Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo

of the day:

Picture of a barn owl flying over reeds

Barn Owl, United Kingdom

A wild barn owl flying over Norfolk reeds at dusk

Actually, I don’t quite get how this photo works.  The reeds in the foreground are in focus, the owl in the back of the shot is in focus, but the reeds in the background are out of focus.  How is this happening?  How can the owl be in focus while those further back reeds are not?

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

3 Responses to Photo of the day

  1. Maybe the owl is also in the foreground, but is really really small.

    • Mike from Canada says:

      This was my surmise. I think it is a juvenile or a small barn owl, and large reeds. Another explanation is a photo shopped picture, two separate pictures blended to get the result.
      8 to 20 inches long as adults, so a young owl would be smaller, and from the pictures the adults plumage has darker markings.

      I thought I had an owl around my house, always hooting in the morning, but it turned out to be some kind of pigeon.

  2. itchy says:

    I agree, it’s probably a small owl. But, here’s my further take …

    The “reeds in the foreground” are not actually in the foreground.

    At the very bottom, toward the right, you can see some out-of-focus reeds in the immediate foreground. So the focus is in the middle distance, which means this is a *long* shot, so the depth of field is probably greater than you’d expect.

    The owl might not be directly over the in-focus reeds, but it’s within the focal range. The background reeds are very far, then.

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