Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's a HAWK!

One of the best parts of photography is that it is such a fun way to learn, and not about photography, but about the world around us.  Having a camera in hand I am forced to pay attention to what is going on. Nowhere is it more evident than in the natural world.  I am the last person in the world who would want to sit down with a book and learn the names of different birds. I would be bored; it would be a chore; the memorization would soon be lost.   Nor could I learn just by being a bird watcher.  I would not have anything tangible to examine after looking through binoculars. I would most likely forget what I saw.  But experiencing different birds through observing the world around me, and then looking at the images, and cropping and other post processing. Now that is a fun way to learn!   Every time I look at one of my favorite photos, I actually relive the experience that I had when I took the shot.

To think that a few years ago I could not have identified a red tailed hawk! Sure I knew what a hawk was, but I had no idea what was what.  A funny note--my first photo of an eagle I thought was a red tailed hawk.  I thought all bald eagles had white heads, and my bird did not have a white head.  So, I proudly announced my find as a red tailed hawk, and oops, no, it was a juvenile bald eagle.  Apparently they don't get white heads until about two years old.  Reading about that in a book would not have the same impact as going through the experience.

There are many more red tailed hawks in Memphis than there are eagles, so a couple of different times I have managed to get decent photos of them. The most recent experience was last week, when I managed to follow one around Shelby Farms for about an hour.   In cases like this, I take as many photos as possible, and then delete all but the best dozen or so. Here are a few of the red tailed hawk photographs that I kept, and what I particularly liked about these photos. 

Have fun.  Oh, and this is a lot more fun than taking photos of animals in a zoo or otherwise in captivity..........at least for me.

First, I liked this one because it showed of its claws and was walking up the tree.
In general I would rather have a photo of a hawk in a tree than on the ground, but I liked the wings outstretched in this photo. 
This was a pretty easy choice. Who doesn't love a hawk turning his head around 180 degrees? 
Hawks can also look up!
This is also classic pose.  Furthermore, the hawk is in filtered sun, there are no limbs in the way, and there is decent bokeh (blur)  in the background.