I'm trying hard to wean myself of my obsession with getting close; very close if I can. Too often I miss a cracking shot simply because I have attempted to get too intimate with the subject and – inevitably – have been rumbled and the bird/mammal/rodent has shot off out of the viewfinder. I dream, of course, of one day having in my armoury a Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 IS USM lens. I really do believe that if I had such a lens my world would be a better place. If I had that lens, I would only take great shots. That's nonsense, of course. In reality, the key to great wildlife images doesn't lie in bigger, better lenses, but in fieldcraft. And I'm learning slowly that sometimes better images come from context. This shot of a resting Barn Owl is, I think, a good example. Had I been closer, had the day not been another expanse of endless grey cloud that rendered everything flat, and had I had at my disposal a longer lens with wider aperture settings then I would no doubt have captured another close-up shot of an owl. But would it have been a good shot? Would it have added anything? Probably not. Instead, I think this shot – the bird in the context of its surroundings and showing it not hunting, but simply stopping up for a while – is rewarding for me partly because it's not too up close and personal.
Canon 1Ds MkII, 1/320 sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 800