When a Snowy Owl takes flight it is usually not pointing straight at its prey, which is not needed anyway as it can turn its head by up to 270 degrees.
What has to follow however, is the inevitable turn in the air to change the angle of flight towards breakfast/lunch/dinner. This is another one of those key moments a wildlife photographer hopes to capture. The minor challenge here is that this activity only takes a few hundreds of a second: from take-off to the initial push, followed by the turn. In fact, the whole process from take-off to the capturing prey is completed in just a few seconds.
Nikon 600mm f/4E FL on Nikon D4S, f/5.6, 1/2500 s., ISO 800, +2.0EV exp. comp.
Of all the wildlife shooting I’ve done over the years, this type of photography is by far the most difficult to master in my personal/totally subjective view. You not only rely on some of the very best, heavy-duty cameras and lenses, but you’ll need to use the exact right settings on your camera & lens combo for just a starting chance of getting the image you’re aiming for (quite literally in your viewfinder).
I’ll gradually address this topic in some more detail in the following articles, where I’ll also discuss the transition currently taking place globally in the photography world from mirrored (‘DSLR’) to mirrorless cameras. Next one: The Approach… stay tuned!