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Blakiston's Fish Owl

Blakistons Fish Owl

Washi no Yado, Hokkaido, Japan 24 November 2013
EOS 7D & 400mmf4DO. 1/25 sec f4 ISO 3200.

I'm a real fan of owls and this must be one the ultimate prizes! It was just one of several highlights of my visit to this remote corner of the world in November 2013. The arrangements at the famous Washi no Yado worked out well, and there were up to three birds present in the early evening immediately after an early dinner. No flash was allowed (not that I had one) and the light from the floodlights was very dim for photography so autofocus was impossible. Manual focus was also very difficult given the dim lighting. With great fortune I was able to borrow a tripod which allowed a few moderately sharp photos to be taken with a shutter time as long as 1/25 sec! This was probably the pick of the bunch, but I like some of the others I took at the same time. The owls were very ghostly in appearance in the raw pictures, but by radical changes to the colour balance, during the post processing, I was able to achieve this more natural look.

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