While on assignment photographing great gray owls for a Wild Wonders of Europe project,  Sven Zacek got a call that a few owls had been sighted nearby. Zacek had been busy with another mission—shooting winter landscapes—but was able to find and spend four days with this female near Oulu, Finland.

“This photo is from the first evening, when I had just arrived. It was snowing, and after observing the owl for a while I decided to try and creep closer. The snowfall really makes the shot.”

(Photograph by Sven Zacek, National Geographic)

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