The funny thing was, had it been in the spot above, on a little stub on a dead tree, I probably never would have seen it even though it was in plain sight, because it blends in pretty well. But the first look I had was --
I was in my car, right at the end of the road, just one driveway up the hill to the left. No need for the binoculars, grabbed the camera, got a couple shots through the windshield, and then a car comes whipping down the driveway, making enough noise to scare the owl, but it just went to the nearest hemlock. Sat there for a couple minutes, then back out in the open on the dead tree.
Took photos for about 10 minutes, got out of the car for some of them and even that didn't scare it off. Very cool.