In photography the available light and weather conditions can make remarkable differences in the settings that are used for the shot and in the results of the final image.
This female Short-eared Owl was photographed at 8:24 am in a lake fog from the Lower Lake at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana. I had taken the first series of images at a higher ISO and then bumped it down to ISO 400. I knew my shutter speed was going to be slow but my lens was rock steady on my Noodle and the bird was perched and not very active. This image is low in contrast and while the Short-eared Owl is sharp and in focus there is a softness to the overall feeling when viewing this photo partially because of the softening effect the fog had on the vegetation in the background.
This male Short-eared Owl was photographed in warm evening light at 8:20 pm in Glacier County in northwestern Montana and it has much more contrast than the image of the female owl because of the available light and there are also more fine details evident in the plumage. The setting sun added a bit of a golden glow to this image too. Again my shutter speed was slow but my lens was steady and the bird wasn’t very active so I selected ISO 400.
Both images are appealing to me because I enjoy the foggy softness of the female Short-eared Owl image and the warm, golden tones of the male Short-eared Owl photo. I have learned to work with the light and not against it and quite often I am very happy with the results.