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!

John

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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!

John

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Last-minute opening in Jasper workshop next week!

Hi everyone,

I've had a last-minute cancellation for my Jasper winter wildlife photography workshop next week (it starts on Tuesday evening) in beautiful Jasper National Park in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, which means that there is now a last-minute opening for a lucky photographer! 

This is a fantastic workshop for anyone wanting to improve their skills in wildlife photography and learn about tracking wolves, lynx, and other wildlife at the same time!  You can expect to photograph bighorn sheep, moose, elk, deer, coyote, and, if we're lucky, both wild wolves and lynx.

Bighorn rams on the 2011 Jasper winter wildlife photography workshop

If you're interested, please contact me directly for pricing details.  You can read more about the Jasper winter wildlife photography workshop here.

Happy shooting!

John

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