Snowy Owls Digiscoping March 1, 2012

March 03, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I heard there were snowy owls spending the Winter in a wheat field about 70 miles from where I live so decided to take a look. I debated, scope or camera or both. Well, the first time I just took the camera and regretted not bringing the scope. There were five immature snowy owls lined up in a row like ducks..... but separated by a 100 meters or so.

Next day...yepper...you guessed it. I took my scope and did some digiscoping. This time around the owls were not in the spot they were before and I was initially bummed out as they were 'gone'... That location would have been perfect as I could of scoped from the road and the owls were perhaps 50 meters away. So, I went a looking.... I found em. There were two of them sitting in the wheat fields, one had its back to me but the other was facing me. There were about 100 meters apart still so I focused on the nearest one facing me.

The day was cool and the wind was blowing pretty good, ...cloudy for most part with a bit of sun in between.

I set up my scope outside my car and shot the owl from about 100 meters again. Hmmm...too far I thought, even for a large bird as an owl. So I started creeping in by walking in the wheat field and soon I narrowed the distance to a solid 50 meters....definitely a doable shot given the size of the owl.

Shots were taken at exposure - 2 stops and kept my F stop at 4.5 which gave me good enough shutter speed ...at times over a 1000. Not bad for a stationary owl. The wind was a bother though as even though I have a solid Benro tripod, I was worried that even a bit of wind would upset the shots. But I had little choice...one can't choose the perfect field now, eh?

All told I snapped off 150 shots...with sets of 4 shots on a 3 second timer delay. The shot below is cropped but still a good shot. I love digiscoping for it allows me to get a good shot and get close enough to the subject. With a camera + lens, I would have chased the owl away by attempting to get too close prior to taking the shot...

What did I learn from this little adventure...first, that it I have a steady tripod, a windy day doesn't hurt my digiscoping too much. Also, I continued to strive for my shots by not upping the ISO...The ISO remained 100 or 200 as I will not venture into that territory where shots come out looking soft. I can always compensate for lack of ISO but can never compensate for softness.

Thoughts? jim


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