We have been lucky to have a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls in our neighborhood. We’ve heard their hoots all winter long. When spring came, they laid eggs, and the owls became even more active. One of them got into the habit of spending the evening hours on the top of our house, scanning the neighborhood for hunting spots and waiting for night to fall. Night after night he sits there, unperturbed by the neighbors taking photos, and the jays and crows trying to drive him off. One night after dinner I went outside to take his portrait, and this became my favorite image of the week.

Great Horned Owl

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 55-200 F/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS at 200mm, f/5.6 at 1/000, ISO 3200

Digital Darkroom. My 200 mm lens isn’t nearly long enough for bird photography, even with the 1.6 crop factor on my APS-C sensor. I started with a significant crop. Thankfully, the bird is big enough, and I was close enough, that I still had plenty of pixels left to work with. At dusk, the owl was dark compared to the bright sky behind him. Most of my other adjustments were to compensate for this. Globally, I increased contrast and dramatically reduced highlights (-98) to help fix the blinding white sky. Brushing over the owl, I increased exposure, highlights, shadows, and clarity. My final edit was to brush over the eyes, increasing exposure by another half a stop and increasing highlights as well.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

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