Snowy Owl Hunt Reviewon Dec 19 in News, Photography by Meg
This last weekend Ben and I traveled up to the Parker River Reservation in Plum Island, MA to supply gear for the Great Snowy Owl Hunt run by The Amazing Image. We had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know everyone and help them use the gear. We learned a couple quick tips from Charlie who runs The Amazing Image so thought we'd share them with you too!
The day started at 6:00AM. (Yes, this is a tip. At this time the owls are still out, could be hunting and settling down.) With the morning came a Red Bull generously supplied by Ben's girlfriend (I don't know how I can ever repay you Aimee!). After meeting all of the participants who were all bundled up in layers and boots we headed to our first location.
With us we brought 2 tripods with Induro Gimbal heads, a Nikon D3s with a 500mm f/5 VR and a Canon 1DMIV with the new Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II. In shoulder bags we had an extra Nikon 200-400mm and a Canon 500mm as well as 2 backpacks full of gear including cropped sensor cameras, extenders, shorter lenses and filters. We were ready to go!
If you've never been to Plum Islands there are boardwalks everywhere that go over the sandy dunes to down to the beach and through the marsh lands. We decided to hunt the beach first for the Great Snowy Owl.
We were told that Snowy Owls are a little larger than a Seagull and that their white feathers would be fairly easy to see if we were to spot on. We walked along the board walk down to the beach keeping a watch out for anything white. We did find some white bags, white seagulls and white signs but no owls.
On the beach we discovered a Sandpiper that was rather photogenic letting all of us have a chance to shoot and try out mostly all of the gear! Here we learned some tips from Charlie…super simple things 'you would have never have thought of before!'. First he told us to watch how the bird reacted to how we were walking towards it. A calm bird, who doesn't feel threatened, will sit still not having a reason to move. The close you get the more nervous it will get and will move around a bit more. Before a bird is ready to fly away it starts to move quite a bit. If we were to see that we were to hold still or back off. This little Sandpiper warmly invited us to photograph him even letting some of us get within 10 feet of it!
The Affiliate Code – Michael Jones Is Shaking The Affiliate Industry!
tle=”379917_10150559172729225_782459224_11233698_377561270_n” src=”http://www.lensprotogoblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/379917_10150559172729225_782459224_11233698_377561270_n-670×446.jpg” alt=”" width=”670″ height=”446″ />
After we were done photographing the little bird we decided to head down the beach further in search of the Great Snowy, sneaky, Owl. We walked back over the sand dunes and came to the marsh that runs along one entire side of the road in Plum Island. Here we learned another great lesson when it came to a watering area full of different types of birds. When you see a bird you want to photograph with your own eyes and then look the viewfinder to try and find it, it can be hard and frustrating. The most brilliant tip from Charlie was to put the screw of the lens hood on the top of lens like the photo below and use it as a range finder so that way you just have to spot up and down, not side to side AND up and down!
We next headed up the road where we were able to spot a few egrets and swans which gave us a ton of practicing time. We stuck extenders on the Canon 400 2.8 and Nikon 500 making them 800mm and 1000mm's long. We got to work on panning while following flying objects and where to focus to create the best photo. Another great tip was to have both eyes open while panning your lens while photographing birds in flight. This way you can see with one eye what you are shooting and see with the other where the birds will be headed.
In the end there were no snowy owls in sight but we had a GREAT time being able to let everyone play with the gear and try out some new techniques. We look forward to the January Workshop Date to try and find the sneaky little owl again…until then we learned some great tips to let us practice for the perfect shot!
We'll see you next time! – Meg and Ben