Snowy Owl Flying Low

Joined
Jan 2, 2009
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4,579
Location
Alaska
Last winter the guide on my snowy owl trip showed me a photo he'd captured of a bird flying so low it was just skimming the ground. It was an awesome shot and set a goal for me for the trip. It's fairly typical behavior but like most things a guy has to be in the right spot at the right time. And then not screw it up. I did manage to capture a couple of low flyers over the course of the week. Here's one of them. How cold was it? Check out the hoarfrost on the bird's breast feathers.

The shot needed a good bit of processing to pull out the feather detail and I just got around to reworking it.

D500/AF-S 80-400@330mm, handheld
1/1600s, f5.6, ISO800

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Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
4,579
Location
Alaska
...utterly ghostly and so well shot! "Hold your fire until you see the whites, er, yellows of their eyes...
Thanks, Nick. Ghostly indeed. Hard enough to see the bird in those conditions and keep it in the VF. It's a testament to how well AF works that the camera was able to lock on and track.
Great shot. Skimming the surface coming right at you...
Thanks, Bob. Typically they approach a meter or so off the ground then dip lower as they approach their prey. At first I wondered at the technique thinking it would make it more difficult for them to target. But upon reflection I realized it makes it even harder for a mouse/vole to see them coming. Being so low to the ground the prey can see up to spot high flying birds but has a very limited horizon.
An awesome shot Dan, I'd print this.
Thanks, Louis. I'm still trying to convince my interior decorator/business manager of the artistic attributes. She's not fond of the white on white.
Those eyes are amazing.
Yes IMO the eyes make or break a snowy shot.
Great image. Those eyes are something else. The capture is perfect!
Thanks, Allan. I'm pleased with the angle etc but would have preferred to have captured the wingtips. Bird was moving really fast. One thing about them that surprised me was the speed.
Thanks, Randy.
 

Commodorefirst

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May 1, 2005
Messages
21,064
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Missouri
Stunning shot, was planning to post my only snowy in flight photo as a blast from the past, but mine is eh, compared to this capture. Where did you capture this shot?
 
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
184
Location
Germany
Real Name
Eric
this owl and a motive like this flying low over the ground is one of my dreams, that i hopefully will (at first see) get sometimes.
you `ve made a great job. i wish i could be there.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
4,579
Location
Alaska
this owl and a motive like this flying low over the ground is one of my dreams, that i hopefully will (at first see) get sometimes.
you `ve made a great job. i wish i could be there.
Thanks for the kind comments, Eric. Hopefully you get an opportunity before too long. Very fun birds.
 

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