Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Horned Owl


My Summer Evening Visitor



 This summer of 2011, in the late afternoons, I have had the pleasure of watching a rare visitor to my yard .  A great horned owl has taken up residence in my tallest elm tree.  Just about every afternoon when the sun drops to a lazy angle, the owl moves to an open branch and begins to preen. Then as dusk descends, off it flies  to begin its nocturnal activities. 



One morning the owl happened to be on a branch where the sun light was catching it so I quickly grabbed my Nikon 500mm 4.0 lens.  Upon focusing in on the owl's face, I noticed that the right eye socket appeared to be empty.  I took several more photos and sure enough, this was a one-eyed owl!  After carefully examining the photos in Lightroom, I saw that the eye socket was hollow.  In amazement, I wondered how this owl could have lost the eye ball.   
 



I have seen great horned owls around this area before and have heard them vocalizing at night with the familiar "who, who, who" sounds.  Curiosity got the better of me, so I went to Google to look for more information.   So far, I haven't been able to find anything that might explain the eye loss, but I did uncover some interesting facts. 

On the website, "About Falconry", I learned that 95% of an owl's brain power is taken up simply for its eyes and that the eyes of owls are larger than other birds of prey.  Bearing this in mind, I wondered how my owl was able to adapt with just the one eye.  



Every afternoon when I am home, I've made it a ritual to go out and watch my friend.  Great horned owls are amazing hunters that strike from above with their powerful talons.  Their diet consist of reptiles, smaller mammals, birds and rodents but they have been known to prey on larger animals including cats, dogs, other raptors and even owls.  After looking around on the ground, I've come to realize that my owl is eating quite well.  I found a large number of  castings or pellets that were regurgitated from the indigestible material of bones, fur and beaks. 



The owls in North America have always carried great lore and superstition.  Many people are afraid of the beautiful birds and I have been told by some that the hoot of an owl means there will soon be a death.  I grew up watching 2 white owls that lived in my Aunt's windmill tank and on many a southern night, listened  to their screech.  I feel very fortunate that my one-eyed owl has taken up residence in my yard.  We each peacefully coexist and go our separate ways and enjoy watching each other from a distance.



For additional information:

http://www.about-falconry.com/owl-species.html







No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Thursday, September 15, 2011

Photographing Spider Webs


Nature's Weavings

A walk through the yard on a September morning with my D90 and Nikon 150mm 2.8 macro lens finds just the right type of lighting for photographing spider webs.



From my experience, early morning seems to have the best lighting to catch the sun's reflection on the delicate strands.  If you live in an area where there is humidity, you might also find drops of dew accenting the web, however this is a very rare phenomenon  in the high desert of Nevada.  




A wide aperture helps to blur the background so that the focus remains sharp on the web.  I find that auto focus does not work as well as manual focusing to bring out the small strands.

   


As with most of my macro, I will use a tripod which holds the camera steady so I can concentrate on setting up my shot for the best composition.





Firing the flash when the area is in shadows can bring out some interesting details.




Please remember when out photographing nature to take only photos and leave only memories.  Always be respectful of the creatures that make their home in the wild.





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Monday, September 5, 2011

Cropping the Photograph

To Crop or Not to Crop


When I was first learning the basics about photography, I was taught to crop the scene within the camera by moving closer or changing physical position.  Zoom lenses were considered inferior so a serious photographer would only use a fixed length lens.  With advances in technology, zoom lenses became sharper which made it easier to crop in the camera.  As a last resort a certain amount of cropping could be done in the dark room, if the negative was sharp enough. 



Enter the digital age with processing software and voilĂ  cropping is made so much easier.  However the original image still needs to be sharp and have the maximum number of pixels. 



So if we have a sharp image with 300ppi, how much do we crop.  With my Nikon D90 set for Image Quality: RAW, after processing I will have a finished photo that is 4288 X 3848 or 14.293" X 9.493", giving me a 34.9M file.  The photo will also be saved as a TIFF and not as a JPG.  And the difference between those two will be for a future blog. 


 The image size is especially crucial when you are cropping in on a photo to get a secondary clear sharp image. 


 Before the photo is cropped, a decision also may arise on whether it should be a vertical or horizontal.   By rotating the photo in Photoshop, I can get a good idea of which format would give the subject a more interesting appearance.   Once that decision is made, I will crop and re-size as needed.



One thing you must consider when cropping is how tight on the subject to go.  Leaving a neutral space around the subject creates a more pleasing image, otherwise the subject becomes confined.  An additional factor to consider if the photo will be framed  is to allow enough space so that the subject will not be confined or covered up with a mat.



Experimenting with cropping in Photoshop is fun and can be very rewarding when you find those hidden images in a photograph.



No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/