The Barred Owl and its Many Challenges (Three Photographs)
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Another photographer mentioned to us that there was a barred owl about and offered to show us the general area where he had seen it. After considerable wandering through the underbrush we found it half asleep in a tall tree. Owls don’t care if you are scouting around for a good background for their portrait or if there are branches in front of its face. They just take note of you and fall back to sleep. This one ended up leaning so far forward I was sure he would fall (the second photograph). Barred owls have black eyes, another great photographic challenge given that we normally focus on the eye. In the first picture there was a branch out of focus and across the bird’s chest (the original out-of-camera shot is the last of the three photographs here), Photoshop to the rescue. Given the noise in photographs like this I used MacPhun’s Noiseless Pro for the first and Nik Dfine 2.0 for the second photograph. Dfine is great on auto most of the time and covers the basics. Noiseless helps when the work is harder. Here I wanted a general noise reduction just a touch higher than Dfine would give me. Besides the branch, another issue with the first photograph was haloing in the out of focus branches, almost like chromatic aberration, (and for which I have no solution) as well the bright sky contrasting with the greenery was not a perfect set-up. Still the second photograph is my favorite of the two finished products as it was taken when the owl looked like he would topple over.