Debra Herst was in Brunswick Point, British Columbia, hunting for a short-eared owl to photograph. Then she came upon the perfect subject. It was resting on a log on the grassy shores of the river delta. As Herst ran through a handful of exposures the bird took of to hunt for rodents. All of a sudden, it veered toward her. The look of recognition that she caught in its eyes adds an element of intimacy to her photograph—a rare sensation between wild creatures and humans.
Though Herst has been a photographer for three decades, she only shifted her gaze to birds in the past few years. Her rule is to never add a species to her life list until she has taken a beautiful photograph of it. Her advice to others: Always be sure to tell a story through the subject, and use light and composition well. But beyond that, all Herst has to say is, "happy birding."
This image was a Top 100 photo from the 2013 Audubon Magazine Photography Awards. To see all of the photos, click here.