After dark in Boundary Bay

Evening Snowy Owl - 2013 © Christopher Martin

After watching a Barn owl hunt across the long grass marsh flats at Boundary Bay through dusk in mid-March, I was packing up when I saw a Snowy owl perched on a log.  It was about 100 yards away but the white oval shape stood out distinctively against the blues and blacks of evening.

Looking over the fields - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I worked my way along the levee towards the bird and it just stared at me as I stopped about 50 feet away.  We stared at one another for a minute and then the owl whipped its head around and cocked it towards some sound or motion I was oblivious to.  It didn’t attack and went back to looking around for a while.  A few minutes later, it launched onto another large piece of driftwood which was closer to the ground.

Stalking in Boundary Bay - 2013 © Christopher Martin

From there, the snowy stalked along the wood and ended up jumping into the grass at one point.  It stayed in the grass for a little bit but I didn’t see whether it was successful in catching something or not.

In the marsh - 2013 © Christopher Martin

The bay was dark by this time and I left the owl as it flew to another perch nearby.  I had a few great encounters in Boundary Bay – I’m already excited to go back soon.

6 responses

  1. Great shots! What did you do to take them? Did you use a tripod, etc.?

    April 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    • Hi Svetlana,

      Thanks for your questions. In the failing light, I was doing as much as I could to get sharp images. That included the lens on a gimbal head and tripod; open aperture (f/4.0 with this 500mm lens); high ISO (between 1600 and 6400 – the Canon 5D Mark III I was shooting with controls high ISO very well up to 5000 but is a wee bit noisy at 6400 – the Nikon D3 and D700 do even better but all are amazing compared to film or even digital of just a couple of years ago). With the white subject, I was able to use higher shutter speeds than a dark subject would have allowed. If I was shooting a hawk in that low light, it would have been hard to expose the darker plummage well and still have a fast enough shutter speed to stop the slight motion that occurs even when the bird was perched.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      April 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

  2. Fabulous photos. I particularly like the first one. Composition is spot on.

    April 12, 2013 at 10:22 am

  3. Val

    These are stunning.

    April 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm

  4. Love the first one – never seen it like this in such a high-contrast situation.

    April 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm

  5. That first photo is wonderfully composed.

    April 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

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