In Search of the Barn Owl……

Flood Meadow

Flood Meadow

Frozen heart.....

Frozen heart…..

Ice Shapes

Ice Shapes

Stoke by Nayland Church

Stoke by Nayland Church

Ice Sheet

Ice Sheet

Ice Fingers

Ice Fingers

The hooked-nose Iceman

The hooked-nose Iceman

Ice wafer

Ice wafer

Bullrushes

Bullrushes

The bridge

The bridge

....finally got him in the distance.....

….finally got him in the distance…..

It’s a dull, very cold day today – not getting much above freezing – with a wind that feels as icy as if it has blown all the way from Siberia.  I was on my way home, with my photographic gear safely tucked away in the boot of my car, when I spotted a Barn Owl gliding gracefully over the field to my right. It landed on a post within 15 feet of me, but I could not risk leaving the car to fetch my camera – so I had to wait for it to take off again. It was busy hunting – at 3pm in the afternoon – and wasn’t really that bothered about me. I grabbed my 5D and switched to my 70-200 2.8 L IS USM lens with the 2x converter on – and set out in pursuit ….

Unfortunately the owl was heading away from me towards the village of Nayland, flying over the flood meadows of the Dedham Vale. It remained always just outside the scope of my lens,  but I persevered in the hope that it would settle on another post. Along the way I had to navigate around a flooded area of field,  getting sidetracked by some interesting ice formations on the fringes of the water. The camera was set at approximately 12000 ISO and an mid-range aperture, as previous ice attempts had turned out very dark – with wide apertures images suffering from a too narrow depth of field. The lens had been chosen for the bird, not close- ups of ice !! I also captured a very bleak and wintry image of my favourite local church – St Marys at Stoke by Nayland. It is an ever- present beacon to me as it dominates the valley from its lofty position – almost like a talisman – reminding me that I am near my home…

By the time I caught up with the Barn Owl again my fingers were starting to suffer from the cold, despite my gloves, and although the bird looked so beautiful, hovering, jinxing, and gliding – it never seemed to come quite within reach. My last shot on here today was the best I could do before I hurried back to the warmth of my car. The bird has definitely been around for the last two weeks, as I have spotted it at night in the same area – so I will just have to try again……

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