Barn Owl Blur

Barn Owl BlurBarn Owl Blur – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 257mm, natural light, not baited

Three days ago I spent 59 minutes photographing this Barn Owl at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in poor light. I did come away with many images I like despite the bad lighting conditions but it took me a few days to review them all and I found this image where the Barn Owl’s face and feet are sharp but because of my slow shutter speed the wings were blurred along with the back and tail and there was even a bit of light in the owl’s eyes. I didn’t get this blur on purpose, it was the result of not enough light and a slow shutter speed.

Last week I did a post on the many nicknames used for Barn Owls and among them was “Ghost Owl” and for some reason when I first looked at this frame I thought the blurred wings did make it look “ghostly”.

Typically I prefer images with “sweet” light and enough shutter speed to freeze the action but every once in a while I will create an image like this that I think of as a “happy accident”.


Additional posts you might enjoy:

About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Pingback: Marbled Godwit Blur

  2. I also love the kinetic aspect of this photo. I’m so glad you posted on this topic. I just wrote about it myself … “proof of life” photography where conditions fail but experiences remain. I must add the disclaimer that even your bad-lighting shots are truly lovely, Mia.

  3. It’s not a coincidence that such “happy accidents” happen most often to very gifted artists such as yourself!

    Very compelling image of the Ghost!

  4. It is a lovely surprise when something like this happens, and thanks for sharing it.

  5. Mia, I just got my copy of Birding and stared at the fold-out cover for a few minutes. When I looked at the photographer credit, I was so pleased to see your name. Congratulations on being on the November/December cover! Even more congrats for all of your images in the cover story!

  6. A ghost I would be more than happy to be haunted by.

  7. An interesting shot…from the angle of his wings, it almost looks like he could fly backwards! I love the feather detail…

  8. Sometimes those “happy accidents” are the best ones. Lovely photo, Mia.

  9. I love it … I call those “happy accidents” … “when the camera sees what the photographer does not” … always love the surprises!!! Well done once again, Mia!!!

  10. This is a cool image, Mia. I like it.

Comments are closed