I like this one, tho I think it's more 'cause I'm used to seeing the owl this way..I have to agree with Sean tho, the other gives a whole new look..it's so fresh :)what's wrong seeing the world with very new eyes ?! it's a great owl in both
i didn't say i didn't like it. i did. it just looked a little unrealistic. the sky was wonderful and showcased mr bo verrry well. actually, the first thing i noticed about the sky was, at the shooting angle, it would be almost impossible to have the sky behind - you look almost level with his feet. it's still a wonderful shot. if you really don't like the bg, maybe you could use some appropriately oof 'colored bushes, something brighter'. perhaps someone else could suggest a color that would be as beneficial as the sky in showcasing, but still doesn't clash. Sean was right about the surreal feel with the clouds. if that's what you like/want, go with it.
I personally still love the first one with the clouds - it had an artistic touch to it that I found captivating and as well a surreal feel to it, The original presented here is still very very good and I love it as well but it is now missing that little something that attracted me to the first one.
Re: the pvc pipe -- the only thing I can think of off the top of my head would be a small rotting tree trunk where the center is almost hollow even if maybe just a few holes and edges that matched up with the talon positioning.