I was enjoying a quiet morning with coffee and some classical music when I heard a murder of crows making a ruckus as only crows can. We were still living in Portland at the time and I was waiting for my friend, Steve Howes, to arrive from his home in Pasco. The crows persisted so I went to see what the commotion was all about.
As I opened the front door a very large bird flew off the brick facing on the front of the house. I was startled by the size and the quick motion. I really did not expect to see a Barred Owl siting on my house. The bird flew across the street and landed in a neighbor’s tree. I grabbed my camera, a Nikon D800 at the time, mounted the 300 mm lens, and walked across the street to stalk the bird.
The owl was sitting calmly about 10-15 feet up. It looked at me as I took photos and moved closer. We bonded and I felt confident that the bird would tolerate my presence. It was probably pleased that my presence was keeping the crows away.
Steve drove in and I greeted him with “grab your camera and long lens and follow me”. He did that and we both approached the owl. Click, click, click. We agreed we had more than enough images of the owl and retreated to the house for coffee. The crows instantly reappeared to harass the owl and it flew off to the neighboring heavy conifer stand. It had been a great intersection of bird and photographer. The fact that it was fall and the background was a Japanese maple made it even more pleasant.
I made a print of this image and gave it to the neighbor family. I figured that was only right since I’d borrowed their trees for the only Barred Owl images in my photo library. They were astonished and were talking about frames as we went our own ways. I was happy to impact them with a sight they never saw but knew they were part of. The power of photography.