Sunrise Burrowing Owl

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This is a shot I've wanted for a very long time. I've wanted to capture a Burrowing Owl in a completely natural settings with beautiful morning or evening backlight. On this particular morning I was scouting for a workshop that I would be running later that day. I had a few spots I wanted to check out but started with my go-to spot. Turned out that my go-to spot was still the best one. I've been on the search for an area with a little more green grass than this one, but in the end I wasn't able to find that. I also realized I really liked this more natural habitat that isn't a well manicured lawn for these owls. I had been working with another owl that was on a classic wooden cross perch, when I looked way down the field I was in and saw another owl on the ground. I left the bird I was working with and went towards this one. The morning sun was just beginning to clear the trees and shine on this wide open field so of course I approached at an angle for backlight. When given the choice, I'll almost always choose backlight over front, I find it more dramatic, different, and creative. When I saw this Burrowing Owl standing on top of a small mound near its burrow I couldn't believe how beautiful the scene was to my eye. The medium height grasses were all glowing as was the owl and the distant tree line had sun shining through it, which I knew would make for a great background. The setup was about perfect. I shot some really far away, and then moved in a little to get this shot. The only problem was about two pieces of thin grass that crossed the body of the bird that I removed in post, other than that the shot was everything I wanted in a natural looking Florida Burrowing Owl photo.

  • Location: Cape Coral, Florida

  • Date Taken: 02/02/2019

  • Exposure: 1/320 @ f/4

  • ISO: 280 - auto

  • Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

  • Focal Length: 500mm

  • Lens: Nikon 500mm f/4 VR

  • Camera: Nikon D4s

Nature photography has become a very passionate hobby of mine and whenever I get a chance I love to get outside and enjoy being outdoors. I am also the co-owner of KGM Expressions, a wedding and portrait photography business, with my wife Kim. This is how we make our living and I love that we get to do that together.