Great Horned Owl
Made my summer trek back home to Indiana a couple of weeks ago with limited expectations from a wildlife photography perspective. We usually go in June when the Osprey’s are nesting and there is an abundance of Sandhill cranes in the area. Therefore, I left my 500mm lens at home and traveled light with my 100-400 II lens.
To my surprise, the Osprey’s were still around along with some Sandhill cranes. Best of all, found this Great Horned Owl along a dirt back road.
Just after sunrise, I was driving along my usual route when a bird caught my eye with just a glimpse of something flying just under the tree canopy as it spread over the road going up a hill. I crested the hill and saw the bird gliding very low about one foot above the road. Thought to myself that it wasn’t a hawk but had to be an owl. He flew up into a tree near the road. When my car got closer, he flew away and continued down the road. As he approached an intersection with a paved road, I thought that he was going to get hit by a car if he continued his path but he took a quick right turn before getting to the stop sign.
Drove very slow while scanning the area when I spotted him lying in the grass along the road on my right side. Had to go past him and turn the car around to get into position for some photos. The first photo shows what he looked like after I turned around. Slowly inched the car forward to try to get to a better position with the grass out of his face. Made it to that position but there was some trash just on the left side of his head. Had to move again to get the trash behind his head.
Had to remove my teleconverter and use ISO to 10,000 to get my shutter speed above 100. Luckily he stuck around for 10 minutes which allowed me enough time to remove the teleconverter and get several photos. On my computer, I can see the reflection of my car in his beautiful eyes.
Aperture priority, 1/80 sec @ F8, ISO 12,800, evaluative metering, 560mm
Aperture priority, 1/125 sec @ F5.6, ISO 10,000, evaluative metering, 400mm