Showcase 2021 Winner: Anita Ross

Photo of thee burrowing owls. Two are perched on a branch and the third is in the air, flapping its wings. “Burrowing Owls, One Levitating,” San Bernardino County, California, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Birds © Anita Ross
“Burrowing Owls, One Levitating,” San Bernardino County, California, Showcase 2021 Judges’ Choice, Birds © Anita Ross

Artist’s statement

I started photographing burrowing owls in 2016. They’ve become one of my favorite subjects. I can’t resist these little characters with all their expressions. After a session, I can’t wait to get home to look through the images to see what I’ve captured. When I got to these three owls, their interactions with each other were amazing, but what really stood out was this little owl showing off his ability to levitate. The two things I strive to capture in an image are emotion and/or moments you wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye.

How I got the shot

Burrowing owls stay close to their burrows when they are young; sometimes you have to wait a very long time for them to appear. These owlets were older and had already learned to fly. It was a good day with lots of activity. Thank goodness I was focused on these three before the middle one decided to take off. It would have been so easy to miss this shot.

What I Used

I used a Canon 1DX Mark II with a Canon 400 f/4 DO II lens and a 1.4 X extender.  My settings were 1/1600 second, f/6.3, ISO 1000.

About me

I’ve lived in Temecula, California for the past 11 years. My wildlife photography journey started six years ago. My favorite subject to photograph locally is burrowing owls. Finding mammals to photograph in Southern California is very difficult. When I went to Africa and Alaska, I felt like a kid in a candy shop, especially Africa because the variety was endless.

When I was young, I explored art through drawing and making batiks. Batik making is a form of art using wax and dye. Since you are melting wax and using dye, it is very messy. I am so thankful my parents let me make this mess in the garage. I remember how it felt to wake up in the morning wanting to go straight to the garage and continue with this form of art. I stopped pursuing art projects and happily focused on family and career. It was retirement that rekindled my artistic spirit. I express my love of art and animals through photography.

My photographic journey

When I was young, I had a film camera and learned how to develop images in a darkroom. I did that for several years as a hobby. It was retirement that brought me back to photography. I purchased a digital camera and took a class to understand the basics. Since I live close to the San Diego Safari Park, I found myself spending lots of time there photographing the animals. That’s what got me hooked on wildlife and got me dreaming of going to Africa. I then started going out locally photographing birds. In 2016 my dream of going to Africa finally came true.

NANPA and me

I’ve been a member of NANPA since 2018. I entered the Showcase competition last year. Two images made it in. One in the top 100 and one in the top 250.

Learn More

Facebook: @Anita’sPhotographyBlog
Instagram: @Anita.Ross.Wildlife

See more of Anita’s images

  • Burrowing Owls, One Levitating, image by Anita Ross
    Burrowing Owls, One Levitating, San Bernardino County, California, 2021 Showcase Judges' Choice, Birds © Anita Ross