Archives (1): The eyes have it

I’ve been having a discussion with my good photo friend Adrian Lewis about bringing great memories back to life through photography, and I mentioned that some of my best memories of my days in veterinary practice are intimately related to the eyes of some of the animals that I’ve helped through the years.  One in particular stands out—a gorgeous snowy owl that had an injured wing and was unable to fly.  It tolerated my gentle examination with great patience and calmness.  No bones were broken, and after careful treatment of a wound in one of the wings and about ten days of rest, I was able to release it back into the wild and watch it fly into the woods with full regained strength.  It had the deepest, yellow-est eyes I think I have ever seen, and it watched my every move with intense scrutiny and interest.  I’ll never forget them.

Snowy owl and me 11-D-16(This is a rarity here, a photo that I did not make; I set up the camera and one of my assistants made the shot.)

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About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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29 Responses to Archives (1): The eyes have it

  1. Adrian says:

    What a beautiful animal-the owl i mean ha,ha.The smoking pipes remind me of my dear old Dad-he had a passion for the pipe smoking too! :)

    • krikitarts says:

      Hey, thanks, Adrian–I think! Yeah, there are times when I still get nostalgic about having a nice pipe again–especially when I’m in a trout stream at the crack of dawn and contemplating the serenity…

  2. Angeline M says:

    A beautiful owl. The eye we can see in this photo has such a wonderful shape, and it looks so peaceful; very comfortable with you.

    • krikitarts says:

      I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the raptors, and–to anthropomorphize just a bit–once they realize that we mean them no harm at all, they generally are quite docile and oh, so beautiful. Heavy gloves are a must at all times, though, as their fiercest weapons by far are their talons, and the muscles behind them are amazingly powerful.

  3. What an amazing image, I can see why it has such a lasting imprint.

  4. The snowy owl is incredible, but I’m more impressed with the handsome devil holding him :).

  5. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Such a privilege to be able to hold and spend time with birds from the wild. The owl looks amazing and I can see why this image holds special memories. It looks completely at ease sitting on your hand (if a little heavy).

  6. krikitarts says:

    Actually, you’d be amazed at what lightweights they are. The feathers, which comprise most of their volume, weigh next to nothing, their actual bodies are much slimmer than you’d think, and their bones are hollow. It’s an unforgettable experience to be able to hold a magnificent one like this.

  7. seekraz says:

    What a handsome couple. I’m surprised the wild owl was so calm for you.

  8. krikitarts says:

    By the time this photo was made, we had already gotten to know each other fairly well, and he was quite comfortable with me and my ministrations, to my lasting delight.

  9. Adrian Lewis says:

    Gary, I am absolutely bowled over by this – on several counts! Where to start?

    Well, if a photo and story can summarise your deep love for natural things, this is it! And boy do I know what you mean about deepest, yellowest eyes! This bird is rare in Britain, but I saw one – at much greater range! – on the Western Isles years ago.

    You’re very lucky in that, having been a vet, you’re able to help creatures in this way.

    Then there’s the picture of a younger you in your office – I love the collection of pipes!

    And finally – mono just does this so well, its so much better than colour would have been, not least because the owl is black and white (apart from its eyes!).

    Wonderful post, my friend, truly uplifting! Adrian

    • krikitarts says:

      And I have you in large part to thank for my posting this, Adrian. It’s great fun turning back the clock like this–it must have been around 1989. Thanks for urging me to do so yesterday. Ah, yes, the pipes–that was a different chapter in my life. I really enjoyed them for many years, but finally saw the wisdom in abstinence. My tobacco, you might be interested to learn, came from Sobranie Ltd., London. And, yes, very luck to be a vet!

  10. Great ‘time capsule’ image…what memories. But like one of the other comments, despite all that is going on in the shot, my eye went to the ‘pipes’….now that is another era long gone. Looking forward to the next shot from the archive!

    • krikitarts says:

      I thought you’d enjoy this one, David! And you (and Adrian Lewis) have given me an idea for a new “Archives” category. I’ll get it up and running soon and put this post into it retroactively. I should be able to spend many happy hours digging around in them to see what crusty old memories I can restore to light for you. Stay tuned.

  11. Mike Powell says:

    Someone famously said that eyes are the window to the soul and I think that is true for animals and birds as well as for people (though there is debate about the attribution for the quotation). As photographers, I think we are irresistibly drawn to a subject’s eyes and are told that is the one things that absolutely must be in focus. It’s amazing the range of emotions that can be conveyed by the eyes. In the case of this photo, the owl seems calm and relaxed, reflecting a trust that it obviously had in you.

    • krikitarts says:

      You’re so right about the eyes’ irresistible draw. In most instances, though depth of field can play an important role, if the eye is in focus, the rest will fall into place nicely. Yes, we did develop a degree of trust in each other, and it was a magical thing!

  12. Jeff Sinon says:

    Oh wow, that must have been awesome! I’ve only had the opportunity to photograph them, but from much further away. I can only imagine how yellow their eyes are up close like this.

    • krikitarts says:

      I have this niggling little temptation to go back and try to give those eyes the color that I remember–but no, probably better to continue to resist it. And yet…(niggle, niggle)…

  13. Meanderer says:

    What a wonderful and very special photograph.

    • krikitarts says:

      I was in small animal practice for 7 years before joining our Dept. of Ag, and though I never really regretted the decision to switch, I have still missed the challenges and rewards of being a healer. But I’ve sure loved the chance to see so much of the world!

  14. WOW! A splendid image, and what an experience it must have been.

  15. krikitarts says:

    Close contact with such wild creatures were among the best experiences of being in practice in the north woods. I often reflect on those good times!

  16. MikeP says:

    Love this blast from the past… owls eyes are very intense especially when viewed up close. They still remind me that if I was a lil smaller… like a mouse… game over :-)

    • krikitarts says:

      It’s true, Mike. When you get a chance to gaze into those eyes from up close, you can really feel the quiet confidence of the highly-skilled and accomplished predator. It’s good to be big!

  17. Finn says:

    What a magnificent creature! It must have been a great feeling to restore it back to health and see it fly back to its home territory.

    • krikitarts says:

      I knew you’d be delighted, Finn! It has been such a gift to be able to help fellow creatures like this one. I have so many great memories like this one. I wish I had more photos of them, but this was one of those very special opportunities.

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