This isn’t a spectacular before/after, or even that fantastic of a shot, it was just a moment that I’d like to remember as clearly as possible.
We had just gotten onto the main part of the trail, only one of three cars in the lot and it was quiet. I had planned to pose Wild somewhere in this area, it’s a favorite spot of mine, when movement just above our heads caught our attention. I saw striped brown contrasting with the dark green of the forest and knew it wasn’t a typical sparrow or the like that we normally see skittering about. It landed in one of the trees just out of focus in the shot above and we were able to really look at it.
I was only able to snag this one super far away shot before Mr. Owl took off again, deeper into the forest. If we hadn’t seen the motion of his wings, I don’t think we would have noticed him at all; owls are such silent fliers. I’ve hiked this trail dozens of times and I’ve never seen or even heard an owl in the distance, it was definitely a magical moment.
As often as possible when out with him, I try to watch Wild watch the world. If he stops to peer into the dark, I usually do too. Partially because I love to watch him inspect his surroundings, but also because he sees things much before I do. His ears will twitch and his head dart to one side, I’ll follow and see a deer moving cautiously in the woods behind us. I’m usually pretty quick to spot wildlife, but I’m nowhere near as accurate as he is!
On this hike I tried a couple of different things for photos (and video, which I’m still editing). I typically have him on a thin collar and then I’ll just attach one 4ft leash or two 4ft leashes attached to each other to him and some sort of “anchor”. This hike I decided to go with an even thinner collar and I rotated between a flexi leash (listen, they’re good for maybe two things, and this is one of them) and a super thin but strong string (a type of fishing line for large fish). This shot in particular was done via flexi. I locked it in place and attached it to the tree just behind him. Why did I switch things up? To be honest, I was tired of editing out thick leashes! I don’t let Wild off leash outside of one or two known locations, so the leash is gonna be there. I just have to figure out the best way to get it out of the shot afterwards.
As you can see, brightened his body, took out the leash, cleaned his legs up a bit, and that’s basically it!