Photographing Burrowing Owls, getting lost in the eyes of your subject.

I think it was Humphry Bogart who said, “She had the kind of eyes you could get lost in”. I love to photograph owls for a lot of reasons but mostly because of there eyes. They have the kind of eyes you can get lost in. When beginning to photograph wildlife it’s important to understand that an animal’s eyes are the most important part of the composition of a wildlife photo. Because of their large prominent eyes, owls offer a great opportunity to practice this principle. Owls, however, are very reclusive nocturnal creatures for the most part which can make finding them and subsequently photographing them quite difficult. There is one species of owl however that is relatively easy to find and is active during the day. The Burrowing Owl. If you want to practice your wildlife photography and work with a subject that has great eyes, then burrowing owls are just the trick.

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I love my 600mm lens, but how do I get it there? Traveling with a super telephoto lens.

Most wildlife photographers start out using smaller lenses and work their way up to large super telephoto lenses as time goes by. In the beginning, I had a 300mm f4 and like most, lusted after larger lenses but wasn’t sure that wildlife photography was something I would stick with long enough to justify the expense of a larger lens. Once I saved enough and pulled the trigger on a 600mm lens I couldn’t wait to travel and test it out. My first trip with this monster was to Jackson Wyoming and Grand Tetons National Park. I knew it would be the perfect lens for the trip but getting it there on the plane was concerning and would take some thought.

Young Pronghorn Antelope Grand Tetons National Park
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Yellowstone, a Wildlife Photographer’s pilgrimage. Part 3

I don’t know about you but the first night I try to sleep in a new place I never sleep very well. A smaller bed, strange noises, and anticipation of the day ahead led to a restless night. We all know that wildlife is more active early in the morning and at dusk. The plan was to rise early with enough time to get ready and be on the road shortly before sunrise. Times of sunrise and sunset vary by longitude and time of the year. Sunrise and sunset calendars for various locations can be found easily online. In the first week of October sunrise in Yellowstone was around 7:30 each day give or take a few minutes.  We were up at 5:30, coffee in the lobby by 6:15, breakfast to go from the Canyon Eatery, and on the road about 7:30, Scanning the roadsides for wildlife as we drove. This would be the morning routine for the next several days.

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