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Barred Owl on the wing and one in the tree

To say these beautiful owls have been frustrating me would be an understatement...I am contemplating writing a blog here. The lighting is tough with spotlight brightness then dark shadows. The flight lines are meticulously thought out but they are wild so they fly where they want. There are numerous trees that always get in the way. So where to crop? There is another owl in the photo (lower right). Let's not forget that apparently there was a large spider and web (just to the right of the owl). I guess I could put the photo in a 'macro' set as well as a 'bird of prey' set. I have changed settings, DOF, used tripods, not used tripods...tried the Automatic modes...there I said it...went back to manual....tried various focusing tricks...I just cannot seem to get a tack sharp shot of these owls....I am not one for giving up....I will have quite a tally for hours spent in the woods chasing these things when and if I finally do get one....wish me luck

 

ps: any tricks or tips would be greatly appreciated...short of buying another lens/equipment...the Bride said I would have plenty of more time to try since I would be living in the woods if I purchase any more equipment.

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Taken on February 3, 2008