Yesterday morning I headed out early hoping that the clouds would lift, the wind wouldn’t pick up and that I’d find some birds to focus on. The clouds did lift, the wind stayed calm and I found three northern Utah Short-eared Owl chicks in morning light to focus on. The owlets were close to the edge of a road and I was able to pull over to the far side of the road to photograph them in good light and able stay far enough away from them so that I didn’t disturb them.
The chicks were resting in front of a sagebrush and I was able to get clear views of two of them, the chick in the middle had dead twigs in front it so I focused primarily on the two chicks on the ends.
This chick appeared to be slightly younger than the other two because it still shows down on its head and it seemed a little smaller. I also liked how this young owl was rocking what looks like a faux hawk and winking at me.
This image shows the same chick without the wink. Those bright yellow eyes sure are mesmerizing.
I only wanted to stay with the owlets for a few minutes and in those few minutes I fired off a few hundred shots. The young owls weren’t doing much but resting, opening their eyes and looking around.
I had been using my Nikon D810 in FX (full frame) mode to fit the young owls in the frame.
Then I switched to DX (cropped frame) mode and took a series of portraits of the two chicks that were mostly out in the open.
I loved the light, the fine plumage details and the great looks of the eyes of these young owls in the images I created.
The owl chick that was on the left even parallaxed as I photographed it, turning its head side ways to its right…
And then to its left. It felt amazing to be alone with these northern Utah Short-eared Owl chicks for a few brief moments yesterday. I drove away with a huge smile on my face after my experience with them.
Then I headed north to meet up with Marie Read who is a friend, author and fellow female bird photographer. We photographed more owls side by side for a bit and chatted about birds, photography and the nature that surrounded us.
Life is good.
All images were taken with my Nikon D810, 500mm VR with 1.4x TC attached. My ISO was set between 250 and 320 to get the most fine detail in the owlets plumage. About half of the images I took were in FX mode and the rest were in DX mode.