Seeing is wise. Seeing is changing.

~ by Manish Lakhani

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Shot by SEL400F28GM lens

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Seeing like the kings of the night

When you get to observing, understanding and filming the lives of owls, science, technology, and dexterity, all factor in to describe the illustrious qualities of this mystic bird. Now, what could possibly meet them eye to eye or be adept enough at capturing and representing the singular allure of the hidden lives of owls?

For instance, their yellow, forward-facing eyes are tubular and so large that their eye sockets are immovable. A human could roll eyes, but owls cannot. However, they’re still capable of 270°-vision with their heads rotating and bobbing up and down to judge distance.

Now, to match up to their skills, a highly advanced camera, such as the Sony Alpha Full-Frame Mirrorless A7RIII, paired with the extraordinary speed and outstanding resolution of the innovative G Master F2.8 Super Telephoto SEL400F28GM Lens did it for me with this shot.

In clicking this beautiful raptor staring back at me, the SEL400F28GM did match up with its enhanced subject tracking, flexibility, and efficacy. For a brilliant focus on my subject, the stunning G Master resolution and bokeh worked beautifully. Just like an owl’s large eyes, with their large surface area, aid in collecting more light, this SEL400F28GM’s two new motors and newly developed algorithms quietly drive its large-focus lens group faster and more precisely than ever before required. It’s essentially what’s required to capture wildlife subjects.

When silence matters to your muse

Ever heard the sound of a pin drop in complete silence. An owl probably can. In fact, a great grey owl sitting on a fence 60 feet away can locate a mole running in a tunnel under 18 inches of snow!

With such a hearing power, its one tough task to approach them close and capture them without disturbing these nocturnes out of their zen zones. When owls can literally lay claim to their preys blindfolded, you need a tool that can maintain utmost silence when trying intimacy with owls.

For their love for privacy, anything could turn out to be an intrusion, which is why I paired up the A7RIII with SEL400F28GM. The A7RIII’s strong, light, reliable design takes you further with rich gradations even in complete silent mode and provides a natural, high-precision electronic viewfinder. Complementing your adventure, the remarkably lightweight ‒ just 2.895 grams ‒ SEL400F28GM adds to your adventure with portability, and handheld shooting freedom that’s outstanding. It gifts you the ideal balance for agility and ease of operation even on a monopod.

An owl’s focus shortcuts

As much as the eyes matter for an owl, so do their ears. Amazingly, they hunt mainly by sound. Those “ears” you see on the top of the owl’s head in this picture are ear tufts instead, and they have nothing to do with hearing.

Just as a lens collects light, the facial discs made of several kinds of specialized feathers surrounding an owl’s face collect sound around their heads. These facial feathers disperse sound to their ears, which are placed asymmetrically; one higher than the other is, so that the sound reaches each ear at different times.

With those eyes, facial discs, and asymmetrical ears, what’s great is that there are multiple ways for an owl to customize the way it hunts, locating its prey in three-dimensions! All of it works just like the many shortcuts of SEL400F28GM. The full-time DMF (Direct Manual Focus) allows manual focus to be engaged simply by rotating the focus ring, even while shooting in AF-C mode.

The SEL400F28GM too hunts for its muse applying multiple shortcuts, including built-in optical image stabilisation that makes framing easier, while the four-focus hold button and a focus ring with Linear Response MF further enhances versatility. This makes accurate shift of focus, even while the subject is in move.

Forward facing eyes: Being awake to the world

Capturing the characteristic “owl-face”, I’ve realized that humans need to put an end to the tendency to project human qualities, thoughts and feelings onto other animal species, and exercise individualism. It’s what true seeing means. It’s what change means. It’s how a wise being is. This pairing of Sony lens and camera captured the true potential of this mystic bird, and gave me a perspective of seeing the subject for who they really are.

About Manish Lakhani

Manish is a versatile photographer with an excellent history of creating brilliant images of culture, heritage and landscapes. For several years now, he has been photographing the cultural heritage of India that includes the shepherds of Himalayan Highlands, native people of North-East India and western India in addition to rich traditions of south India and central Asia. He is renowned for his unique portrayal of remote cultures from across India and many other countries around. His works have been regularly featured in magazines across the world, and he is attested by several experts as one of the finest travel photographers from Indian in the recent years. He is also known for his prowess in landscape photography, that has been achieved with his years of travelling in the high Himalayas. His portfolio is admirable and very diverse and includes star-studded mountainous skies, snow-filled trans-Himalayas, exotic festival and semi-nomadic cultures. He was born with a love for mountains, which has carried him back to Ladakh and other highlands of Himalaya many times over. He has captained many incredible expeditions and photography workshops in the high mountain regions and around. After many years of working as computer network engineer, he decided to follow his dream and moved on the road for almost 6 months. He is an avid cyclist, who made memorable cycling expeditions in Changthang regions of Ladakh multiple times and an incredible solo bicycling trip of 15,000 kilometres in India just in search of good pictures, meet people and enjoy the vast culture of India, where he visited almost all states of India on his account. The ride took him five & half months on the road. He has been mentoring photography enthusiasts for several years now and is known for his exuberant personality as much as he is known for his photography skills. Manish was born with a love for travel, which has carried him back to the remote places in India, coastal side, Central Asia and South East Asian Countries as well in search unique culture, stories and images. He has captained some incredible photo expedition just not in the high mountain regions, but other corners where colourful culture and unique way of life. He is a travel & documentary photographer, explorer and adventurer.

ILCE-7RM3
α7R III

35 mm full-frame camera with autofocus

SEL400F28GM
E 400 mm F2.8 GM OSS

Premium G Master series large-aperture super telephoto lens.

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