So many outstanding images to be proud of, congrats to all.
I settled on this one based on the setting, the fact that it was a first time encounter with an Eastern Screech Owl and NAT GEO gave it a nod which was an honor. The entire series taken had a variety of studio-like lighting due to sunlight cast through openings in the large Oak tree the bird chose for shelter.
Canon 1D Mark IV | 500L (f4) | Wimberley II & Tripod
Amazing shot. You're right about the lighting, it works really well