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Old Jan 31, 2009, 6:47 AM   #1
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This weekend is an annual raptor education event at a state park on one of the lakes nearby. The event is scheduled to raise awareness of the part raptors play in the local eco-system and to allow people, especially children, to get to see a variety of raptors up close and personal. The education program is run alongside of a raptor rehab project that cares for injured birds and releases them into the wild. Last night's program was dedicated to owls, and I jumped at the chance to photograph these birds in a near-portrait setting.

Barn owl:

I was really impressed with the intensity of detail on this barred owl.

The female great horned owl is a veteran of the program, having appeared at education programs for several years. She generally doesn't like photographers and cameras, according to the presenter, and will deliberately turn her face away from the camera. But, last night she was in a mood to cooperate with me.

Finally, a little screech owl. He did not feel really comfortable sharing the stage with the great horned owl since screech owls are generally delicacies for the larger bird.

None of these birds are candidates for the release program, generally because of injuries that landed them in the care of the Little Rock Zoo's rehab program, but that doesn't detract from their beauty.

I would far rather photograph these birds in their natural settings, but I appreciate the efforts of this program and ones like it in raising awareness of the importance of these birds, all of which can be found in Arkansas fairly commonly. Programs continue through the weekend, and I'll be posting more of some of the other birds participating.

Note on the photographs. All are taken with the FA 50mm f/1.4, not my lens of choice for this purpose, but I had a problem with the AF system on my K20 (see the post in the Pentax lens forum) and didn't have another longer lens with me.

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Old Jan 31, 2009, 7:29 AM   #2
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fantastic pic's Paul, wonderful detail.

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Old Jan 31, 2009, 7:40 AM   #3
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Outstanding Shots!!!

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Old Jan 31, 2009, 8:17 AM   #4
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Nicely done Paul! Owls make fascinating subjects and you've captured them very well indeed!
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 8:58 AM   #5
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Fabulous shots Paul.


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Old Jan 31, 2009, 1:26 PM   #6
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Everyone is posting such sharp images here in what I've seen since I came back. Wow! These are nice, Paul. What an opportunity. There is a local Audubon Society here that does presentations some times. Haven't been in a while. But, we used to go when my son was still in school. I should see about going back.

Anyway, nice shots here.

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Old Jan 31, 2009, 1:27 PM   #7
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Very fine pictures, Paul. You used this opportunity well!

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Old Jan 31, 2009, 1:51 PM   #8
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Wonderful shots! It's neat that they can give a home to birds that would otherwise not survive, and provide a wonderful education opportunity for us city dwellers. While the 50mm is pretty short for some things, it sure is sharp!
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 3:47 PM   #9
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Very well done!! Thanks for posting.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 5:29 PM   #10
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Outstanding shots Paul!
are these taken with the Bigma? if not what lens?
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