The Making of "Great Horned Owlets"

How the winning photo of the "Birds" contest was made

By bulloughphotography in Photo Contests on May 6, 2018

Thanks so much to everyone for your support of this image. It certainly is one of my favorites, and I’m pleased you like it too. The images in this particular contest were lovely, and given the quality of all of them, I’m especially happy you enjoyed these owls staring back at you!

As noted in my submittal, I was fishing along the Weber River, in Utah, USA, when I observed an adult Great Horned Owl flying to and from a nest in the distance. Upon closer inspection, I saw the nest was occupied by these three owlets. The next day, I returned with my camera gear. Despite trying to not alert them as I approached, they noticed my movement, which led to this wide-eyed image. Not wanting to disturb them, I took a few images and quickly retreated.

I’ve been a Pentax shooter since the 1970s and will continue to be for a long time. This particular image was made using the Pentax-D FA 150-450mm lens (a real gem!) with a Pentax 1.4x DA converter, hand-held on a Pentax K-3 body. As you can see from the EXIF data, the lens was fully extended to 630mm with converter, giving a 35mm equivalent of 945mm, and wide open at F8. For those who have questioned or debated the ability of this combination to capture sharp images, perhaps looking at this image will answer those questions. ISO was 1250, exposure was 1/1600s, white balance set to auto, and the image was shot in RAW.

The only editing done to the image was cleaning up a bit of noise, sharpening the image a bit, and adding a very slight vignette to draw the attention to the birds themselves, all done in Adobe Lightroom. Exposure was, as is almost always the case with my K-3, spot on and the focus was exceptional.

Thanks again for your support and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your incredible work in future contests.

- bulloughphotography

The Making of "Jacobite Train (Hogwarts Express)"

Winner of our October, 2016 "Landscape in Monochrome" photo contest

By bulloughphotography in Photo Contests on Dec 4, 2016

"Jacobite Train (Hogwarts Express) - Scotland"

Thanks to everyone who chose this image. I appreciate it. As the description of the image says, I was hanging out the window of the Jacobite Train, in Scotland, to capture the refection and scene as the train passed over one of the historic viaducts. My family and I live in Park City, Utah, USA. This train ride was part of an adventure to the UK, where my son was able to play soccer with QPR. The entire trip was great, and the countryside was really lovely.

The image was created using a Pentax K-5, and was taken RAW, in color:

The original imageThe original image (click to enlarge and compare with the processed image)

Settings were ISO 1600, f4.5, 17mm, 1/1250 seconds using a Sigma 17-70 lens. I did crop the image to approximately 24mm. In Lightroom, I dropped the highlights and brought up the shadows, and I also increased contrast. As you can see, I removed a distracting line in the train window, prior to converting to B&W. Conversion was made using Silver Efex Pro 2. After conversion, I added just a bit of contrast, but that was it.

Again, thank you for your support of this image. I have learned a lot in this forum and, I'm sure, will continue to do so.

- Rich (bulloughphotography)

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