While hiking in the backcountry a few days ago, I found four bull moose, hanging out together and hiding from the sun's heat in thick willows near a river.
With nothing much to photograph until the moose would decide to get up and walk into a more open area, I killed the time by walking around.
A sudden movement, about 2 yards high in a dense patch of trees caught my eye.
A shape bigger than the average bird I would expect to see landed in there on a small branch.
As I cautiously entered the thick and dark forest and tried to get a little closer to the dark shape, something to my left caught my attention. I peered over ... and saw two baby owls!
Another owlet was sitting nearby so I found a total of four owlets in the dark conifer trees, well protected by a million branches. Getting bigger, they were out exploring away from the nest.
It was tough getting clear shots of the owlets. Not only were they half hidden between branches and pine needles, the light in there was so scarce that I had to lower the shutter speed and push up the ISO to 6400, higher than I typically feel comfortable with in near darkness, but nothing a little Topaz Denoise can't fix ...
Since I was out hiking for moose, I didn't bring my tripod so I took bursts of images at a low shutter speed (with a wide open aperture) to get some 'in focus' shots of the owlets.
Here are some of my favorites. My first ever Long Eared Owlets!
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