Great Horned Owl on the prowl || Congratulations @ryanzipp ! #ethicalowlphoto
Happy Friday owl fans - hope those of you in the UK and US have a great long weekend! This shot of a Great Horned owl lurking behind some tall grass really blew my mind when Ryan posted it earlier this year. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite images that I've come across recently. The #ethicalowlphoto tag is full of amazing work. Thanks to all of you who participate in it.
Meadow-hunting Great Gray || Congratulations @owlpurist ! #ethicalowlphoto
Ken is another Pacific Northwest photographer with a catalog of jaw dropping owl moments. His work in low light almost defies belief. His work is familiar to fans of @ethicalowlphotos and for good reason - it may be the best owl gallery out there.
I recently asked Ken to share some thoughts on ethical owl photography. He gave me some great insight: “My favorite thing about finding and photographing owls is the moment when I first see one. My goal is always to find them and observe them without disturbing or altering their behavior. Of course they know I'm there but if I am slow and quiet and keep my distance then they will go about their business being owls. It is an amazing privilege to sit in a mountain meadow and watch a Great Gray Owl hunting. The last thing I want to do is to cause the bird to pay more attention to me than to the hunting.” “One thing I have noticed after several years of sharing photos of owls on social media is that the ultra close up shots are the ones that get the most likes and comments. This is especially true of photos where the owl is looking straight at the camera. This presents an ethical challenge to the photographer. My personal preference is for photos that look like the owl is doing its thing and doesn't even know the photographer is there. But the audience favors photos that are more intrusive. I also prefer to see a wider scene that tells a more complete story than just a super sharp close up of the owl. I think these are more challenging images to compose and execute as well as being better for the bird.” #eopowlpurist
Barn Owl with an inquisitive head turn || Congratulations @conspiringwithnature ! #ethicalowlphoto
I really enjoy it when photographers take the time to explain the context of their image and expound upon their shared moment with wildlife, and especially so with owls. I know it takes more effort, but I think sharing the story behind an image certainly deepens my appreciation of it, and I think it's also a great way to note ethical best practices. I think Sylvia does a great job of this on her always-exciting account. Check out her recent posts about photographing Burrowing Owls for a recent example! Thanks Sylvia!