Monday, 18 March 2013

How did the professional photographer take that photo

On a recent photo shoot I went up near Algonquin Park in Ontario to shoot snowy owls before they headed back to the Arctic for the summer. We were lucky enough to come across a few owls that reside in the area for our winter.

There are many traditional photos you can take of owls... flying in the sky while looking at you, standing on the ground... and if you are lucky enough, flying right at you with wings expanded.

One thing people assume is that you have to shoot at a lower aperture like f2.8 to quicken that shutter speed and freeze the action. What this does though is shorten the focal plane... that is the amount of horizontal plane that is actually in focus.

I was using a 500mm lens... at this distance using a 500mm lens my focal plane would have been less than 8 inches. The wing span of an owl is about six feet... shooting at f2.8 would have put the wings out of focus... the tips extremely blurred.

I was shooting in manual mode and set the aperture at f11, set the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action, then used the ISO to ensure exposure.

The focus was set on the face and I took the image as the owl made a turn in the sky... I also positioned the owl on the left side of the frame so I gave the photo the perception that the owl has room to fly into.

I hope that helps you on your next photo shoot.