Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photo Trip, Northern Hawk Owl!

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f/4 AFS + TC 14E II @ 700mm, ISO 320, f/8, 1/1000 by Chad Griggs

Derek and I spent two days shooting wildlife and a few landscapes in northern Minnesota the past two days. Our focus was on owls. It can be hit or miss with these owls but we were hoping to find Northern Hawk Owls and Great Gray Owls.

On day one we only briefly saw a Northern Hawk Owl and no Great Grays. The Northern Hawk Owl was amazing though. We completely blew an opportunity to get a nice photograph of it though. It sat on the very top of a tree for about 30 minutes. Long enough for Derek and I to loose our concentration on the bird, then all of the sudden it flew right at us and over our head! We both watched in pure amazement and pain that we weren't paying more attention.

The Owl flew about 100 yards past us and caught a mouse or vole in the snow. It was really amazing how it could even see it from that far away!

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f/4 AFS + TC 14E II @ 700mm, ISO 360, f/8, 1/1000, + 1.7 EV by Chad Griggs

On day two we had a bit more luck with the owl. The two photos above were taken when the owl repeated the behavior. It quickly flew off to an open snow covered field behind us. The owl was a bit back lit so I quickly ramped up my exposure compensation to +1.7 EV. The owl didn't seem to catch anything but then did a low fly from left to right. I was fortunate to get some photos of this small fast flying owl!

Nikon D90, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 + TC 14E II @ 420mm, ISO 500, f/7.1, 1/1250 +1.3 EV by Derek Griggs

We didn't see any Great Gray Owls and we are definitely excited about getting back up there and spending more time with the Northern Hawk Owl. So the owls haven't seen the last of us. Future trips and photos to come!