Dinner for you
Elf Owls (Micrathene whitneyi), Hereford, Arizona, May 19, 2010, at 9:09 pm, by Ed Schneider
Published: December 22, 2010
When Ed Schneider of Whites Creek, Tennessee, made his first trip to Arizona, he was hoping for life birds. Knowing that our readers have voted Miller Canyon a favorite place to watch both owls and hummingbirds, he visited a bed and breakfast in Hereford — and not just any B&B, but one that has hosted nesting Elf Owls for seven years.
Elf Owls (Micrathene whitneyi), by Ed Schneider
On May 19, a female was sitting on eggs in a nest in an Acorn Woodpecker cavity in a telephone pole. Schneider stepped into the backyard just before dark to watch and listen. As night came on, the male started calling to the female, and she flew to meet him on a branch.
Schneider focused his camera while the owner of the B&B briefly shined a flashlight, revealing the birds. The owner switched off his light, and Schneider, 30 feet from the 5.75-inch-long birds, quickly snapped 15 photos. The fewer the flashes, he knew, the better.
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4 ED
Tripod: Gitzo 3530LS with Wimberley II head
Settings: ISO 250, 1/60, f/5.6, aperture-priority AE, auto exposure, -1/3 EV exposure bias with center-weighted average metering, manual white balance
Light: Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight with Better Beamer flash extender
Format: RAW converted to JPEG
Adjustments: Cropped 20%. File conversion, background noise reduction, level adjustments, and slight sharpening of subjects with Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.0
Meet the photographer
LIFE LISTER: Photo gallery contributor Ed Schneider, pictured above kneeling behind his tripod-mounted Nikon D300, is a musician by trade. He lives in Whites Creek, Tennessee, a woodsy small town 10 miles north of Nashville.