey as I know you have been trying to get that bird for a while. Kelly and I will be heading to up soon to hopefully get a chance at seeing one.

    • Arni January 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Thanks Nate, it sure was a thrill to finally see the GGOW. Those 3 days were great for sure!