Burrowing Owls

March 21, 2010
Burrowing Owls

1/1250sec @ f/5.6
300mm, ISO400, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D40
AF-S 70-300mm 4.5-5.6

I said all I want to really say about Burrowing Owls in my last post about them. They are tiny, endangered, live under ground and are stunning. I feel extremely privileged to have been allowed to view their world for a short period of time. However there is one thing I would like say about being in the moment with these little guys, I wish I had known more about photography. I was still in my very steep learning curve days (obviously I am still learning but the curve has flattened out a little).

The shot above shows a classic mistake that I keep coming up against looking through my old shots – the aperture was wide open!! If there was one piece of advice I could give myself back then it would have been pay attention to the f-stop and understand how it can affect the entire shot. In this case it reduced my depth of field so much so that the second owl is out of focus. If for some bizarre artistic reason that had been my intention then fair enough. However that is nowhere near the truth. My artistic intention was to get a natural shot documenting the owls in their native environment. What actually happened, if I remember correctly, was that I thought having the aperture wide open isolated the subject against its background and gave that cool “professional” look. I was wrong on two counts; firstly a lens rarely performs at 100% while wide open, secondly the idea of isolating a subject with a wide open lens only really works if the subject is on the correct focus plane. If there are two subjects they both have to be on the correct focus plane not one behind the other!!