Portraits of an Owl

Day Two Hundred and Fifty One. My photo group organized a visit from the local owl rescue group, who gave a great talk about what it takes to rehabilitate predator birds and, when possible, release them back into the wild. The star of the show, though, was this magnificent beauty.

I took well over 100 shots that night, trying various settings combinations, trying desperately to overcome the horrific lighting conditions of the meeting hall. I started with high ISO (6400) just to make sure I could get a shot. Slowly, though, I realized the owl would spend pretty solid chunks of time not moving. I even more slowly stepped down my ISO, extending my shutter speed. It turned into a game of, "How still is an owl?". Turns out, pretty still. The final shot, at ISO 100, was a full half second long exposure. There is the tiniest hint of motion blur if you zoom in to 400%, but at anything like a normal viewing distance, the image is technically perfect, which is astounding. How many other awake animals hold perfectly still for that long?!

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