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Dedication: Photographer Waits Days to Capture Owlet’s First Flight

Curators’ Corner

Dedication: Photographer Waits Days to Capture Owlet’s First Flight

Great photographers go to great lengths to get great shots. U.K.-based nature photographer Steve Ward knows this.

After coming across a pair of tiny baby owls nested in an abandoned barn, Ward spent up to 17 hours a day in sweltering summer heat waiting to capture the grand prize of young owl milestones – the first flight.

Ward eventually noticed that the owlets were inching forward on a ledge with one foot raised, so he got his camera ready…and waited 5 hours before one of the owls reappeared.

The owlet then began to stretch its wings and survey its surroundings, Ward told the Daily Mail.

Photo by Steve Ward

“Then it scratched the surface beneath its feet to make sure the ground was firm, checked the sky for clearance and potential predators and took a leap…” Ward said. “…Straight down on the grass below like a cannon ball.”

Photo by Steve Ward

Photo by Steve Ward

(Face plant)

It took the owl-in-training two more failed attempts, but he took off like a pro on his fourth try. Shown below, Ward managed to capture every phase leading up to the high-flying moment, which he called “a great shot against the dark light coming from the gap in the barn door and being lit by the gorgeous morning sunlight outside.”

Photo by Steve Ward

Ward noted that the heat was grueling, especially in his suffocating hideout.

“After a 17-hour shoot in the hide from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. I was exhausted and down to literally my boxer shorts,” he said. “But these are the lengths us nature photographers have to go to in order to get and witness such wonderful moments.”

Dedication and a true photographer-subject connection. We love it.

Photographers, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to capture your image? And how did it bring you closer to your subject? Tweet us at @DuggalNYC.

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