What a hoot!

It’s every photographer’s dream to capture a moment so unique that the whole world will want to see it. You hope that it will happen to you one day, and every time you press the shutter button you wonder, will this be the one…

I had no idea as I arrived at Peckforton Castle on Saturday morning that just a few days later I would have the world’s press beating down a path to my door for one of my photographs!

The photo in question was one of an owl, a surprise performer at the wedding of Jeni Arrowsmith and Mark Wood. The owl had been trained to deliver the rings to the best man, landing on his arm after a short flight from the back of the hall.

Ready for take off…

 

It was all going perfectly, but as the best man tried to remove the wedding rings from the pouch carried by the owl, something obviously was not right. The owl started to flap and fidget – and then I realised another of Mark’s best men (he had several) had lifted his arm and was pointing at the feathered ring bearer.

The thing is, the owl is trained to see this as a signal to fly to the hand, so off it goes and dive-bombs the guy – who happens to be terrified of birds. He’s so startled he falls off his chair, and as he’s cowering from the owl, I keep my finger on the shutter button and…

COPYRIGHT STACEY OLIVER PHOTOGRAPHY

It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. The owl caused such a to-do that the registrar had to calm everybody down before they could carry on with the ceremony. I had no idea though how crazy it was about to get.

Requests for the photo started to flood in. Suddenly I’m on the BBC News Channel. Then I’m having a chat to a Canadian radio station after the story went viral and was featured in the Daily Mirror, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail plus US networks Fox News and ABC.

It’s unbelievable. I didn’t eat all day. My dream has come true. I’ve gone viral! It’s gone worldwide. My Twitter is going off every second and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I was so excited I even tweeted Harry Potter author JK Rowling about the owl photo!

I feel so lucky to do the job I do. I’ve heard it said that taking a photograph is like pressing the pause button on life. In one single image a whole story can be told, a story that will last long after the speeches are finished, and the wedding cake has all been eaten. Although I’m enjoying this moment in the limelight, I also know that having my camera means I’m always one click away from creating memories that will last a lifetime.