alanpeterson
alanpeterson

Short-eared Takeoff



A Short-eared Owl takes off after an unsuccessful dive while hunting at dusk in the Mad River Slough Wildlife Area.

A Short-eared Owl takes off after an unsuccessful dive while hunting at dusk in the Mad River Slough Wildlife Area.
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11 Comments | Report
nikonphotomaker PRO
 
nikonphotomaker October 11, 2016
A magnificent capture. Awesome.
iamtherie PRO+
 
iamtherie December 16, 2016
Awesome photo!!!
modelmeemaw Platinum
 
modelmeemaw June 02, 2017
Stunning!
Martha
JBordons
 
JBordons August 09, 2017
Remarkable capture!
texaaronpueschel Platinum
 
texaaronpueschel January 11, 2018
The brown tones add so much beauty on this photo of the owl. Great photo
Nickynoodles555
 
Nickynoodles555 January 19, 2018
Amazing photo!
Eddieuuu071 Platinum
 
Eddieuuu071 February 21, 2018
Thank you for submitting your wonderful photo to my Owl Challenge! Best of luck!
Eddieuuu071 Platinum
 
Eddieuuu071 March 25, 2018
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Owl photo! Congratulations, I have placed your photo into my favorites file from which the winner will be chosen! Best of luck!
Julia_137
 
Julia_137 August 01, 2018
Great picture ! Come and check out a few of mine sometime 😃😄
keepclicking
 
keepclicking November 07, 2018
Stunning photo
marlonporter PRO
 
marlonporter September 07, 2020
So beautiful😍

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken in the Mad River Slough Wildlife Area near Arcata, California. Every winter, Short-eared Owls arrive in the dunes and grasslands around Humboldt Bay to hunt for voles alongside the other raptors. During December and January, the Mad River Slough Wildlife Area is a great place to watch these owls hunt or fight with kites and harriers.
Time
I took this photo in the late evening, just as the sun sunk behind the ocean fog. Short-eared Owls adjust their hunting habits to match the activity of voles in their area, and California voles tend to have an activity period during the last couple hours of sunlight. As the voles were doing their last few minutes of foraging for the evening, this owl flew in and dove right across a small clearing from me.
Lighting
Only natural light is at work here. When I photograph wildlife in the Mad River Slough Wildlife Area, I usually set up near the southern end of the field so I don't have to deal with harshly backlit subjects.
Equipment
This was taken with a Nikon D800 and Sigma 300-800mm zoom, handheld.
Inspiration
Short-eared Owls are full of personality, and won't hesitate to try to steal food from each other or other raptors. They're great fun to watch, and make great photography subjects if show up before their hunt begins and stay silent and still while they get used to your presence. I've been making at least a couple trips to photograph them each winter ever since I discovered about a dozen of them in the wildlife area three winters ago.
Editing
Basic color balance and contrast curve adjustments were made along with some light noise reduction, and I cropped the image for composition.
In my camera bag
For bird photography, I normally use a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 300-800mm zoom handheld.
Feedback
Many raptors have fairly predictable hunting routines. When I explore a wild area for the first time, I usually try to cover a lot of ground and take note of the areas and times that the animal activity is in. When I return, I usually have a good idea of where I need to set up to have close encounters with the animals I want to photograph.

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