Photo Stories

Photo Story: Sleepy Eastern Screech Owl

This red morph Eastern Screech Owl was photographed on the Indigo Trail at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve on Sanibel Island in Florida.

Sleepy Eastern Screech Owl

Sleepy Eastern Screech Owl

This little owl was located in an old dead tree less than 30 feet from Wildlife Drive on a trail that leads between the visitor center and Wildlife Drive.  Hundreds of people use this trail to bike and hike to and from Wildlife Drive each day.  

Most of these visitors probably pass right by without even knowing this Eastern Screech Owl is nested right along the trail.  I too would have passed by except for a tip I received from a birder at Six Mile Slough Cypress Preserve.

I kept a safe distance from the Owl not wanting to disturb him.  He could only manage to open one eye to check me out, and then closed both eyes and continued to rest.

Photo Details

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II Lens
Focal Length: 400mm
ISO:  640
Aperture:   f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/50 of a second
Exposure Compensation: -1/3
Lighting: Dark and Shady on the Trail


  • Cropped the photo in Lightroom 5.
  • Applied the Lighten/Darken Center Filter in Color Efex Pro 4.
  • Added contrast, saturation, and pop to the photo using the Fur & Feathers I filter in Topaz Clarity.
  • Used Viveza 2 to selectively lighten the darken the image.
  • Selectively removed noise from the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
  • Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014. The layer mask was copied and modified from the last processing step.

Written by Martin Belan

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