Behind the Image Part II: How I got 40mm close to a Snowy Owl?

October 30, 2013  •  4 Comments

Species: Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

Location: British Columbia, Canada

Conditions: Sunny and cold

Story behind the image

This beautiful young female snowy owl was resting upon a large driftwood log on the foreshores of British Columbia during low tide early last November.  After spending many hours in the company of this owl, I was overwhelmed when she allowed me to make a very slow and submissive approach towards her.  I originally had no intent on attempting a wide angle and spent a considerable amount of time enjoying photographing her using a telephoto lens.  It was only after many hours of monitoring her behaviour that I started to consider that there could be an opportunity at hand to create a wide angle image.  The owl appeared to be incredibly relaxed and after making a number of judgment calls, I decided to seize the moment.  Thankfully I was with a very experienced friend who acted as a pair of eyes on the owl as I slowly crouched during my approach in order to avoid any predatory like behaviour or eye contact.  My friend was able to tell me exactly how the owl was behaving and kept me updated on how she was tolerating my approach.

This is the first time I have attempted to approach a wild owl and the decision to do so was only made after a long and careful assessment of the situation.  The Owl did move a few feet away when I decided it was time to back up away and in the process of doing so made a splash when I realised my boots were overflowing with tidal water and stuck in the mud.

Nature tolerates humans far more than we tolerate nature so we shouldn't seek to pester any wildlife for the sake of a photograph.  From time to time though, conditions such as this present themselves and through understanding and knowledge of your subject, fantastic opportunities like this can happen.  A once in the a lifetime experience for me and not something I ever expect to happen again.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed learning more about this image and how it was created.

Behind the camera | Techs | Canon 1D Mark IV | 17-40mm @ 40mm | F5.6 | 1/2500 | ISO200 | 1:06PM (Who said you can't photograph white subjects at midday on a sunny day?)

No glue or bait was used in the making of this image

Click here to see a telephoto image of this same owl: http://jamiedouglasphotography.com/p646954356#h4b141334

 


Comments

Tim Saxon(non-registered)
Great photo chief. The wide angle really works - you get far more of an appreciation of the owl's environment than you would from a telephoto shot, especially because the background hills aren't completely washed out in shallow DOF. Truly breathtaking work.
Judy(non-registered)
Very beautiful photo Jamie! Love the story behind it. I am still waiting to see one near where I live but don't know if it will ever happen. I keep searching...I am not going to give up! That was funny about the drug and bait but sad that a lot of people will think that is what you did upon first seeing the photo. I love your photos, they are very good!! :)
Jamie Douglas Photography | Nature and Adventure
Thank you Barb and glad you enjoy the posts. The glue and bait comment was very much meant as tongue in cheek for the very reason you stated.

No bait and no I didn't glue the owl to the log :)))
Barb(non-registered)
Cool Jamie, I like reading the "behind the image posts". I think its a sad testament to society that you have to assure people you didn't drug, or bait the owl, but I guess that is the world we live in
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