Museum Photos, Part I

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

Before I discuss tonight’s photos I’m going to give a brief rant.  Wildlife photography obviously is my passion and I take 99% + of my photos in the field. That said, I have nothing against zoo photos.  There are times when one can make a far nicer image of a captive bird or animal than one can hope to make in the field.  There are some photographers who specialize in this type of photography and they produce beautiful images.  I have nothing but respect for them and their images.  However.  From time to time I run across photos — on contest pages, on websites, on display — that are obvious zoo photos but not attributed that way.  In other words there are a few photographers who foist off photos that they take at zoos as if they were taken in the field. I find that to be irritating because zoo photography is to field photography as portrait photography is to candid street scenes.  It’s just cheating in my opinion to hide the fact that a photo was taken in a controlled setting.

Ok, with that behind me, here are tonight’s images.  Yesterday, I went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and took some photos at the morning Raptor Free Flight show.  If you’ve never been it’s a must see!  Birds of prey fly freely, without restraints of any kind, and the opportunities for closeup viewing and photography are outstanding.  I’ll be featuring some of the images that I made in the next week or so.  I’ll also go back soon and photograph the museum’s afternoon show, it features different birds.

One of the stars of the morning show is this Great Horned Owl, depicted here with a bit of meat on its beak.

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Great Horned Owls have a nationwide distribution and they are among our largest and most powerful birds of prey.  A Great Horned Owl will eat almost anything; especially rodents and birds.  It will capture and kill animals as large as rabbits and it will attack other large birds including hawks.  It has absolutely murderous talons with a grip strength about 10x a human’s gripping strength.  These birds are most active at dawn and dusk.  They are largely dormant during broad daylight, so photo opportunities in the field are very few and far between. I’ve seen a few of these magnificent birds in the field but never under circumstances where I could get a decent photo.

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Shooting this bird at Raptor Free Flight was a delight because I could get great closeups and action shots that I’d never dream of being able to get in the field.

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This last photo, especially, is my prize.  The bird is a fraction of a second from landing.  Look at those gigantic feet and you’ll get a good idea why the Great Horned Owl is such a formidable predator.

Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 70-200 f4 L zoom lens, ISO 250, “M” setting, f8 @ 1/1600.

2 responses to “Museum Photos, Part I”

  1. Liesl Kii says :

    The last photo is superb! What a malevolent look in those eyes!

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