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Thursday, February 16, 2012

More Snowy Owls - Part II

Wildlife photographers often hope for a number of things: there's the obvious, like good light, good fortune, and good company; and the not-so-obvious, like having a Tim Horton's just a few kilometers away from the scene of the owls and getting good advice from the locals.

Long before I had even arrived in Vancouver, as-yet-unmet acquaintances like Jamie Douglas and Tony Dathan were filling my ears with places to go (thanks guys!).  And better still, a large part of the appeal in heading to Vancouver to photograph the snowy owl irruption was the knowledge that I'd get to photograph snowies with some of 'the old gang', friends from Vancouver that I've been photographing with for years that I have a tremendous amount of respect for: David Wingate, Roberta Olenick, and two of my oldest pals (sorry guys, I had to throw in at least one joke about your ages!), Murray O'Neill and John Lowman.

Together, these four helped me have some of the most fun I've experienced with bird photography in years.  I showed you a few of the efforts from the first five days in yesterday's post, so today I finish off by showing off some of my favourite images from the final two days I spent in Vancouver after the sun finally broke through and washed the bay's beaches with some glorious light, just enough good fortune, and some great, great company.

Note once again that you can view even more images on my Facebook fan page, and you don't have to be a member to do so!

A snowy soaks in the sunshine with the Vancouver skyline and the Coast Mountains in the distant background.

A snowy owl flies by along the wetland at high tide.

The final few days provided several amazing short-eared owl encounters.

A shortie flies by me at close range while hunting over the fields opposite the bay.

A short-eared owl in flight, intent on scouring the ground for voles.

One of my favourite flight shots from the week.

And my personal favourite: a snowy owl in flight across the grassy meadows.

Thanks for looking everyone, Happy Shooting!



  1. Absolutely outstanding :)

  2. Hi John,

    Tremendous shots, every one of them. I was interested in hearing your thoughts about a touchy subject related to the snowy owls at Boundary Bay. That topic is the presence of wildlife photographers out in the marsh in and among the snowy owls. Signage along the dike and at the trail head kiosks ask people not to head out into the marsh and it seems that only the wildlife photographers ignore this.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I myself headed out into the marsh during my first visit to Boundary Bay a couple weeks back. I stayed further back than other photographers near any owls but the experience has led me to the conclusion that I will no longer head out from the dike for my snowy owl shots. I respect your work, both photographic and on environmental matters such as the grizzly/Canadian Rail dilemma and the Glacier Discovery Walk project at Jasper National Park. So- as respectfully as possible, is there not a conflict between between your photography here and the legality of accessing the marsh?

    I don't mean to single you out- other professional photographers have posted photos of the snowy owls recently and I would pose the same question to them. It's just quite clear your photos were not taken solely from the dike trail.

    Thanks John!


  3. I love this John! I have never caught an owl in flight - they have always been roosting. Way to go!

  4. All these shots just take away my breath! Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. John--

    Just magnificent. jay maisel always used to teach 'color, light, and gesture,' and that final shot has all three! wonderful. and these were taken just a few miles from some city. as always, love your work.