When was the last time you saw an owl?
“A friend once told me you don’t find owls, owls find you,” said Paul Bannick, an acclaimed wildlife photographer who will be speaking at the Mill Valley Community Center on Friday, Nov. 2 as part of the An Evening with Owls, annual fundraiser of the Hungry Owl Project, a partnership with WildCare in San Rafael.
The evening also features Joe Mueller, a comedian and biologist instructor at the College of Marin, along with wine tasting, snacks, live animals, wildlife artists, a silect auction, raffles and more.
Bannick, who just got back from a trip to the Arctic, will give a multimedia presentation with personal stories, sound recordings, and breathtaking photos – many that will be featured in an upcoming book he’s working on. He’s already the author of the top-selling book The Owl and the Woodpecker, and much of his presentation will focus on exploring the relationship between the two birds, and helping people understand more about the nocturnal creatures.
“People protect what they love and love what they know,” Bannick said, “so my challenge is to help people know.”
Bannick tries to “create empathy through images.” Someone struck by his photos of owls may be inspired to learn more about them on their own, and in turn develop a greater appreciation for them.
“It motivates my photography,” he said. “I enjoy the beauty, and things that lead to a bigger story.”
He himself has invested a lot time learning about their habitats, and what they need to survive in order to caputre them through his lens. He’s aware of the certain plants that are in bloom, specific types of trees, the elevation, and other environmental factors that indicate an owl may be nearby.
And then, he waits. Often lying on his back with his camera, he focuses on the light, the background, and most importantly the art of anticipating when an owl is going to make its move.
“I don’t edit photos,” Bannick said. “So the challenge for me is to get it right. If you’re changing our photos it’s like you’re changing nature. Nature is imperfection, and I want to capture that imperfection.”
IF YOU GO:
What: Evening with Owls
When: Friday, Nov. 2, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Where: Mill Valley Community Center
Tickets: $85 per person
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