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Trust Your Instincts

With this early cold snap, I'm reminded of the time I went to Smithville to photograph the Snowy Owl. It was January. I read in the paper that the Owl had been spotted at the lake. Anyone who knows me, knows I love nature, especially birds! So I decided I wanted to photograph this amazing owl. After all, when would I ever get the chance to do that?

It was a Wednesday morning when I decided to pack my gear and head over to Smithville. The thing is, I had no idea where the owl was or where I should go to look for it, but somehow I knew I would see it.

Arriving in Smithville, I followed the signs. At my first turn, I saw a few people gathered near the lake's rocky shore. I parked, grabbed my camera and tripod, and walked over. As I got closer, I could sense something special, almost sacred, like walking into a church. As I reached the shore, a man pointed, and sure enough, a beautiful snowy owl was perched on the rocks like a statue.

It was an amazing and wonderful day. The people who gathered to see it were friendly and quiet. Through whispers I learned that the owl was a female because of her markings. She glanced up when a plane flew above us. Mostly though, she was so still like the rocks she perched on. Her head moved slowly, her eyes piercing, searching for her next meal.

Not wanting to disturb her, I snapped pictures from a distance, but then another observer and I stepped in closer. Still she didn’t budge. More pictures. Finally, when someone quickly approached from the road, she flew off. What a sight!

Luckily, I was in a good position to capture her take off. In her initial ascent, her wing span was so long that I was unable to get all of her in the frame. But then as she flew across the lake, I got her, like a whisper on the wind.

I’m glad I trusted my instincts that day and made the trek. I didn’t know what to expect, but somehow I knew all along that something wonderful was going to happen. And it did!


Snowy Owl in flight

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