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"There's Something on my Head, Isn't There?"



Burrowing owl with a jumping spider on its head. Taken at Salton Sea. 1-2-16

Burrowing owl with a jumping spider on its head. Taken at Salton Sea. 1-2-16
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Contest Finalist in Clean & Simple Photo Contest
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42 Comments | Report
RuwanFonseka PRO
 
RuwanFonseka January 03, 2016
Excellent timing....
paigephotography
 
paigephotography January 07, 2016
He so does not looked pleased.
KimellaDeville
 
KimellaDeville January 25, 2016
Absolutely love the look on his face. Ha! Great capture!
jessicabayless
 
jessicabayless January 30, 2016
Oh wow.... I love this. I hope that someday I can get a shot like this.
texaaronpueschel PRO
 
texaaronpueschel February 29, 2016
Nice angle on this shot. Voted.
Juanita10
 
Juanita10 July 02, 2016
Excellent!!!
michaelbennett
 
michaelbennett July 10, 2016
Wonderful.
wklein PRO
 
wklein July 10, 2016
This is an awesome shot, so unique! One of my favorite birds to photograph
ParksFamilyPhotography PRO+
 
ParksFamilyPhotography July 10, 2016
This is the best photo I have seen in a while!!!! he looks pissed lol
danmoran PRO
 
danmoran July 10, 2016
Wow! What are the chances! Awesome photo
Treecy Premium
 
Treecy July 10, 2016
This just absolutely cracked me up haha! Great capture!!!!!!!!
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano July 10, 2016
:D Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
AJStuart
 
AJStuart July 11, 2016
Lol. Fabulous capture .... Fab caption. Thanks
spengele
 
spengele July 11, 2016
Haha, he definitely knows about the spider! Unique photo!
AliciaRPaparo PRO
 
AliciaRPaparo July 11, 2016
Haha, love it.
Treecy Premium
 
Treecy July 11, 2016
Are you not allowing us to share this on Facebook??? I tried but it wouldn't allow me!
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano July 11, 2016
How weird! It should allow it. I have no problem with it being shared.
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano July 11, 2016
I see the FB button is there and it has been shared 32 times. Maybe it is a problem on your end somehow?
mariaserrano PRO+
 
mariaserrano July 11, 2016
Thank you all for your kind comments! It's been really fun to read your reactions!
carolcardillo PRO
 
carolcardillo July 11, 2016
Ew ... lol Love his expression. Wonderfully composed, also.
mariaserrano PRO+
 
mariaserrano July 11, 2016
I reedited this image shortly after I uploaded it but failed to switch them out, unfortunately. The new version has much better color. Is there a way to switch them out without loosing everything that is attached to it (comments, awards...)? Anyhow, this image won 4th place in the bird category at the San Diego County Fair this year plus it also received a donated award from the American Society of Media Photographers. :D Very exciting for me!
s073715
 
s073715 July 11, 2016
This is so funny. I just love the owl's expression.
Treecy Premium
 
Treecy July 11, 2016
I got is to work on my computer. Yeah! Thank you!
mariaserrano PRO+
 
mariaserrano July 11, 2016
I have the edited version on my website. Unfortunately it is a bit compressed as well. It doesn't look it's best unless it is a TIFF or PSD and it is not compressed by transfer. :(
The color does look better though. If you want to see it :
suspendednaturephotography.zenfolio.com
dianeeweiler
 
dianeeweiler July 11, 2016
Your choice of framing enhances the behaviour you've captured in the eye of the Owl. Awesome capture!
melonynames-steel PRO+
 
melonynames-steel July 11, 2016
What an absolute wonderful capture! I aspire to have a creative eye like you! :)
ani3lyn
 
ani3lyn July 11, 2016
so cute hahahahah
photosbyliesa
 
photosbyliesa July 11, 2016
Crazy picture! :)
WendyR
 
WendyR July 14, 2016
love this :)
RayShell
 
RayShell July 16, 2016
thats interesting!
LucyCMorr PRO+
 
LucyCMorr July 22, 2016
Now this made me laugh! Great shot!
tesler PRO+
 
tesler July 26, 2016
Great shot! made me smile :)
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots July 27, 2016
Great capture! Congrats.
MaryAnne306 PRO+
 
MaryAnne306 July 27, 2016
Too funny! That owl's expression is priceless.
Great composition to capture the moment. Congratulations on being a finalist!
ErrolFW
 
ErrolFW July 29, 2016
I love this photo Every time I look at it it brings a smile. That expression just takes the cake!
jimages
 
jimages September 16, 2016
I love the expression, the owl looks like he is not impressed one little bit :-)
Great capture
edrobson Premium
 
edrobson October 05, 2016
Cool shot.
catherinethompson PRO
 
catherinethompson November 18, 2016
Outstanding and such a look on his face.
wklein PRO
 
wklein January 06, 2017
Outstanding! These are my favorite birds to photograph!
RavenHawk58
 
RavenHawk58 March 27, 2017
GREAT GREAT title, for a great shot
miguelgaly
 
miguelgaly May 02, 2017
wow...what an amazing capture...and the expression on the owl's face..haha
LydiaCybulski
 
LydiaCybulski September 23, 2017
This owl is thinking "Get this spider off of me, Jeff."
Scoutdogs PRO+
 
Scoutdogs February 21, 2018
Just screaming for a caption! Great shot
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano February 21, 2018
:D Thank you!
sharnagrahame
 
sharnagrahame March 10, 2018
I love this every time it comes up I stop have a chuckle, it looks so unimpressed. Great work
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano March 10, 2018
Teehee! Thank you very much! :D
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano March 10, 2018
Teehee! Thank you very much! :D
Alwolfe Premium
 
Alwolfe March 29, 2018
Outstanding capture and creativity!
mariaserrano PRO+
mariaserrano March 29, 2018
Thank you Alwolfe! I appreciate it! :D

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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this image in Salton Sea, CA.
Time
I shot this close to noon as you can see by the shadow in the owl's eye casted by it's eyelid and eyelashes. This pretty much breaks the rules as far as the best time to shoot wildlife, which is preferably the very beginning and very end of the day. In this case, it worked.
Lighting
This was only natural light with no flash fill.
Equipment
I used my Nikon D810 with a Nikon 500mm f.4 on a Gitzo tripod with a Wimberly gimbal head.
Inspiration
Burrowing owls are greatly impacted by the use of pesticides and herbicides. Many people are not lucky enough to see them up close and enjoy their endearing personalities. Photographing them (and all wildlife for that matter) helps people appreciate them and become more aware on how our actions can either save them or destroy them. This particular shot was one of those unexpected and lucky moments. I was shooting this owl and another who was standing right next to it when suddenly the spider jumped on its face and worked its way up onto its head. I continued shooting (as I giggled), of course!
Editing
This image is cropped to bring more attention to the spider. Since I was using a prime lens I couldn't zoom in to accomplish that. Some people were surprised (and not pleased) by my decision to crop almost half of the owls face and body off, but I felt that this shot really called for it making the spider stand out and producing a more dramatic expression on the owl's face. Other than cropping I opened the shadows a tad. The image I posted here on Viewbug and that you see here has evolved a bit in terms of color, vibrance, and contrast since. I submitted the improved version to the San Diego County Fair Photography exhibit and it won 4th place in the bird category and it also received a donated award by the American Society of Media Photographers. It also won Best of Show at the Inland Empire Photography Club's annual photo contest. So, feel free to unleash the artist in you and go with what YOU feel.
In my camera bag
My go to gear is mostly my Nikon D500 with the Nikon 500 f.4 on my Gitzo tripod with the Wimberly gimbal head. I also carry a 1.4 tc, a Nikon D810, and for lenses I take a 40mm, an 18-300mm, and a 14-28mm.
Feedback
Wildlife is certainly predictable in terms of certain behaviors like feeding, mating, and nesting. Do some research on your subject and know what is the best time of year and day to capture the behavior you seek to capture. Other times, like in this featured image, nature can be unpredictable. It may be worth it to stay put for a little (or a looooong) while...and wait for it!

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