It was a sunny morning in April and avid golfer T. Wayne Grimes was enjoying a round of golf on the Devil’s Ridge course in Holly Springs. He had just recorded a bogey on the 10th hole and was hoping to see more birdies on the back nine.
Little did he know the birdies he was about to encounter.
As Grimes prepared to tee up on the 11th tee, the course superintendent, John Parrish, came zooming up in a golf cart and jumped out. He began showing Grimes photos on his camera phone of baby owls in a hollow of a tree along the course. Knowing that Grimes was a professional photographer, he asked him to come out some morning and take some professional shots of the owls in the tree. Grimes agreed but was then faced with the challenge of figuring out how to achieve the best possible lighting with the nest so high up in the tree.
The following Sunday at 5:45 a.m., Grimes, accompanied by his friend, Chris Wasz, set out for the shoot.
“I came up with the idea of taping a wireless flash to the end of a long paint pole and extended it up about 25 feet high. We used some rope to tie the paint pole as high up on another tree and pointed the flash towards the owls’ nest. This gave me great lighting,” said Grimes.
From the vantage point of the cart path, Grimes was able to take shots of the birds directly into the hollow of the tree.
While he was shooting photos, one of the Barred baby owls attempted to fly and fell out of the nest. Grimes was able to photograph the baby hopping around on the ground. When the mother owl returned with a mouse to feed the young owlets, Grimes watched as the young owl climbed the tree to the nest to feed.
“What started out as just taking some standard photos turned rather interesting,” said Grimes. “I had never seen baby owls before let alone one walking around on the ground or climbing a tree.”
The following week, Grimes posted all of his pictures on his website and sent a link to Mike Maze’s “A-MAZE-ing pic of the day” on the local CBS affiliate WRAL-TV. He selected one photo to be on the evening news broadcast.
Grimes immediately had a flood of people looking at his photos and suggesting that he create a children’s photo book or storybook. That evening, he asked his wife, Debbie, to come up with three owl names starting with the letter “O”. He drafted some ideas based on a simple children’s bedtime story to tie all the photos together to create a children’s photo book.
After three months of working through Amazon’s CreateSpace.com, a site where writers can self-publish their own book, Grimes’ book “The Devil’s Ridge Baby Owls – First day out of the nest” is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions.
The book coincides with the efforts of the Devil’s Ridge Golf Course Audubon Society committee to achieve Audubon certification. This certification recognizes golf courses that protect the environment, conserve natural resources and promote wildlife habitats. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, endorsed by the United States Golf Association, provides information and guidance to help golf courses preserve and enhance wildlife habitat and protect natural resources. Golf courses from the United States, Africa, Australia, Canada, Central America, Europe and Southeast Asia have also achieved certification in the program. Devils Ridge Golf Club is the 22nd course in North Carolina and the 942nd in the world to receive the honor.
Says Grimes, “What started out as hoping for some great golf shots resulting in some birdies ended up with some great photography shots of a different kind of birdie.”
T. Wayne Grimes is the owner/photographer of TeeWayne Photography. You can view photos of the owls on his website www.teewayne.com where there is also a link to purchase his book. It also is available for purchase at Amazon.com and in the Devil’s Ridge Golf Course Pro Shop.
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