This weeks FridayFoto is an image that’s been one of my most successful, I managed to luckily win the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards competition back in 2009 with it. So heres how i took it….
I’d been trying to get a shot like this for about 2 weeks back in the summer of 2009, standing with by back to a hedge in a corner of a hay meadow most evenings as the barn owls would hunt over it to catch voles for their growing young. I would face towards the sun to get the backlit effect and made a larger homemade lens hood to limit the flare in the images. After 2 weeks I had failed to get the shot.
This particular night I was operating the remote camera that we had inside our barn owl nest box, then a hare caught my eye so I left the hide and tried to crawl up to it to get some shots, using my canon 40d and 70-300mm lens at the time.
The sun was just setting and the light was really soft and red perfect for photography. While laying on the ground getting shots of the Hare, I saw a flutter over my shoulder, it was one of the parent Barn Owls, it had just left our nest-box and was heading over towards the sunset. With it flying away i nearly stopped tracking it thinking it would be too small in the frame but noticing it was doing it’s regular trick of following the banks of the stream heading right towards some great light I kept him in frame.
So using AI Servo auto focus tracking I kept focus on it and started shooting away when it went into the great golden light. Really luckily for me the barn owl hovered right at that moment which allowed the light to come through it’s wings.
I didn’t actually think I’d got a good shot at the time, it was only later when I’d got round to editing the photo that it started to look alright. As I was shooting into the sunset the original shot was lacking contrast and punch. Messing with a few adjustments in Lightroom sorted that out and I gave it a more ‘widescreen’ crop as there was a lot of dead space at the top and bottom of the shot that wasn’t adding anything to it.
So basically just a really lucking shot but I guess you can make your own luck by being at the right place at the right time and looking for the best light.
Thanks for reading!