…morning light is magic…

Great Horned Owl Chick

With being in a major rut lately due to no photography, decided around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning (jet lag + normal brain damage) to head out to Brazos Bend State Park.  My normal modus operandi would have kept me home with cloudy weather and the chance for rain but I really needed to get out and shoot for my own sanity.  Encountered some light rain on the hour drive to the park but blew it off as scattered early morning fog/dew/wet stuff, anything but rain.  Of course I believed the weather channel’s radar, at 3:00 a.m.  Needless to say, turned out not to be a bright sunny day.

Got there about 1/2 hr before sunrise, which was a little too early on a cloudy day.  Made my way around 40 acre lake when it started to sprinkle.  Took off my jacket, covered the camera and kept on hiking.  Not much activity except some Coots and distant Great Egrets.  Headed back up the trail to find the owl nest after installing the 1.4x teleconverter.  Found a few decent photo op’s along the way including a Northern Shoveler and a Great Blue Heron building a nest in a tree. 

Got a little more rain as I neared the parking lot and decided to put my camera in the trunk to keep it dry.  Walked down the trail to find the owl’s nest.  Had to stop under a large tree to keep out of the rain when it started to come down with more intensity.  Finally spotted the nest and started to walk back to get my camera when I turned around and saw the chick staring at me.  Began to wonder if momma was in the nest or ready to attack from another tree.  Got my gear and confirmed that the parent wasn’t in the nest, which provided some cool photo op’s of the chick.  He was very attentive and would watch everyone that came walking by, including a few nearby squirrels. 

Sandy showed up and we had a good talk while waiting for the mother to come back.  Saw a glimpse of her flying back into the tree but she didn’t return to the nest.  She ended up falling asleep in the tree so I headed home.  A potentially crappy day turned out to be a good one.  A very cool experience was had by all, well at least me.  Thanks again Doug for the tips about the owl.

Taken with Canon 7D and Canon 500mm F4 IS II with 1.4x III teleconverter mounted on tripod with Wimberley II head

1/160 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, fill flash with better beamer at – 3 stops

0220Brazos Bend_03142014-2

1/320 sec @ F5.6, ISO 1600, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, fill flash with better beamer at – 3 stops

0241Brazos Bend_03142014-2

6 responses

  1. You definitely made the best of that day.

    March 18, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    • Thanks Lyle. It turned out better than I expected for sure.

      March 20, 2014 at 5:18 am

  2. Very cool pics. It’s great to get out after a hiatus, no matter what you see, but to see an owl chick…. well, it just makes the day. Good for you!!

    March 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    • Thanks Judy. It felt really good to get back out somewhere to shoot. My first owl chick so that was a major plus. Had a great time.

      March 20, 2014 at 5:19 am

  3. Glad to help. Sandy was there the week before too. Like I said the night before, going to Brazos Bend SP on a bad weather day (and bad light) still beats sitting at home wishing you could go out and shoot.

    I’m glad you got some clean shots of the chick. It was pretty iffy light the week before when I was there. Just seeing the chick move around was pretty cool. Getting it looking at you is even better. Nice captures.

    March 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    • Thanks Doug. It was very cool to see the chick. Got some action shots with its mouth open that I’ll post later.

      March 20, 2014 at 5:20 am

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