Nature Notes

February 10, 2008

1. Be in the right place

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 9:07 am
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

1. Be in the right place

Find the place in your area that has a lot of targets for you, a spot where there are prey items that will attract raptors. Check with your local birding hot lines, read your area bird finding guidebook, or check with other birders. The more potential targets you have, the better. In my area of Southern Ontario, Canada, my regular spot is Haldiman and Norfolk counties. This is an ideal area containing wide open fields, high numbers of voles as prey and a low volume of road traffic.

Within your chosen area, certain portions will be more favored by different species of raptors. keep track in your area, and you will know where to head for a certain species.In Southern Ontario, Rough-legged Hawks and Northern Harriers like wide, open fields that they can work for prey. Red-tailed Hawks prefer open fields bordered by woods, and you will find them perched on these edge spots. American Kestrels like to have a series of perches such as power lines,they can move along checking for prey below. Short-eared Owls often have a daytime roost in an isolated evergreen grove.

Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index

 

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February 9, 2008

2. At the Right Time

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 9:36 am
Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus

2. At the right time

Bird photography is generally best in the early morning and winter raptors follow this pattern. Not only do the birds tend to be most active then, but the light is usually better. This is not to say that winter raptors may not be active through the rest of the day. Short-eared Owls are the exception, as they have a preference for hunting at twilight.

Many winter raptors seem to become less skittish as the temperature drops, no doubt a trade off based on energy. So if the weather man is calling for an extremely cold day, it could be the right time to photograph winter raptors.


Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus
Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus Rough-legged Hawk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Buteo lagopus

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index

 

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February 8, 2008

3. Your Mobile Blind

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 10:55 am
American Kestrel

American Kestrel, Falco sparverius

3. Your mobile blind

Your car can be an excellent part of your equipment, not only allowing you to move about the area picking up targets, but providing cover as well. Of course, birds see your vehicle but they have grown used to cars and don’t see them as threats as long as you remain inside. Sudden stops will spook them, so you need to develop the skill to slowly approach, and to get closer as they look away.It can take experience but you can become quite adept at it. It is especially helpful to have little or no other traffic in the area you are photographing in.


American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius American Kestrel, Falco sparverius

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index

 

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February 7, 2008

4. Know your Equipment

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 1:27 pm
Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus

4. Know your equipment

With changing light, and stationary targets which suddenly become moving ones, its very helpful to make camera adjustments on the fly.Ideally you want to be able to do so without looking at the readouts. Practice beforehand in making changes to exposure, shutter speed, and aperture will help you later in the field.


Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus
Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus Northern Harrier, Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index

 

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February 6, 2008

5. Know your targets

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 1:47 pm
Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus

5. Know your targets

Every species of raptor has particular traits and learning them will help you in photographing them. Some examples? Rough-legged Hawks rarely mind if you look directly at them but Red-tails are usually upset by eye contact.Many hawks evacuate just before they fly off. Red-tails have a particular hunching motion before they fly. Larger hawks fly off of a perch in the direction they are facing, so if you are behind they back when they are perched, you are not likely to get a good shot when they fly. With enough experience, you can anticipate their actions, whether still or in flight.


Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus
Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index

 

All Images are Available for Licensing at Singular Video&Pix

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February 5, 2008

7. A special technique

Filed under: Photography Tips — Tags: , , , , — Harold Stiver @ 10:18 am
Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

7. A special technique

If you look through the various images on this page, you will find a lot of birds in flight, and many of them were taken at full frame and close range. However it is very rare to have a raptor fly close enough to your camera in the normal course of things. The way that these shots were taken was by getting close to a sitting bird and getting the image when it eventually flies off. Before it does, you have time to set your exposure, speed, DOF, and focus. Since raptors usually spring up as they launch, you need to leave room at the top of the frame and this can be done by using your bottom focus point.


Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

Guide to Photographing Raptors Index


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