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Two Owls, Trees and Ponds, Dusk | by G Dan Mitchell
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Two Owls, Trees and Ponds, Dusk

Two Owls, Trees and Ponds, Dusk. Merced National Wildlife Refuge, California. February 4, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell - all rights reserved.


Two owls in the branches of a group of trees at dusk, reflected in the waters of a pond at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge.


I originally posted this in an impromptu manner and out of sequence back on SuperB owl Sunday - but now it comes up "officially" in the queue. At the very end of a winter day that had begun well before dawn back up the Central Valley closer to Sacramento (in the Cosumnes River area, to be precise) we had headed south to Merced National Wildlife Refuge in search of somewhat different subject for the evening. We arrived to find some geese on the pond, but most were a bit too far off for good photography. But while we settled in to wait for whatever else might show up, I turned my attention to the beautiful and wide-open Central Valley landscape.


This little group of trees grows on a small levee between a couple of ponds in this agricultural area. (Over the past few weeks I have come to know this exact spot very well, as I have been back three times now to photograph there, with better and better luck each time.) After the sun set, some of the most beautiful light appeared - the soft and pink/purple/blue atmospheric light of dusk, when there is still some brighter color in the sky. I saw a single bird high in one of the branches of this tree and soon figured out it was an owl. I set up a composition that centered the tree - creating, I hope, a sense of quiet and stillness - and which included a bit of the sky and the beautiful reflection of the tree's silhouette in the water. As I shot, a second owl showed up for a few seconds and I was able to get a frame with the couple together.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

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Taken on February 4, 2012