Sunday, January 25, 2009

So Close!

Last Wednesday while taking Harry (the dog) for a run, something odd and out of place caught my attention as we ran past the backyard of a house in the neighborhood. I backtracked a few steps only to see an owl staring straight back at me in a tree perhaps 15-20 feet away. I froze for a few seconds trying to process exactly what I was seeing, before cautiously walking back out of sight and immediately bolting the two minutes back towards the house and my camera. It was one of those I NEED this photo type of moments. I raced back hoping it hadn't moved from its perch. It seemed relatively content just sitting there, so other than the squirrel that didn't like its tree being taken over and was being vocal about it, I figured there was a decent chance it wouldn't move.

I got back, and this was the scene.

The red circle is approximately where the owl was perched, and the blue squared is how much of the frame it would have filled with my 300mm lens.

I thought it may not have gone too far, so I searched around and actually found it in the same tree, just much higher up and behind plenty of branches in relative darkness. This made focusing and getting a decent exposure a pain.

I did manage to find one clear angle at it (other than the dense foliage in the way).

So as best I can figure out, it's a barred owl. Which mostly makes sense. Searching online, it's the only one that looks similar, but it's primarily a more eastern owl that has only recently started expanding its range into Oregon and Washington. Do you concur, parents?

It was very close to being a dream photo opportunity, but I just missed it. I run by there fairly often, so I'm going to have to keep my eyes open.


  1. Nice; your ID is correct. Nice call too - "Who cooks for you; who cooks for you all." That was also the very first owl we saw together. I got a pretty good picture, even though at the time I didn't have a telephoto lens.

  2. Very cool. That's the trouble with owls. They do like to hide out in very difficult to photograph spots. Keep watching for it!

  3. maybe you should become a photographer. that would be exciting.

  4. That would be exciting. It'd take another couple years of learning and thousands worth of camera gear and a little luck and I might actually be able to make some money off it.