A truly extraordinary sighting yesterday while out for a hike. My primary goal was to find owls and having photographed one earlier in the morning, I was looking for more.
As I walked a path near the South Platte River, a stand of trees was to my east with the rising sun backlighting them. I find that is a handy trick to make owls easier to spot as their silhouette stands out. Sure enough, up high on the end of a broken tree branch and in the open was a perfect owl silhouette.
I stopped, snapped a quick, poorly exposed capture shooting into the sun while still at a distance. Then slowly, purposefully, I moved forward, being very careful not to scare off this owl. As I got closer, I noticed the owl wasn’t moving at all but as I was looking into the sun and couldn’t make out any detail, I assumed that it was just focused on me.
I closed to about 20 yards from the tree, put up my camera, adjusted the exposure to compensate for the lighting and… Damn!
Yup, the ever-elusive “wood owl” – see the first comment for a better look. My wife and I always joke about seeing “tree elk” and “rock bears” when on photo excursions. Now I can chalk up another, similarly elusive form of “wildlife.” 😀