Owls’ Road House

Carmel Bechler's Image

Carmel Bechler (Israel) discovered several barn owls in an abandoned, concrete building near a busy road.

Returning to where he’d spotted a barn owl the previous year, Carmel and his father used the family car as a hiding spot. He made the most of the natural light and used long exposure times to capture the light trails of passing traffic.

Kathy Moran, Editor and Chair of the Jury, notes how ‘this photograph has so many layers in terms of content and composition. The eye travels across the road, through traffic before spotting the owls. It simultaneously screams habitat destruction and adaptation, begging the question: if wildlife can adapt to our environment, why can’t we respect theirs?’

Israel has the densest barn owl population in the world. A national project has provided nesting boxes near agricultural fields, encouraging owls to nest near farmland. An initiative that’s proved mutually beneficial and led to the reduced the use of rodenticides, as the owls hunt rodents that eat seeds and crops.

Behind the lens

Carmel Bechler

Carmel Bechler


Growing up in a small village surrounded by fields, Carmel’s always been fascinated with wildlife. He started developing an interest in photography thanks to his family, and got his first camera when he was 12 years old. Restricted to only using his bicycle to get around, he gained a deep knowledge of the species close to his home. Besides photography, Carmel’s also passionate about music, and has played the jazz saxophone since fourth grade.

Image details

  • Nikon D7500
  • Tamron 18–200mm f3.5–6.3 lens
  • 1.3 sec at f4.8  •   ISO 4000
  • Hof HaSharon, Israel
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