Mark Tomalty & the Great Grey Owl



On a winter's day a few years back, I began photographing a great grey owl along a small gully. The area was a location near St Hubert, Quebec, or about ten miles south of Montreal.

After working for a while, I stepped away from the tripod in search of a different angle. When I turned back, I was surprised to find the owl had moved and was resting on my camera. The owl seemed curious and was checking out the area I had been photographing. It's very fortunate I had one leg of the tripod pointing downhill so the tripod and camera didn't topple over!

Great grey owls are documented as the world's largest species of owl by length, with a wingspan that can exceed five feet. They typically live much farther north of Montreal and are rarely spotted, except during times when their food supply is short and they are in search of food.







The Arca-Swiss B1 Monoball in the top photo, is decades old and has outlived many of my tripods. Over the years, I can't recall a time when the B1 was compromised as a result of low temperatures - and I've been out in freezing temps for hours many times where I became compromised in the cold. For sure, the ballhead could get a little sluggish with prolonged exposure to sub-zero temps, but the B1 always remained functional and never seized up.

I have two of the same vintage B1 monoball's and over the years both have worn in the same way. The base pin that controls pan rotation doesn’t fully lock anymore, almost as if the pin has worn or that a groove has developed. Despite this, I think I got my money’s worth!

Even though nature and animal photography is a lifelong passion of mine, it doesn't make up a significant portion of my photographic work, apart from stock and fine art sales. I have spent the bulk of my career as a studio photographer, shooting large production assignments for the advertising industry, with a focus on food and alcohol. Additionally, I create conceptual still life photography for the stock photo industry, and enjoy urban photography projects. - MT

Find Mark
Instagram @marktomalty


Editor's Note

ARCA-SWISS monoball® B1 and B2 can still be repaired or reconditioned at Precision Camera Works, our North America warranty service center. If you reside outside of North America, repairs should be sent to ARCA-SWISS, International in Besançon, France.

ARCA-SWISS monoball® history

1989 monoball® B series replaces original monoball® series
2002 Silver thumb screw replaced the black thumb screw to designate the improved monoball® B1
2006 monoball® Z series replaces monoball® B series
2012 monoball® Z+ series replaces the monoball® Z


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