Wednesday Vignette: Return of the Owl

Two weeks ago, I posted pictures taken with my phone of a barred owl at Cistus Nursery for Wednesday Vignette, hosted by Anna of Flutter & Hum. The following weekend I got my new camera and I've been taking it with me pretty much everywhere, especially work. This week, I had another encounter with the owl. Just like last time, I was walking through the garden and only a chance look upward revealed the silent creature perched in the branches. It was in a much lower branch of a different tree this time, and I was less than ten feet from it. I backed away quietly and hurried to get my camera. It was still there when I returned and, just like last time, was totally unconcerned at my presence. It even started to ignore me, turning to watch cars go by on the road. I had to make noise to get its attention so it would look my way for pictures. That's right. I was the crazy guy talking to an owl to take its picture.

I may have gone a little overboard, snapping almost a dozen pictures. I haven't acquired a telephoto lens for my camera yet, so I had to rely on my little 12-32 mm. I think it did a pretty good job.

This is a cropped image from the picture above. I don't know how obvious it is from these little blog photos, but there is a significant improvement in quality compared to the cropped image from my phone. I could actually print these photos out and frame them.

I was testing the limits of how close I could get. I'm pretty almost directly below the owl here. It was hard getting the exposure right, pointing up at the sky like this. It's a bit dark. But this is about where I was when I first saw it.

And cropped for a closer look:

One last shot, with a bit more of an eye for composing a pretty picture. The plants were highly cooperative. Such a great start to my week had me practically skipping for the rest of the day.


I hope no one is sick of the owl, because if I see it again, I'll be posting more pictures here. I still want to catch it back in that eucalyptus tree, and maybe next time I'll have a telephoto lens.

Comments

  1. I love the owl pics! It's funny that yours is so tolerant of your presence. The only one I've seen flew away when he saw me just looking at him through the window from a dark room. However, my brother, a much better photographer than I, claims that birds get to know you and all you have to do is be patient about building a relationship.

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    1. I have a feeling hanging out at Cistus Nursery has made it fairly tolerant of people. This is only my second time seeing it in daylight, so it certainly hasn't gotten used to me yet. The great horned owl that came through my parents' property a year or two ago was much more skittish.

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  2. I see a beautiful photographic relationship forming.

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    1. I do hope so. Seems like it's a fairly familiar sight at the nursery. Lucky me!

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  3. What a fantastic creature. Your photos are great, Evan. I think he likes you.

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    1. Thanks, Grace. I'm glad he's a regular.

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  4. I would love to see an owl in the daytime. I hear them in my woods but never see them. Your photos are awesome, Evan, I like the regal striped chest feathers and the bars across the tail.

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    1. Thanks, Hannah. I guess I've been extremely fortunate, seeing at least 4 owls in the daytime.

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  5. Great photos of a gorgeous owl. Like you, I would have been the madman talking to the owl to get it to turn!

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    1. Thanks! Oh, good, I'm not the only crazy owl-whisperer out there.

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  6. Love love love these pictures. It's always best to snap a ton of pictures because you never can tell what you are going to get. Beautiful colors on this bird, your nursery must be part of its territory; aren't you the lucky guy. Do we know what type of Owl this is?

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    1. Yep, apparently it's a regular and hangs out in the neighbor's trees a lot. They offer denser cover. But it likes to come over to visit the nursery, too. Who wouldn't? I'm pretty sure it's a barred owl.

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  7. You've made a new friend (such a handsome fellow). What better way to play with your new camera?

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    1. As much as I love photographing plants, I have to admit my new feathered friend is a very special subject for photographs.

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