The Story Behind “Snowy Snowy”
Every winter central Alberta is visited by a truly majestic traveler. In late-November, the first of the irrupting snowy owls appear on the Canadian prairies, arriving from the far north to hunt the mice and voles that are prevalent here. Although the Launsteins live along the mountains outside of Pincher Creek, Alberta, the “snowies,” as they are affectionately called by birders, draw the family east in search of these beautiful birds.
As it turns out, this scene very nearly wasn’t witnessed by the family at all. They had penciled January 1st, 2015 on the calendar as the day they would head out in search of the owls…a great way to start the New Year. Mother Nature had other plans, however, and severe weather in their area kept them grounded for another day. The forecast for the next day was for light snow in the region they planned to look for snowies, so they bundled up and headed out before dawn early on January 2nd.
As they headed east into the prairies, what began as a light snow built into a heavy snow accompanied by strong winds, and eventually developed into a genuine blizzard. The weather didn’t let up all day, and Josiah wondered aloud how they could possibly spot a white owl in the middle of a blizzard, let alone why one would be out and about in such conditions! With only an hour of daylight left they came to a crossroads, literally…head southwest and back toward home, or northeast for one last attempt to spot something. Ten minutes later Josiah asked Jenaya to stop the truck, and to Jenaya and John’s disbelief, after much direction from Josiah, they spotted their first owl, some 80yds away sitting in a windswept snowfield. Before long they had found another owl, and then another–the beautiful mature male captured forever by Josiah in “Snowy Snowy.”
In fact, the owl caught Josiah’s attention when it flew from a nearby perch to smash into the snow. To Josiah’s delight, he soon lifted a feathered leg to reveal a freshly-killed vole clutched firmly in his talons. After finishing his meal, he lifted off and disappeared into the snowy world he had appeared from. Josiah spotted the owl again moments later as he landed on this rugged old fence and began scanning the surrounding field for movement. Braving the -30C windchill, Josiah braced his camera and lens on the open truck window, found a composition he liked, and squeezed the shutter on what would become one of his finest works to date.
To inquire about reserving an Artist’s Proof or one of only 50 Limited Edition Fine Art Prints of this special piece, give us a call or simply fill out the inquiry form below! You can view “Snowy Snowy” in person in our Wildlife Art Gallery in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.
To learn more about Josiah and his growing list of accomplishments in wildlife photography, please drop by his bio page. You can also work through a short timeline of highlights in Josiah’s journey as a photographer on our About The Launstein Family page.
Finally, donâ€™t forget you can follow the Launsteinsâ€™ photographic adventures on Twitter @LaunsteinFamily, as well asÂ on Facebook at Launstein Imagery.