Testing the Safari Flash Booster

I had read about the Rogue Safari Pop-up Flash Booster a few weeks and decided to order one, only 34.95 from B&H Photo.  It didn’t arrive until we returned from our Houston trip.  It is a neat little thing.  Weighs only 2 oz.  It clips to your hot-shoe, but is fashioned so it fits over the camera’s pop-up flash.  You clip it on and when you need it, simply push your pop-up flash button.  The flash pops up behind the Rogues fresnel lens.  It will give you about 8 times more light, giving you more range to around 70 feet or so.

I took it out with me yesterday to see if I could give it a test.  Here are the results.  We spotted this owl up in the branches of a tree, where it was pretty dark.  I am guessing the distance was about 75 feet, actually out of the advertised range.  I am giving you the before and after shots.  Straight out of the camera.  No adjustments.

Owl - before using the Safari Flash Booster.

Owl – before using the Safari Flash Booster.

Owl - after using Safari Flash booster.

Owl – after using Safari Flash booster.

As you can see, there is a quite noticeable difference even at that distance.  I previously had a Better Beamer, which I ended up not using much, because it involved assembling it onto my large Canon 550EX speed-lite, and I didn’t like the bother.  This little thing is a snap to use, and it takes only an instant to attach it to the camera.  For photos and more info, click on the link at the beginnng of this post or go to http://roguesafari.com.

Great Horned Owl in camo

When a I spotted that Great Horned Owl that I wrote about in my previoust post, I had taken several images from different positions.  Many of those poses were with tree leaves obscuring the details.  This image that I found is a side view and the leaves are mostly to the side.  However, the owl was blending into the colors and shadows of the tree itself.  Also with the back- light, it presented a post-processing challenge.  Here is the image that I chose for this post.  I didn’t mention it before, but I think that there is damage to the left eye.  I never did see it wide open, but he did seem half asleep part of the time.  Maybe he was just keeping one eye on me. 🙂

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

Click on the image to see an enlargement.

Parliament of Owls……Still in session

I have been informed that a large group of owls is called a “parliament of owls”.  Of course, I should have looked it up, or Googled, and found that out for myself.  However, I am glad the my readers brought me up to date on that.  So, again, parliament is still in session, minus a few that decided to go home to their constituents.

As you remember, in a previous post I and Ann had seen a startling total of eight owls and owlets at Spring Creek Park.  We went back Monday morning to see how many were still there.  We counted one adult and three owlets in the original tree.  In the second tree there were none.

For these photos, I again set my Canon EOS 7D with a 1.4 teleconverter on my Manfrotto tripod.  I also use a sturdy Wimberley gimbal tripod head.  With the combined weight of my lens and camera being about 15 pounds, I really need dependable support.

The lighting was very bad this particular day.  A very bright, sunny, mostly cloudless day.  A typical west Texas day.  It made for bright highlights and harsh shadows.  However, I managed to get a few acceptable photos whenever a stray cloud covered the sun.  I am particularly proud of this photo of one owlet.

A young Great Horned Owl

Hoooooo are you looking at??

This one turned out pretty decent, too.

Young Great Horned Owl

Young Great Horned Owl

In the one below, you can see how I tried to adjust those harsh lighting problems that I mentioned above.

Young Great Horned Owl

Young Great Horned Owl

This Bullock’s Oriole, (Icterus bullockii), was in a nearby tree witnessing the proceedings.

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock’s Oriole

Again, click on any of the photos to see some enlargements.  Thank you for reading.

Great Horned Owl Bonanza

I don’t know what the word is for a group of Great Horned Owls, but Ann and I certainly ran into a bonanza yesterday.  A friend of ours told us that he had seen a couple at Spring Creek Park recently.  We had seen them on occasion there over the years ourselves.  We drove out to check them out.

The Great Horned Owls are difficult to see at anytime.  People will say that owls won’t appear during the day.  I say hogwash.  They are there, but you have to know what to look for and be patient.  This was about 10:00 AM.  In one area, we heard one hoot.  We stopped the car and got out and started to walk around and look up into the trees.  These owls usually aren’t distracted by human traffic as they usually are high up and confident that they are pretty safe.  They are certain that they can’t be seen.  And they are pretty nearly right.

Anyway, I finally spotted an adult high in a tree.  Then a minute later Ann exclaimed that she could see two owlets, (young owls).  She showed me with great difficulty, then I spotted another kiddo.  I couldn’t believe it.  This was a first.  We had never seen four owls at once before.  I set up my cameras and proceeded to take photos.  In all, I would shoot over 600 images that day.  But the story doesn’t end here.

We got back in the car and drove down another area of the park.  Ann yelled, “Stop the car!!  There are some more owls!”  Sure enough, there was another tree with four more young owls.  A total of eight owls within about 500 yards of each other.  As in the previous tree, they were pretty high up.

For all of my photos I used my tripod-mounted Canon EOS 7D with a 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter.   There was some difficulty selecting shooting positions because of the thick foliage and tree branches.  Because of the heighth of the trees, I usually had to set up twenty or so feet away from the base of the tree to get good shooting angles.  Enjoy these shots, and click on any of them to see enlargements.

Great Horned Owlets

Great Horned Owlets

A young Great Horned Owl peeks from a tree branch.

A young Great Horned Owl peeks from a tree branch while  his sibling stands guard in upper right.

Young Great Horned Owl.  Looking the worse for the wear.  Maybe survived a skirmish with a hawk?

Young Great Horned Owl. Looking the worse for the wear. Maybe survived a skirmish with a hawk?

"Do you think he sees us?"

“Do you think he sees us?”

Two young Great Horned Owls

Two young Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owlet II

Before I forget, please note my new on-line photo gallery.  I think you will like it.  Click this link PhotoGallery, then add it to your favorites.  🙂

I apologize for the confusion in yesterday’s post about the link.

You probably have seen my previous post about the young Great Horned Owl.  Yesterday morning we took a little drive through Spring Creek Park, and we saw the little creature again.  This time he/she had roamed into an area of trees that were “owned” by a bunch of Northern Mockingbirds.  They were chasing him, and actually physically bumping him when ever he lit on a tree branch.  He couldn’t sit still for a minute, before one of the mockingbirds ran into him, trying to knock him off of his perch.  I managed to get this photo, plus a few others, before I decided he had enough to contend with, without having to fear me also.

  •  Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 100-400 zoom lens
  • 1/500 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 200
  • Lens focal distance 370mm