Male Short-eared Owl in low light

Male Short-eared Owl in flight, Red Rock Lakes NWR, MontanaMale Short-eared Owl in flight – Nikon D200, f5.6, 1/640, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Sometimes my hopes are too high. I hope for birds and I also hope for birds in good light. I don’t always get what I want though; for example, I wanted this male Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) I photographed at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana in good light.

When I photographed this owl I didn’t have my Nikon D300 yet and didn’t feel comfortable using a higher ISO than 640 on my Nikon D200. In good light this image would have been better than what it is but I am still happy with the flight pose, the view of the eyes and I also like how the blur of the wings adds a feeling of motion.

This was a beautiful male Short-eared Owl in low light and even though I didn’t have the best conditions to photograph it, I am glad I took the shots anyway.


P.S.: My mother is visiting me on her first trip to Utah, she is going to love it! I’ll be slow to view and comment on your blogs, thanks for understanding. Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family.


  1. Mia McPherson September 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments on this Short-eared Owl image.

  2. Kathleen Finnerty September 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    A so-so image for you would be a grand capture for me. It’s wonderful and I like the shallow DOF.

  3. Seagullsteve September 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Wow. Facemelting shot.

  4. Tami Vogel September 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Mia, I love this photo! It’s nice to see shots taken at different times of day – makes it seem more “real” than just a straight-on shot with blue sky, etc. Really beautiful…

  5. Tammy Karr September 16, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    This is an incredible capture Mia! I would love to see one of these stunning birds!! I really like the low light in this photo~it gives it a feel of early morning when the owl would be searching for a meal!

  6. M. Firpi September 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    I like how you froze the moment. Ant it’s tack sharp.

  7. Carol Mattingly September 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I think I’ve only seen an owl once in my life. This one is beautiful. Such creatures. Carol

  8. Jim Braswell September 16, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Nice! I’m patiently waiting for the SE Owls to migrate back here for the winter! :o)

  9. Julie G. September 16, 2012 at 9:31 am

    It seems no matter what the conditions, your photographs are exceptional, Mia. Stunning owl!

  10. Bob Bushell September 16, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Brilliant, I wish I was as good as you.

  11. Dave Sparks September 16, 2012 at 5:21 am

    I’m glad you took the shot too – and especially glad that you shared it on your blog.
    When my hopes are too high and the light conditions are not ideal, I try to remember a quote attributed to Erlend Haarberg (a Norwegian nature photographer): “The goal should be the joy of the time you spend on capturing your images. And a good picture is the bonus.”
    p.s. hope your mother enjoys her time in Utah

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