We all naturally gravitate to the longest lens in our kit when shooting wildlife. It’s a natural reaction…But it can be a creativity killer. During this amazing session with a family of Northern Hawk Owls in northern Minnesota, I completely forgot about the wide angle lens in my bag. In fact, I was even putting the crappy 2x teleconverter on my 400. But I realized this bird perched in a scraggly Black Spruce would make a great silhouette. I intentionally underexposed to make the bird and trees black and then converted the image to a warmer white balance to increase the orange color, simulating the sunrise. Turns out, I really like this image! It is better than 95% of my telephoto shots from this morning. It shows the perching behavior and, more importantly, the habitat that these day-hunting owls make home.

The lesson? The wide angle lens can be a wonderful wildlife photography tool.