Great Egrets (Ardea alba), Los Angeles, California, September 29, 2008, 7:50 am, photographed by Graham Owen
Published: February 20, 2009
Powerful and photogenic, Great Egrets at an artificial lake in Los Angeles quickly became Graham Owen's favorite subjects once he acquired his new camera, a Nikon D300.
Great Egrets (Ardea alba), by Graham Owen
Almost every morning, he spent an hour or two at the edge of the water, mastering his camera. In time, the long-legged birds seemed to grow accustomed to his presence. A few even allowed him to approach within six feet.
One September morning, he tried a different approach: He stood way back, hoping to capture action in the trees. He filled an 8-gig card in about two hours. The aerial pas de deux seen here was one of the images he captured.
"I think the secret is keeping alert and constantly trying to learn the birds' flight patterns, their favorite trees, angles of approach and departure," he says. "It just boils down to putting in time and getting in tune with the birds."
Camera: Nikon D300 SLR
Lens: Nikon 300mm f/4D
Settings: ISO 500, 1/4000 at f/7.1, aperture priority, matrix metering
Focus mode: AF-C
AF-Area Mode: Dynamic, 51 points
Exposure Comp: -0.3EV
Light: Natural, no flash
Format: RAW, converted to JPEG and TIFF
Adjustments: Cropped 50%. Levels and curves adjustments. Unsharp mask applied at 60%, radius 0.5, threshold 4, using Nikon Capture NX2, then Photoshop CS3.
|Meet the photographer|
BIRDS & BUGS: Los Angeles photographer Graham Owen, shown here with his D300 camera, says the bird photography forum provides ample motivation to get out and take great pictures. (He's been a member since October.) "The varieties of birds to look at and admire, combined with the passion driving the members, inspire me greatly," he says. When he's not photographing egrets, he's busy as a bee running a business that supplies motion-picture studios and photographers with artificial insects for use as props.