I’ve been hearing about the snowy owls for days (weeks?) but had not had a chance to get out to the South Jetty to check them out myself.
I thought I’d missed my opportunity and that they’d moved on, but I ran into Sue Olson at lunch and she nudged me in that direction.
I can be a bit slow at times, so at first I didn’t follow the cluster of folks at the “uninteresting” corner of the parking lot. Instead, I headed toward the south edge of the jetty, turning around at an opportune moment to capture this:
I couldn’t help but like it, but at the same time, I knew that this particular scene meant that I was on the verge of losing any usable light for bird photography.
After asking for help in locating one, I finally spotted the big male hiding in plain sight. I must have been staring at him for three or four minutes before I actually saw him… at first he was masked by the very light sky.
I slowly, carefully (and probably needlessly) crept up on him, picking my way around the edge of the almost frozen marsh and through crackling grasses.
He didn’t care. He watched me the whole way and didn’t budge. He even let me get too close to be of any use… so close to the base of “his” tree that I couldn’t get a good shot of him. It didn’t matter to him. I was of such passing interest that he spent most of his time looking everywhere except at me.
But now and again, he’d stare me down.
I shot a lot of frames, but this is the one that I’m happiest with so far. It’s a huge crop, even though I wasn’t that far away. It’s noisy as hell, too, though I did what I could in Lightroom to mitigate that. I still like it.
It feels rather intimate.
The fact that it’s the middle of January, calm and relatively clear was not lost on me. Even though it was more than an hour past sunset, I decided to chance a detour to the Peter Iredale shipwreck and see what the afterglow had to offer.
Not a bad evening out, all in all.