I have decided to do a blog entry even without a site that has any other real content. I have every intention of building it up over time. As for blog posts, at the start, the posts will contain the story surrounding how the photograph was made. The posts may move away from that over time. In addition, I cannot say at what interval posts will occur.
I am often asked the question of what kind of photographer I am. If a label must be applied, I see myself as a generalist. I will admit that a lot of the photographs I have made are of wildlife. With that, let me start with Who’s Looking At You.
This Burrowing Owl was nesting in a location south of the Public Service Company of New Mexico Reeves power generating station in northern Albuquerque, NM. Quite a number of nesting pairs are known to nest within the PNM generating station property, but getting access is very difficult.
As happens to many of us on our way to the office, we see a sight that is out of the ordinary, such as this Owl. Now I cannot claim to be the one who spotted the Owls originally, I’ll credit my friend Allen for that. He mentioned having seen some owls over a number of days and provided me with the location. I dropped by the location not far outside the generating station the day he told me about having seen them and did find a pair of nesting Owls. I took a little time to scope out the location from a distance. The adult pair and two nearly full grown chicks where at the entrance to their burrow which was in a dirt mound, hidden in tumbleweeds, other small mounds of dirt and tall grass. They were again in the burrow entrance on my visit the next day. Being midday in July, the light was stark. I thought that it might be better, both from a lighting perspective, and with a chance for greater activity away from the burrow by the Owls if I came by the following morning, with camera in hand.
On the following morning the owls were in various locations not far from the burrow, including on top of some capped cable conduits that stood a yard high and roughly a yard or so from the burrow entrance. I took some quick shots right from the truck window 60 or so feet from the burrow. The sun was just hitting the volcanoes on top of the Mesa west of Albuquerque and was not yet hitting the burrow area. Half an hour later, the sunlight was starting to illuminate the area around the owls. I mounted the camera/lens to a monopod and exited the truck and got down low and moved slowly toward the Owls with the sun to my back. It had rained the previous night and the dirt was muddy, quite sticky like clay actually. I got down into a squatting position, and took a few photographs working my way slowly closer, waddling in mud all the while handling the camera/monopod. Had anyone seen me, I must have been quite a sight! I took a number of photographs and then took a of couple of waddling steps each time stopping and taking photos. I did this to what was a distance that I though was approaching a point that the Owls would no longer tolerate. I don’t like to push the comfort zone of wild subjects, so if I see any hint of stress, I back off. I probably could have gotten a little closer, but I felt I had gotten close enough. After squatting there for a while, getting several photographs similar to that shown here, I started backing out towards the truck. Once back to the truck, I found the foot to the monopod and my shoes caked with quite an amount of mud. The Owls were still going about their business. A couple of days later they were gone, having abandoned their burrow.
Burrowing Owls are just slightly larger than an American Robin and their diet is primarily insects and small rodents. This photograph was exhibited in the 2009 Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show. The equipment used was a Canon EOS 30D, 300mm f/4 IS with 1.4x converter. Exposure information: ISO 200, f/8 at 1/500.