Snowy flight over the Prairie

I found this snowy owl perched along a forgotten fence line north of Lyalta (which is east of Calgary).  After a trek across the field to get to about 60 meters away, I leaned against a post and waited.  I set my exposure so that I would have a slower shutter speed at the start.  I wanted to show some motion in the wings and estimated that 1/200th of a second would allow for that.  Fifteen minutes later something drew his attention and he launched perpendicular to me and the fence.


I had two nice images of him flying towards the sun before he was past me.  The first had a soft blur in the wings as they were near level.  The other caught the wings at their full extension upwards.  Both images kept the head sharp so luck played to my hand when I was panning with the bird.  The shutter speed worked out well.  I continue to try slower speeds but have yet to nail one of those with a sharp face.  I will share those when I do.

14 responses

  1. beautiful work …

    March 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm

  2. Cance

    January 24, 2018 at 4:53 am

  3. taikunping

    stunning picture, absolutely beautiful

    January 24, 2018 at 2:21 am

  4. Excellent capture technique and patience!

    January 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm

  5. What surprised me most about these images is how the black and white treatment allowed the owl to emerge from its setting in such a dramatic way. These owls always are beautiful, but these photos are something special.

    January 23, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    • Thank you. I liked how these looked in color but when I tried them in black and white I didn’t look back. I agree – for these ones it adds something significant to them.

      February 2, 2018 at 6:55 am

  6. jack griffis

    I don’t have anything to do with photography (except to enjoy it). But, I am inspired to apply patience and tenacity to my own work. Thank you, Christopher.

    Jack Griffis


    January 23, 2018 at 11:59 am

    • Thank you Jack. I appreciate you visiting my site. Thank you for your kind words.

      February 2, 2018 at 6:56 am

  7. Incredible, Peter! How magnificent– my heart would have been pounding seeing this scene and you’ve captured it beautifully with the focus and shutter speeds. Really nice in monochrome, too.

    January 23, 2018 at 10:08 am

    • Thank you Jane. It is truly a thrill each time I find and then get to watch snowy owls.

      February 2, 2018 at 6:57 am

  8. Breath taking shots, BOTH! Loved these. Love your work.

    January 23, 2018 at 9:47 am

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