Al Swanson  

Untitled by Al Swanson

March 2020 - Untitled

March 2020 - Al Swanson


About the Image(s)

I believe I may have mentioned before that we winter in Arizona “ “ we are snowbirds. Last week we visited one of our favorite places in the state: the Sonoran Desert Museum near Tucson. They have a live raptor show twice a day where they can find visitors to a space of about 10’ x 60 yards and then they release various raptors to fly around the visitors and demonstrate their talents. An exceptionally fantastic show. We go at least once a year. Anyway, last week they released this barn owl. There are trainers on both sides of the spectators who deposit meat treats on strategic branches and the raptors fly back and forth over the tops of the spectators heads to retrieve them. Anyway it’s a great show. I captured this particular shot of an owl making this run. He had just left the branch in the lower right and was on his way to his next treat. This is a show you just cannot miss. In this particular one, they had teams of Harris hawks, Peregrine falcon, blue falcon, and this barn owl. Postprocessing included highlighting and cropping, minor cleansing of grit, and saturation. Technical stuff: Canon 5D Mark III, F 13, 1/2000 of a second, ISO 500.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
11 comments posted

Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
Nice swooping picture of the owl. I must say, though, that my eye is drawn to the white outline around the bird's talons, which probably indicates over-sharpening. Perhaps you weren't able to get into the correct position, but could you have gotten a shot of the owl with some meat in it's clutches? The upper left segment of the image seems to be empty of visual interest.   Posted: 03/07/2020 05:11:27

Mike Patterson   Mike Patterson
I agree with Jerry about the empty space in the upper left. I also agree that the processing was probably off and the image lacked a sharp focus. Nice capture of a flying owl, though, which is something difficult to capture.   Posted: 03/08/2020 20:22:05

Joseph J Zaia   Joseph J Zaia
Nice capture Al. I wish I had one of these. I feel that the empty space at the left is needed to support the span of the upper wing and to give more room for the bird to fly into. Although the image is fairly sharp, for birds in flight, the ISO should be at least 1000. I also suggest that you select the eye and just brighten it a bit; a bit, not too much. Although I have not kept up with the Nature Div. rules these days, but in my days, the ID ring was accepted, but the cut-off stump at the bottom shows the hand of man and was not acceptable in International competitions.
  Posted: 03/11/2020 19:00:51
Al Swanson   Al Swanson
Thank you for your input. I agree that cropping the left would shortstop the birds flying space. I don't believe there is a hand in the image-please see the original.   Posted: 03/11/2020 23:09:29
Jerry Biddlecom   Jerry Biddlecom
Joe's reference to the "hand of man" is a common phrase used in many competitions and is meant to point out in a given image where evidence of human activity is present, thus negating the feeling of a purely natural and wild state. This could include structures, feeders, cars traveling along a distant highway, etc. In this case, Joe was referring to the sawed off tree stump.   Posted: 03/13/2020 17:52:14
Joseph J Zaia   Joseph J Zaia
Sorry Al, apparently you are not familiar with Nature Exhibitions.
Thank you Jerry for clarifying my comment.   Posted: 03/14/2020 09:19:04

Peggy Reeder   Peggy Reeder
I agree that this is really a good capture Al. It sounds like a great show! I would have liked to see more detail in the feathers, but you were probably a little too far away for that. I think your crop is fine - I like the diagonal that you have created. Minor detail - there appears to be a sensor spot or dust spot just under the bird's right wing.   Posted: 03/12/2020 06:19:26
Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
Agreed about the spot.   Posted: 03/12/2020 11:56:21

Marti Buckely   Marti Buckely
I'm going to agree with Joe about the empty space. The bird does need some space to fly into and the composition using the Rule of Thirds is done well here.
In addition to the talons, I'm also seeing some halo effects around the head and neck. The capture is really nice. It's hard to get a nice flying shot and you have done well here.   Posted: 03/12/2020 11:55:30

Kaylyn Franks   Kaylyn Franks
Boise is home to the World Center Birds of Prey, which hosts regular flights as this one. In fact Jim Shane from Boise who is an avid bird photographer had a featured article in the PSA Journal in February. He has given presentations to our club and shared the eye of the bird must be tack sharp. When I look at the original image, the eye of the owl is not sharp. I am guessing your attempt to sharpen created the halo around the entire bird. I suggest telling a story With this image. Try cropping to the right of the other bird on the left and above the the heads of the people on the bottom. Leave the branch and other people in the image. You may need to straighten the horizon a bit.   Posted: 03/24/2020 10:29:34