Short-eared Owl female – 13 minutes of joy

Short-eared Owl female in a fog Female Short-eared Owl on the road in the fog – D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

A  foggy morning at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge brought me 13 minutes of joy after spotting a shape on the gravel road, it was a female Short-eared Owl and she flew up  and landed on a post not too far from the road.

Female Short-eared Owl head onFemale Short-eared Owl head on –  D200, f7.1, 1/320, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, +0.7 EV, natural light, not baited

The fog was swirling around her, at times she would be clear of the mist and the post would be shrouded by the fog, other times she would be partially obscured and the post would be in the clear. The female owl was at the very edge of the miasma with the rising sun starting to burn it off .

Female Short-eared Owl parallaxingFemale Short-eared Owl parallaxing – D200, f7.1, 1/350, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, +0.3 EV, natural light, not baited

Photographers dream about the “sweet” light usually found early in the morning or late afternoon. I know I appreciate that light too but I also love testing my skills  by photographing birds in difficult lighting situations while attempting to create compelling images. Photographing birds in a fog is one of those situations.

Female Short-eared Owl staringFemale Short-eared Owl staring – D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 280mm, +0.3 EV, natural light, not baited

The heavy fog aided in creating a monochromatic background for these image, the grasses and sagebrush were smoothed out by the fog and the bokeh of my lens. The Short-eared Owl female was quite comfortable with my presence and posed on the fence post in various ways with many different head positions.

Female Short-eared Owl with head turnFemale Short-eared Owl with head turn – D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 330mm, 0.0 EV, natural light, not baited

At the time I was photographing this owl I remember that I kept hoping that the fog would burn off and leave her in the sweet light of the early morning sun which would have allowed me to lower my ISO and show more of the fine details of the owl’s plumage. I was; however, extremely glad to have the chance to photograph her in the fog and to create images under the challenging circumstances.

Female Short-eared Owl looking downFemale Short-eared Owl looking down – D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 400, 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 330mm, 0.0 EV, natural light, not baited

All I had was 13 minutes with this beautiful Short-eared Owl female but those thirteen minutes brought me tremendous joy. Before the sun had burned off the misty fog the Short-eared Owl flew away into the mists and became for me a creature as ephemeral as the lake fog itself.

Mia

10 Comments

  1. Lois Bryan July 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Soooo wonderful … !!!

  2. Jolanta July 24, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Great pictures! Thanks 🙂

  3. Sarah Mayhew July 24, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Nice images. The third one in particular is wonderful!

  4. Sally Wood May 7, 2013 at 7:10 am

    happy for you! She’s a special girl!

  5. Rich Ditch November 17, 2010 at 10:55 am

    A well-told story. I agree about the advantages of fog and exploiting any such opportunity. The concluding image in this set is wonderful

  6. Nicole MacP November 13, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Love the pics! You seem to have captured her many different moods!

  7. Ron Dudley November 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Just an excellent blog post Mia. I thoroughly enjoyed the images and your narrative described well my own feelings (since I was there with you and had the same experience).

Comments are closed.