The Traveler: Chuck Kartak of North Branch, Minn.

The scene: A snowy owl hunts for food in rural Pine County. These white beauties are native to Arctic regions and travel this far south only when their food supply of lemmings runs short, according to Kartak, an avid nature photographer.

How I got this shot: A friend who lives in Pine County alerted Kartak to the bird’s presence. When he arrived in the area, he spied another photographer parked along the road and knew he’d landed at the right spot. For several hours, he watched the owl in a field as it flew from one hay bale to another. “Shortly before sunset, it flew all the way to a nearby power pole ... I had switched the camera mode to shutter priority in hopes of being able to capture it clearly when it took flight. When it flew parallel with the ditch I had already been focusing on it at full 600mm,” Kartak wrote in an e-mail. He used a Canon 80D, outfitted with a Tamron 150-600 mm lens.

photography tips: Bring the camera everywhere so it will be on hand when wildlife is encountered. Stay active and get outdoors nearly daily. Also, traveling to state parks and wildlife areas is key to being in the right place at the right time, Kartak wrote.

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