Posts Tagged ‘Missoula’

Spring officially begins today but for those of us who live in Western Montana it began about the second week in January. Correspondingly, photographing wintry scenes was a challenge, made worse by me personally being elsewhere during the few snowy periods prior to mid-January. But it wasn’t an entire loss because I spent a lot of time with ducks this winter. So, cue a barrage of waterfowl images until Spring brings fresh images.

A mallard flares his wings before landing.

A mallard flares his wings before landing.

Read Full Post »

An uncommon mid-Summer enounter between a white-tailed buck and doe (Odocoileus virginianus), Missoula, Montana

An uncommon mid-Summer enounter between a white-tailed buck and doe (Odocoileus virginianus), Missoula, Montana

Read Full Post »

Three-toed Woodpeckers (Picoides tridactylus), Lolo National Forest, Montana

Three-toed Woodpeckers (Picoides tridactylus), Lolo National Forest, Montana

Read Full Post »

From last February.

A great gray owl (Strix nebulas) prepares to swoop down on an unsuspecting meadow vole, Missoula, Montana

A great gray owl (Strix nebulas) prepares to swoop down on an unsuspecting meadow vole, Missoula, Montana

Read Full Post »

View the World from a different perspective in 2013. To a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to Everyone!

Short-eared Owl Head Tilt A Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) bends her head to better observe an odd photographer, Western Montana

Read Full Post »

It’s an irruption year for Snowy Owls which means that owls have moved en masse from their normal Arctic Circle range to winter along the Canada-US border.  Normally this is due to a population crash of voles in their winter hunting grounds.   A bad year for snowy owls, but a great year for those of us who wouldn’t normally travel to their normal range.

Finding out it was an irruption year, I decided to travel to the Pacific Coast where many had been sighted.  It was a very rewarding trip not only for photography but simply to see these magnificent birds.

Read Full Post »

When I first moved up to Montana from Texas in 2008, I picked up Don Joneses’ book on the National Bison Range while in a bookstore.  In it was a picture of a short-eared owl that captivated me.  I wanted to photograph one.  The only problem was I couldn’t find one to photograph.  I saw one briefly at a far distance at the Bison Range, but nowhere else.  And it wasn’t from lack of trying as I spent many hours driving dirt roads looking for them.  It wasn’t until the Spring of 2010, over a year and a half after I moved to Montana, that I began seeing them and then began photographing them.

Learning their spots, I gradually began to see short-eared owls more and more often and correspondingly began to get better and better shots as I repeated successful tactics and frequented the spots where I saw them most often.  It was one such spot that I took this image.

The previous day while driving along a backroad where I had consistent sightings of a mating pair I came across not one, not two, not even four, but around eight short-eared owls in a tight area.  I assumed they were fledglings of the mating pair that hadn’t yet dispersed.   While they were not fearful of me they also weren’t terribly interested in flying near, but nonetheless I photographed them flying as the sun went down on the valley.

Eager for more, I drove back to the same spot the next day to find a few of them on a fencepost but as I slowly moved my car up and parked a huge rainstorm hit the valley.  I rolled up my vehicle windows and waited out the storm.  When the rain began to slacken I rolled down my window again to find out that my car was surrounded by owls.  Two were on fenceposts directly across a small dirt road from me while another was right next to my car on the passenger side.   I eased my lens on to the beanbag I use to shoot from my car, expecting it would flush them, but instead they peered at me curiously.  I took shot after shot and after 30 minutes of fencepost shots they flew up and began to hunt in the surrounding fields.  I got out of my car and photographed them from the roadside for several hours as they swooped past me.  Sometimes oblivious to me while other times clearly curious about me.  It was one of those magical times where time stood still but also flew by.

This image was the best of my shots that day and for me the best of the year.   It combines the panoramic look that I’ve focused on all year long with my desire to catch the animal “doing something.”   It also validated my thought that subjects must be worked and images improve the longer your spend working the subject.   In this particular case, it was the culmination of years of work.  Have a happy New Year.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: