All three of these images are photos of the same Short-eared Owl, one was taken in early morning light, the second image is also in early morning light but shared just because I like the wind blown look and the third was taken in mid morning light. I’ve mentioned that I prefer golden light or early morning to late afternoon light many times because morning light is softer because of the angle of the sun and that later in the day the light is harsher, more contrasty and to my eyes less appealing.
The photo above was taken at 6:32 am which was not long after the sun had come over the mountains to the east. There is a warmth to early morning light that just isn’t there later in the day and there are fewer harsh shadows because of the low angle of the sun. The owl’s plumage, face and eyes are well lit and there is a “glow” to the entire photo.
This adult male Short-eared Owl has an issue with his right eye that probably doesn’t affect his vision at all but makes him easy to identify, you can see a dark spot in the lower portion of his iris that isn’t there in normal Short-eared Owl eyes. See my post Birds with “Blown Eyes” for more images of birds with this condition.
I just loved the wind blown look the Short-eared Owl had in this photo, the up swept feathers on his head made him look different and slightly dramatic. I’m happy I took this photo when the light was right.
This image of the same Short-eared Owl male was taken at 10:15 am when the sun was much higher than the first photo and it shows that the shadows are deeper at that time of the day and that nearly half of the owl’s bright yellow, recessed eyes are in shadow because of the angle of the sun and the warm tones of the owl’s plumage seem less visible than they did in the first image above.
While this final image shows a beautiful Short-eared Owl, nice sharpness and details when I compare it to the first photo it just isn’t as visually appealing to me as the first photo which was taken in softer light.
Life is good.