In both the winters of 2012 and 2013 we saw the occurrence of snowy owls at Damon Point in Ocean Shores, Washington. I hiked out there in 2012 but was not very satisfied with my photos, so when I heard the owls were back again in 2013 I headed out there again – twice! The first weekend, Dale went with me and we hiked to the point in the dark so we could be there at dawn. We got a few nice shots of the owls in the morning light, but I found myself frustrated with the 4 frames per second speed of my Nikon D800 and couldn’t seem to get the owls in flight shots I wanted. A few days later, Dale went on line and found a D3S for sale and we purchased that, primarily for its higher 11 frames per second burst mode. I had to try it out, so the next weekend I headed to Ocean Shores again – this time by myself, to hunt for the owls. I came armed with the D800 mounted with my 200-400mm f/4 on a tripod and carried the D3S on a strap with my 70-200mm f/2.8. As it turns out, this was the perfect combination. I was able to capture one owl in particular that was spooked from its resting spot by another photographer and flew right towards me. Luckily I had the D3S at the ready. I aimed and held the shutter down until the bird flew out of sight. I’d say just about every shot from that series came out sharp. Once I had a chance to see the results on the computer I felt that D3S purchase was worth every penny. The D800 and D3S make a great combination. I love the D3S for when I need a fast burst mode and also for when I’m shooting in low light. But the D800 continues to be an excellent choice for landscapes and subjects that aren’t moving as fast as a bird in flight.
Here is a sampling of what I shot that day. For the complete gallery, click here.