Photographing Burrowing Owls, getting lost in the eyes of your subject.

I think it was Humphry Bogart who said, “She had the kind of eyes you could get lost in”. I love to photograph owls for a lot of reasons but mostly because of there eyes. They have the kind of eyes you can get lost in. When beginning to photograph wildlife it’s important to understand that an animal’s eyes are the most important part of the composition of a wildlife photo. Because of their large prominent eyes, owls offer a great opportunity to practice this principle. Owls, however, are very reclusive nocturnal creatures for the most part which can make finding them and subsequently photographing them quite difficult. There is one species of owl however that is relatively easy to find and is active during the day. The Burrowing Owl. If you want to practice your wildlife photography and work with a subject that has great eyes, then burrowing owls are just the trick.

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I love my 600mm lens, but how do I get it there? Traveling with a super telephoto lens.

Most wildlife photographers start out using smaller lenses and work their way up to large super telephoto lenses as time goes by. In the beginning, I had a 300mm f4 and like most, lusted after larger lenses but wasn’t sure that wildlife photography was something I would stick with long enough to justify the expense of a larger lens. Once I saved enough and pulled the trigger on a 600mm lens I couldn’t wait to travel and test it out. My first trip with this monster was to Jackson Wyoming and Grand Tetons National Park. I knew it would be the perfect lens for the trip but getting it there on the plane was concerning and would take some thought.

Young Pronghorn Antelope Grand Tetons National Park
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The I-20 Wildlife Preserve

If you have ever been to West Texas then you know there really isn’t much to look at. You can literally drive a hundred miles and not change elevation more than 10 feet. For the most part, it’s dry and arid. The average yearly rainfall is about 14 inches and not a lot can grow in those conditions. Every once in a while though you’re lucky and you find an oasis in the desert.

A Canvasback duck at the preserve
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