The Owl and the Jay (44)
|We were sitting having our Boxing Day breakfast, when an owl went swooping by our back window, so I grabbed my camera and went running out in my boots and bathrobe (that was almost the title) to get some shots. We feed the birds and have a lot of Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) around. They took exception to this Barred Owl (Strix varia) coming into their territory and started a game of harassment that I’ve only seen before with smaller birds. They took turns landing near him and squawking. He wasn’t at all intimidated by me, calling up to get him to look at the camera. Most of his time was spent checking on the latest position of these nasty blue aggressors. He finally had enough and flew away. |
This was the first time I had seen a Barred Owl, so I was pretty thrilled. The good news is that I read they’re territorial and tend to spend most of their time in the same area (of one square mile). They feed on mice, rabbits, amphibians, reptiles and insects. Well we have lots of all that in the area, so maybe we’ll see each other again.
In this shot, there is a branch across the face of the Jay. I wasn’t real happy about that, but in keeping with the TOS I’ve left it in. It’s gone in my workshop and home copy.
Much of this and ID from: Stokes, Donald and Lillian (1996), Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region, Little, Brown and Company, Boston
Workflow for this shot was as follows:
The shoot – shot in Raw with Jpeg reference @200mm f5.6 1/500
NEF file adjusted for exposure and shadow
Adjusted levels for black and white points
Adjusted curves for contrast
Burned and Dodged with overlay layer (5-10% opacity black and white brush)
Added saturation layer +15 to master
Duplicated the background layer
Cloned out the branch
Saved as a tiff
Selected for blue and reduced noise on both layers – inversed the selection for branches and birds
Resized and duplicated the background layer and the 2nd background layer (so now there were 2 sets with 4 layers with the picture on them)
For each set I sharpened with USM – toned down the edges with layer mask and 25-75% opacity black brush, re-sharpened all the eyes and saved a copy with the branch visible for this posting, and without for the workshop.