The Barred Owl and its Many Challenges (Three Photographs)

Barred Owl-To view more of my photography please click on

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.

Barred Owl--2

Barred Owl-Barred Owl OOC

22 responses

  1. so lovely, so lovely 🙂 Thanks and Love, nia


    July 1, 2015 at 2:34 am

  2. Pretty amazing taking into consideration all the challenges


    July 1, 2015 at 3:43 am

  3. Sooo lovely. I love owls so much.


    July 1, 2015 at 5:20 am

  4. I find processing my bird photos a challenge, especially since i do not use a flash.


    July 1, 2015 at 6:58 am

    • I do not use flash with birds only insects, and then not all the time. I use shadow and highlights, tonal contrast ( the old dodge and burn) to get more out of my shots.


      July 1, 2015 at 7:17 am

  5. The colors and composition are wonderful.


    July 1, 2015 at 8:54 am

  6. Very beautiful captures! Thanks for sharing. 😃


    July 1, 2015 at 11:18 am

    • Thanks. Great to be able to show creatures like this in their natural surroundings.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 1, 2015 at 11:57 am

  7. Gorgeous, lovely birds and photos.


    July 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm

  8. Great shots! I love owls!


    July 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm

  9. Beautiful shots, and awesome editing job on that first one. I love your comments about the challenges of getting a great photo of this fine owl, too. Eyes closed, branches in the way…..- I’ve had the same experience whenever I’ve been lucky enough to see a Barred Owl, but never managed any photo that approached this quality!


    July 1, 2015 at 4:11 pm

  10. I think any photo of an owl is special, but these are really beautiful. I appreciate your patience in getting such nice shots.


    July 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm

  11. I love owls. Never had a chance to see a barred owl up close, though. It’s so frustrating when you spot such a critter and can’t get a good shot for all the tree “noise.” Beautiful shots, despite the challenges!


    August 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

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