Tag Archives: closeup

“Barred Owl”


“The owl,” he was saying, “is one of the most curious creatures. A bird that stays awake when the rest of the world sleeps. They can see in the dark. I find that so interesting, to be mired in reality when the rest of the world is dreaming. What does he see and what does he know that the rest of the world is missing?”
― M.J. Rose

Today’s post is inspired by a fellow photoblogger, Victor Rakmil  and his latest post, featuring a Barred Owl and his own experience photographing these lovely creatures.

Above is a photo I made a few years ago, but one of my most prized ones. Those of you who lean towards wildlife photography will understand why this is so. You see, most of those spectacular images you see in National Geographic and other similar magazines are the result of hours of preparation, and many, many failed attempts to even find the animal, and then, get the shot right. Because, there is seldom a second chance.

Owls, are especially elusive, being night dwellers, they tend to perch high up in trees, under dense cover. So, even when you are looking for them, they are tough to spot. On rare occasions, they remain in the same area for some time and a fortunate birder or photographer happens to find it.

That’s what happened here. A photographer friend of mine began posting images of this Barred Owl on his Facebook page. The images were quite spectacular and made from a fairly close distance. So, I asked him where the photos were made. Reluctantly, he told me, asking that I not share this information with others, which I agreed to.

The next day, I set out to the ‘secret place’ to see if I could spot the owl. Well, about twenty other photographers had already heard about the place and were gathered around the owl, which was perched and sleeping, in an apple tree.  We were all happy to see the owl this close up, but disappointed that it was not opening its eyes, despite the commotion around it. I was also pleased that nobody was stupid enough to throw something to wake it up (one guy suggested it and was quickly told “No!”)

I made several photos, just happy to have seen an owl in the wild, that close up. They are spectacular creatures.

A few days later, I returned, during a weekday, and found only a few photographers and birders present and the owl awake. It had just flown to the ground after a mouse and proceeded to eat it, as the cameras snapped. Then, it flew back up into a tree and rested, satisfied with its morning meal.

That’s where this composition came to life. The owl chose, for a change, to sit in the open, perfectly lit, and wonderfully framed by the branches, soft green cedars in the background. I think I made about fifty images, not wanting to miss this opportunity. The image above is my favourite and I still look at this branch, sans owl, whenever I return to the ‘secret place’, but I’ve never experienced this moment again.

Now that I have a bit better equipment and am more comfortable with it, I’m hoping to catch one in flight this year. Fingers crossed.

Nikon D300
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Poinsettia – A Closer Look”

“Poinsettia - A Closer Look”

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

I could not resist taking a closer look at this poinsettia. As a child I’d often look at them, marvelling at the bright red petals, that are actually leaves, rather bracts (modified leaves), as they transition to green further down the plant. Then there are the actual flowers, which are the bright yellow part in the centre. It seems that when the light hits them just right, they seem to be almost metallic.

So, to be able to photograph this view is a real joy for me. It allows me to really see the complex structures and wonderful texture in the leaves. All the details are here to look at and enjoy.

There is a really good chance this image might just be my 2016 Christmas card.

Nikon D800
Nikor 24-70mm f/3.5-4.6 @ @ 70 mm
1.3 sec, f/29.0, ISO 200

Hi Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Goat’s Beard Seed Head” – Bancroft, Ontario

“Goat’s Beard Seed Head” - Bancroft, Ontario

“Until a seed falls to the ground and dies, it does not become a tree that later yields many fruits and multitude of seeds. We must embrace the thought of death for us to have greater lives.”
― Sunday Adelaja

We used to call these ‘giant dandelions’ as kids. Why not, they certainly look like dandelions, even the blossoms look like overgrown dandelions. The Goat’s Beard seed head, looks like a gigantic dandelion. This image is not even a macro, it was made with my 70-300 zoom at a high aperture to show all the detail. I looked at it in amazement. It’s almost perfect, not a single seed has departed. It’s beautifully full and round, I can see right to the centre.

The wonder here was that this was not an isolated specimen. There were  three or four to chose from, the sun was bright and clear, making for ideal conditions for this shot, along the roadside near Slabtown, on Boulter Road.

This is another image from my day trip through Bancroft’s back-country.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom
@ 240 mm
1/60 sec, f/16.0, ISO 500

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)