I have to admit that I’ve been so busy working on my Digital Bird Photography articles that I’ve gotten way behind in my blog postings. In fact, I don’t remember what the weather was like on January 11 at the refuge! (I need to take better notes!) But, by the looks of some of the shots, I had some sun (rare around here). So, here are some of the photos and happenings of this day’s shoot.
It was about 8:15 a.m. when I came across this hawk at the entrance to the Ash tree woods. It was on the left side of the road by the canal that goes under the road. It was eating on a coot. I don’t know if it had captured the coot or another creature killed the coot and left it. My guess is that this Red-tailed Hawk caught it. I stopped my truck and began taking pictures from my window–I was only 15 feet from the hawk. I used full flash to light up the dark scene.
[Please click on all the thumbnails for larger, more detailed views].
After about 10 minutes, another hawk landed on a branch not far from this hawk. From that point on, this hawk was almost stationary and stopped eating the catch. In fact, the hawk was still there standing still an hour or so later when I came around the loop again. The hawk did not appear injured but its behavior was a little off from what I’m used to seeing. Later, the hawk had left the area.
Between posts #12 & 13, at the east of Rest Lake, a Northern Harrier flies by on my left side (the lake side) which is typically lit up very well in the mornings.
A couple of Tundra Swans land in Rest Lake while I’m there.
I drive all the way around the loop again and wind up at post #11. In the water to my right is this Northern Pintail, remarkably content with my presence.
An American Coot also paid me no mind as it bent its neck into this weird shape, I guess to itch.
I return to Rest Lake, just past post #12, and capture a sequence that has yielded one of my personal best action shots to date. A female Northern Harrier was on the hunt off to the left on the dike. I quickly got the camera into position on my bean bag shot the bird capturing a rodent and taking off with it. . UPDATE: A version of the 2nd photo below won the Oregon Wild 2012 Photo Contest in the Wildlife category! Here’s the sequence (the second one is my fave!):
A close up of the above photo.
Soon after, a dark colored Red-tailed Hawk flies by in some nice light.
Here it actually stops in flight and begins to hover.
I drive down the road a little further and another Red-tailed Hawk is standing at the side of the road in front of me. It actually let me get fairly close to take some shots.
Here, a pair of Canada Geese take off from Rest Lake.
And, a pair of geese make a landing in Rest Lake. In the first shot, these birds don’t look all that graceful coming in for the touchdown–a little tipsy if you ask me!
There’s a medium-sized tree on the left just before the photo hide parking area. On the top branch is an American Kestrel female just looking for a potential meal. I drove a little past the tree so I was looking at the lit side of the bird. After a couple of minutes, the bird dives after some prey it spots on the ground. Neither shot is as sharp as I like as these are heavy crops.
And my final shot of the day is a Black-capped Chickadee. Here I used a slight flash fill at 1/1000 of a second with the flash set to high speed sync (HSS), f5.6 and ISO640. To read more about HSS, please refer to my article on Using External Flash in Bird Photography.
If you are new at bird photography and are considering getting into the hobby seriously, I’ve posted a series of articles chronicling my experiences in the hobby and what I have learned. As of today, Feb. 6, I have posted 21 entries in the Articles category of this website with more to come. Even if you’re a seasoned shooter, heck, you just might pick up a tip or a laugh.
Thanks for dropping by and I’ll see you next time!