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Silent Sentinel

Silent Sentinel
Photo Information
Copyright: Evelynn Smith (Evelynn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2025 W: 741 N: 3285] (14454)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 30D, Canon 300mm f2.8 IS
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/80 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2007-07-31 10:36
Viewed: 2991
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I discovered this owl, or one a lot like it, about 8 years ago in an old barn at Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge. I was photographing the barn's interior and had been there some time before I spotted him/her perched way above me at the far end of the barn. Therefore the title, "Silent Sentinel". I had a film camera then and no tripod and attempted a shot. It was awful, but I always regretted it. I was so surprised to find what I hope to be the same owl, perched in the same spot and ourselves there with better equipment. The photo looks very bright but in actuality it was difficult to see the owl in the dark with some back lighting. That 2.8 lens really came through for us. I posted a shot as a workshop showing the barn and my husband and camera. I'm pretty sure the shot I posted was one I took with a tripod as we each took several shots with different cameras and lenses and tripods (and no notes : P )

Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus)

Other Names:
Grand-duc d'Amérique (French)
Búsho cornudo (Spanish)

Size: 46-63 cm (18-25 in)
Wingspan: 101-145 cm (40-57 in)
Weight: 910-2500 g (32.12-88.25 ounces)

Great horned owls occur all over the United States and most of Canada, and southward to Central and South America to the Straits of Magellan. They are one of the most widespread species of owls. They mostly reside year round in their territories, but ones from the far north move southward in fall or winter.

Great horned owls can live greater than 12 years; some captive birds have lived to 29 years old.

Owls have incredible senses of hearing, a trait that allows them to hunt at night. Their ears are located on the sides of the head, but are off-set, not symmetrical like human ears. The openings of the ears are slightly tilted in different directions - often the right ear is longer and set higher up on the skull. Plus, owls have soft feathers that surround the openings which they can spread to make a funnel for sound to enter the ear. This enables the owl to use triangulation to pinpoint the source of a sound, when the prey can not be seen. By tilting or moving their head until the sound is of equal volume in each ear, the owl can pinpoint the direction and distance of the sound.


I was just looking at this image on TN and notice that where there is strong backlighting the edges look very sharp and a little odd... but I did nothing to this image but crop, resize and sharpen. I just looked at the original. : /

jmirah, JoseMiguel, lawhill, manyee, haraprasan, SunToucher has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To SunToucher: Thanks for the critqueEvelynn 3 08-01 12:03
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Critiques [Translate]

great composition
good note
nice colors and focus ok

good job

aleks ;)

Hello Evelynn, this shot is realy very beautifull, perfect sharpness, good natual colours, fine details, well done, many thanks to shared,

Hello Evelyn,

Well, he's certainly looking at you quizically as if to say, "Where have I seen her before!"

Good pov to see the owl's eyes staring back. They are quite hypnotic! Lovely colours!

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

  • Great 
  • carmia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 231 W: 4 N: 144] (2240)
  • [2007-07-31 15:37]

Hi Evelyn! Great shot with nice pov and very well composed. Regards, Carme.

Hi Evelyn,
I'm also so happy and grateful to my IS lens!
So this is also an unexpected image from you, and I like it very much, the clarity on the owl image is very good, thus its feathers details as well as its impressive stare.
Despite you had a bright backlight, the front one works pretty well for this adequate exposure.
Can yo imagine if this was the same owl than the previous time? Amazing!
Well done and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

Hello Evelynn,
Great shot good POV great eye contact, very
sharp well done, TFS. Best regards/Lawhill

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-07-31 17:52]

That is an amazingly sharp shot under such difficult light and distance conditions. Wow. That is one time when good equipment extended the scope of skill and artistry. ; )

The owl looks very wise, as if to say... "What are you guys doing?"
TFS. : )

Hi Evelynn,
A nice captured shot of this wonderful Owl. Very nice details and colors. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi Evelynn,
Nice capture...I see owls flying low across the fields in the late evening but it is too dark to photograph them...Also in winter there are two that roost in a tree by the deck...Anyway, fantstic detail and eye contact...The eyes are outstanding...Excellent POV...


Hi Evelynn,
Those eyes are really awesome. It looks like he was checking you out while you were checking him out. That lens does perform really good, The details in the feathers and eye are wonderful. IS and fast glass did the trick perfectly. I do have to admit that I have some concerns with this photo. The edges of your PP work are a bit too obvious. Especially on the beam just below the owl. A softer brush would have been better, since it makes the edges less visable. Besides that the 'look' of the owl and the bonus photo are wonderful.

great glance captured, very good focus, colours, sharpness,

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