The Mysteries Within The Drift

February 21, 2019Photography, Wildlife
Gret Grey Owl - Photo by Packy Savvenas - Grand Tetons

Today was a day filled with mystery and excitement. As we were pulling out of our driveway we happened to capture a glimpse of an enormous moose while heading off to our daily photographic adventure.

It’s not everyday that you actually see a moose eating your neighbor’s tree, of course, unless you’re here in Jackson, Wyoming. We knew from that point on this was a sign that today was going to be an amazing day.

Prior to today, we had just received a record amount of snow. It was somewhere close to nearly 24 inches within 24 hours. When the snow hits, that’s when the mysteries within the drift surface.

I heard that there was a great gray owl hidden within the majestic tree line close to the golf course in Jackson, so I made it my mission to find him.

We started heading towards the golf course where the owl was rumored to have been seen. The scenery was incredibly majestic. It was beautiful, with an almost eerie feel like something you’d see from a hobbit movie. The trees stood tall with patches of snow covered branches that were reminiscent of large cotton balls.

The bridge added the perfect ambiance to a nearby river with snow blanketed valleys. We drove around the bend as my mind wandered, curious if a wizard or some mythological creature would present itself amidst the drift of the snow fallen setting. And that’s when it happened….our eyes were in disbelief at first. Just to the side of the road next to use we saw a great grey owl sitting on a branch in all his glory.

Oh my God, I can only tell you how hard it is to find a great grey owl sitting among the thick forest of trees; it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

I immediately pulled over, noticing the only way to get down in there was to actually follow a route embedded in the snow. The path was somewhere close to waist-high. Remember we just had record winter weather the day prior.

Fortunately I had just bought some killer snow pants the day before, so this was the perfect way to put them to the test. Without hesitation I grabbed my tripod and camera and set off for the trek. I did what I had to do, getting as close as I could to capture these spectacular pictures.

I literally had to climb through the waist-high snow holding my camera while carrying my tripod. Unfortunately I managed to break my tripod while in route to the location. In doing that though it kept me and my camera from getting immersed in the snow.

This was one of the most exciting moments of my life! I have always wanted to get a killer shot of an owl with an excellent lens. The best day ever!

Like I’ve always said, it seems like the more active the weather is, the more you see the animals of Yellowstone Country. When the wind kicks and the snow drifts, it’s within this harsher weather that the animals emerge.

After spending roughly two to three hours photographing this owl to make sure I got the right picture, I ended up shooting about a thousand different photos. Just as soon as I stopped photographing and started making my trek back, the owl flew off.

As I arose from the snow covered woods, I noticed around 15 photographers had made their way there. Once they saw me parked and out of my car taking photos, they all stopped in hopes of photographing the owl. At this point though, he was already flying around from tree to tree; moving farther out every second. I stuck around for a little bit just to see if I could get him flying, yet that didn’t happen.

The photos I captured were well worth the snowy trek. And, to my surprise, my wife managed to get some video of the owl within his camouflaged element.

We then decided to go and head to our spot where I first noticed the porcupine. If you read my blog post you will learn about the adventure I had while trying to shoot this porcupine. Luckily enough, today when we arrived the porcupine was actually at the bottom of the hill; just out in the open.

I was able to pull off some amazing shots in just a matter of a couple minutes while my wife got some video of this little creature.

Today was amazing. We literally saw animals from the moment we left until the moment we ended. Winter in Yellowstone Country is anything, but dull. It’s a mountainous snow blanketed wonderland of beauty that beholds the mysteries within the drift.

Author Packy Savvenas

There's a raging 180 IQ behind every pretty picture I've edited, designed and developed. I want to take the best photo you have ever taken for any occasion. Over the years this is what I have become the most passionate about. “Your digital footprint is more than just another picture or selfie, it’s your legacy it will be carried on through the ages. This is what you are leaving behind – your story, your moment, and you will want it to be remembered and admired for decades to come.” Packy Savvenas

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