Finding a cooperative Barred Owl (or any owl for that matter) to photograph is always special. So whenever I’m in the local parks with my camera I’m always on the lookout, as Barred Owls are frequently out during the day and can be relatively easy to find–especially if one is being mobbed by a flock of angry crows. Follow the noise from the vocal crows and often you find an owl.
That’s how I found the Barred Owl in this photograph on a recent afternoon in Pine Ridge Park near my home in Edmonds, Washington. I had taken many photographs of Barred Owls in the past but this was the first time I was able to zoom in for a good profile shot.
The biggest challenges with getting shots like this is the lack of light. The owls are normally perched high up in a tree in the middle of the dark woods and it’s hard to shoot with a fast enough shutter speed to keep the photo sharp. Telephoto lenses like the 500mm lens I use magnify camera movement and you need a fast shutter speed and/or a tripod to freeze the movement. One trick is to fire off a rapid burst of shots–which is what I did in this case–and often at least one photo in the series will be sharp.