I recently saw a beautiful abstract painting of an owl, and it inspired me to work on some of my owl images in a different way. All of these were created in Topaz Studio, using a variety of different filters and techniques. It’s been a lot of fun playing around with these this week.
You can find these images, and lots of others, over on my gallery page.
Last week, I featured hornbills for my topic of the month, and this week, it is birds in the dark. I had started typing out birds at night, but one of the images was taken at daybreak, and I thought it best to try and be accurate 🙂
I was very fortunate to have several different owl sightings during my travels, as well as two nightjar sightings. The nightjars were by far the easiest to photograph, as they tend to lay in the road after dark, and if you are lucky you can drive the vehicle fairly close to them and use a spotlight. Owls are a more challenging one, unless you are lucky enough to find them very close to the road, and not spook them when driving up.
This past trip, the first owl sighting I had was on my first evening game drive, and it was rather exciting. I spotted this owl far away on a tree, and as we watched for a few moments, we realized it had a kill it was working on. The terrain made it impossible to drive any closer, so I had to do the best I could with a 400mm lens and a bit of cropping; the quality isn’t fantastic, but the moment was definitely memorable.
I had one eagle sighting while in the Timbavati, of a pearl-spotted owlet, but unfortunately by the time I got the attention of our ranger to stop, the owl was in flight and all I got was a butt shot as it flew away. And not even a decent butt shot; it’s completely blurry and not worth sharing. There’s always next time though 🙂
The rest of the sightings of birds in the dark all came while staying at Chitwa Chitwa with Harley as our guide. Harley really seemed to enjoy pointing out birds, and identifying the ones that I would randomly point at (generally small raptors which I still have a terrible time identifying).
The southern white-faced owl and the spotted eagle owl were seen within about 10 minutes of each other while heading back to camp for dinner; and then the pair of Verreaux’s eagle owls were spotted the following morning as we set off from camp.
Nightjar’s are a common bird to see on game drives at night, but a lot of times they fly away before you have a chance to capture a picture. This past trip, I was fortunate to have two sightings of different species that I could get decent images of.
I hope you enjoy my selections for the week. Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!
I was busy working last week and something caught my attention outside, out the corner of my eye. I spotted this gorgeous barred owl in a tree in my backyard, and rushed to grab my camera to take a quick photo through the window.
I decided to take a chance and dash outside and hope to get a better shot. The owl gave me a quick glance, let me snap 3 photos, and then was off, deep into the forest.
I love when beautiful creatures like this decide to make a stop in my yard 🙂
I had planned on creating a post about hummingbirds this week, but it’s just not going to happen. I have been out taking photos of them as much as possible, but I haven’t had a chance to edit them yet. As it’s Father’s Day today, I want to spend time with Pops rather than at my computer editing images.
Below is a selection of bird images from my travels that I haven’t had a chance to share yet.
Actually, I guess this should be more appropriately titled What I Saw Last Week, as none of the photos are from the last 7 days. It’s typed now though and no point in wasting time changing it. On to the photos, and wishing everyone a great week ahead.
The week ended on a very interesting note, and has left me with a fair number of photos to go through. On the advice of one of the members of the photo group, I went east of town yesterday hoping to see the northern hawk owls that had been spotted earlier in the day; I managed to see one, perched so high up in a tree, the first time I drove straight past it.
Today, I decided to take a drive about an hour out of town to a park, to scope out potential photography areas for the spring. It was just too lovely a day to be indoors. I had Spencer with me and we had a nice walk along the frozen marsh, but on the way out, I started to pull over closer to the side of the road to let a truck past, and the combination of ice covered road and extremely soft snow on the side, I ended up with the passenger side wheels stuck. A lady tried to give me a tow (who it turns out is also part of my photo group, but we hadn’t met yet), but that didn’t work so we set off to get into cell range so I could call for a tow truck. While I waited for the tow, it gave me a bit of time to catch up on some podcasts I’d been wanting to listen to, and honestly, the people around here are lovely. Every single person heading in or out of the park stopped to see if they could help in any way. I’m very grateful to the kindness of strangers.
And if I hadn’t been delayed an hour, I likely wouldn’t have seen a bald eagle perched high in a tree on the side of the highway (thoughtfully, right near a truck pull out so I could safely pull over). And since many wise photographers have always said “look behind you”, I turned to scan the opposite side of the highway, and saw two more perched in a tree and one soaring above, calling repeatedly. So an owl Saturday, and four bald eagles (plus a slightly lighter wallet) on Sunday. All in all, an excellent weekend.
And with that long and rambling weekend description behind us, on to the photos.
It was quite an exciting week for photos this week! Given the continued icy conditions on my road, I’ve been driving a short distance away to one of the main roads to walk Spencer. Tuesday morning, there were a huge group of ravens and magpies surrounding a ravine, so I stopped the car to see what had happened. During the night, the local coyote pack took down a deer, and the birds were tucking into the leftovers (evening at 9am, maybe only 1/4 of the deer remained.
We set off again at lunch for another walk, and this time the ravens and magpies were absent; while walking I figured out why – a beautiful bald eagle was watching over the area. I grabbed a few shots and he or she flew off through the field, and I carried on with my walk. On the drive home, I spotted the eagle again and grabbed a few more shots through the open window of the car, before realizing that there were two eagles in the area. I followed one to the end of the cul de sac, and was lucky enough to be able to get a few more shots in before it was time to get home and get back to work.
Fingers crossed this coming week brings more wonderful photo opportunities.