Side lit Short-eared Owl Male

/, Box Elder County, Short-eared Owls, Utah/Side lit Short-eared Owl Male

Side lit Short-eared OwlSide lit Short-eared Owl – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Sometimes the light just isn’t right when you find a cooperative bird and there isn’t a thing you can do about it because you can’t make the sun come up from the west, north or south. When I came upon this Short-eared Owl last week I was disappointed because the owl was cooperative, I’d never seen short-eared owl parallax as much as this one did and because there wasn’t a thing I could do to make the light angle better. I wanted to move the earth to get better light on him.

But I took a few images of the owl when I went past it thinking I wouldn’t like any of the images when I could view them on my computer. I was wrong. I liked this image of the side lit Short-eared Owl more than I thought I could. I’d much rather have the light on the owl’s face but I like the side light in this frame and how even though the eyes are in shadow they still seem to glow. The image isn’t perfect but…

The eyes have it. The eyes have me!

Life is good.



  1. April Olson May 18, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I find the lighting and pose rather dramatic and beautiful.

  2. Elephant's Child May 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Oooh. And ahhh.

  3. Patty Chadwick May 18, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I love this tilted head image! It’s such a different angle than the ones I usually see, the white feathers rimming the face are easier to see, and there’s a wonderful mystery and moodiness to it…a great, great shot!!!

  4. Molly May 18, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I think the lighting and angle make the bird’s “volume” and shape more informative than most pics do. I feel like I could reach out and touch his/her head. Although that would probably hurt. Thanks for sharing this beautiful image.

  5. BOB BUSHELL May 18, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Wonderful image Mia.

  6. Nancy Collins May 18, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I love it Mia! I think the lighting is beautiful and certainly leads us to the owl’s stare and intention. Even the post is beautifully lit giving us that great texture.

  7. Ilze Long May 18, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Sometimes it happens that the atmosphere, light, position whatever, isn’t “right”, yet that is the world the birds and we live in and there is a certain beauty in that. Perfection is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

  8. Kathryn Duchene May 18, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Just lovely.

  9. Linda Laugen May 18, 2016 at 6:18 am

    The DRAMA’s the thing……….hooty-hoo!

  10. Steven Kessel May 18, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I sometimes get so obsessed with the “have the sun come over your shoulder and your shadow point toward the subject” formula that I forget that side lighting and even backlighting can sometimes produce superior images. This one is simply outstanding.

  11. Bob McPherson May 18, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Beautiful photo Mia. You nailed it.

  12. Ricardo Bitran May 18, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Wow! Really impressive image: the owl’s expression, staring at you as with reproach, the warm and soft background, the beautiful and contrasting lights. Well done.

  13. Glen A. Fox May 18, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Gorgeous image! The side-lighting gives it so much more detail and shape. I suspect you could open the shadows a bid more and simultaneously pull down the highlights in post processing if you so desire. A SEOW of any description is a subject most of the rest of us would die for. Thank you for sharing your good fortune, hard work and great skill with us.

  14. Roger Burnard May 18, 2016 at 4:57 am

    It takes skill to make a good picture when conditions are less than ideal, and you did
    it with this image. Personally, I like images that are “different” from the usual images
    that are so common. You did good, again… ;-)))

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