The Snowy Owl Irruption of 2012 - Part I

Hello everyone, I'm excited today to bring you the first glimpse on my blog of the great variety of owl images I've been posting over on my Facebook and Twitter accounts for the past two weeks since my return from the lovely environs of Vancouver, British Columbia to photograph the amazing 2012 snowy owl irruption in the Lower Mainland. Note that even if you aren't a member on Facebook, you can still view the whole snowy owl photo album (including larger size pictures than you see here).

The first photograph of the trip.  I stepped out of the car, took about twenty steps, and voila!

The trip was a grand success, culminating in over 6600 photos that I managed to edit down to 234 keepers. I'm also pleased to announce that I've already sold two of the images to Natural History Magazine in the U.S. for their upcoming February-March issue.

The owls seemed to be just about everywhere...on the driftwood, on the ground, and even in the grass.

A snowy owl from the Peek-a-boo series in the grass.
While I managed to get in a few quick hours of rain-free photography on the first two days, the third and fourth days were about as miserable as west coast weather can get: howling winds in excess of 70 km/hr and bucketfuls of rain made for some very lonely photography and interesting shots.  In fact, one afternoon I was the sole person in the bay for over four hours!  Just me and 23 snowy owls -- it's about as close to wildlife photography nirvana as I've gotten in a while.

The owls weren't quite as thrilled about the rain and wind as I was.

Because of the lack of other photographers, I was able to slowly walk among the owls at fairly close distances.

Another snowy in the Peek-a-book series!

On the fifth day, the weather began to improve again, offering up a few chances to get large groups of owls together in the same shot before too many photographers arrived on the scene.

Ten snowy owls on driftwood along the beach, near Vancouver, BC.

An owl takes a snooze on a piece of driftwood beautifully crafted by the wind, waves, and rain.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final two days worth of photography, when the skies finally cleared and it all came together for some stunning flight shots of both snowy and short-eared owls.

Happy shooting!


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