I was on my way to start fishing at a nearby lake when I was greeted by this friendly visitor; or maybe I was the visitor depending on how you look at it. It was perched on a parking post in the parking lot near the lake. I happened to spot it when I noticed it swoop down and land there after coming out of the trees lining the parking area. I had the wrong lens attached at the time but thankfully, I was able to quickly switch to the telephoto and capture a photo. To my dismay, the hawk was to far away and the background was not suitable. I guess the hawk may have felt my frustration because at that moment it flew closer and perched itself atop a tree and against a solid blue background. Thanks Mr Hawk!
Once perched, I eased out of the car and started to photograph. It has been my experience that when ever I rush to quickly to a subject to try and immediately get a close shot, it fly/runs away. So this time I was careful to slowly inch my way toward the Hawk to photograph it. This technique not only helps when capturing a photo but it may keep you from getting injured if the Hawk feels threatened and try to attack. As you can see in the picture those talons are not made for tickling or caressing! They can cause a lot of damage and extensive bleeding if it were to strike so be careful when approaching!
The Red-tail Hawk is a species of raptor that mainly feeds on mammals. They range in size between 17-27 inches with a 44 – 52 inch wing span. The female Red-tailed Hawk is known to be larger than the male but both have about the same wingspan. They can thrive in multiple habitats and nests in the crown of trees. Red-tailed hawks are aggressive when defending their territory. That is the very reason why I used caution when attempting to get closer to photograph the animal.
I used a regular telephoto lens for this image and I was so happy when the bird decided to give me a better composition. However, I do wish I had my super telephoto lens but I settled with this. I used the auto focus system just in case it decided to move again. The shutter remained on continuous high so I could freeze action while in flight. While I was capturing the photo above, I noticed that the hawk looked at me once then proceeded to survey the area. I assume for food.
I took quite a few shots because there was a small twig that kept getting in the way of the hawks face. It is still in the way a little bit but you can make out the features of the animal. Being that the background was solid and the hawk was fairly still, it was an easy photo to create.
On a final note
I cannot stress enough to always use caution when photographing animals. It is my belief that whenever I photograph an animal, I am the visitor and they are the host. With that mindset, its their rules that I must abide by so if they feel threatened they will use their natural instincts no matter what good intentions that I may have. If the hawk began to make noises and continuously look in my direction; that would have been the end of the photo shoot and the camera would immateriality be in the off position.
Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time