Great Persuasion


Great Persuasion

Great Gray Owl

Great Persuasion



600 mm

The Story

The Ghost of the Northwoods has lived up to its name for many years, eluding Bill on several winter ventures to Minnesota. The great gray is easier to spot against the white backdrop of snow and bare trees. However, it was late summer of 2021 - an even more difficult time to spot these camoflauge experts due to the trees and dense forest - when persistence finally paid off.

Bill and his girlfriend Shannon were visiting northern Minnesota for vacation. Bill wasn't sure a quest to find one would be worth it, but Shannon persuaded him to give it another try. Bill had been following some social media posts about a great gray in the area, but only had vague details of where he might be. They woke early and hit the road armed with a camera and some skepticism. The great gray was spotted right at sunrise. Bill transformed from his stoic quiet self, into a bit of a child on Christmas morning. The owl In the area for a vacation, Bill’s girlfriend Shannon persuaded him to give it another try. Armed with a camera, some skepticism, and a few vague details on a potential location, this great gray owl was spotted right at sunrise.

He proceeded to put on a show for the next several hours allowing Bill plenty of opportunity to snap a variety of shots.

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Countless Hours.

A Single Moment.

A man of few words Bill Vanderhagen is more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Like many, he finds the speed of modern life exhausting. Photography is his refuge. It is in the stillness of nature, waiting countless hours to capture that single moment where he feels most alive.

Bill discovered photography in 2008 as a way to combine my two passions for art and the outdoors. Learning the skills of this art form was an adventure of its own. With the exception of a brief two-year hiatus due creative burnout, Bill have never bored from chasing that single image.

Even with human subjects, there is something magical about capturing a glance, a smirk, or smile, which is gone just as quickly as it showed up.

Thanks for visiting the site. It has always been Bill's hope that the photos he shares bring you the sense of excitement and discovery he feels when it is just him, the unknown subject, and his camera.