So I’ve been tracking this red-tailed hawk for days, and for days he has avoided a successful capture of his image. Today was no different… as I pulled my truck into the trailhead parking lot I spotted the familiar fellow perched on a perfect power pole for a picture. His favorite pole is in a place where I can’t get close to him without climbing down in a hole and shooting straight up. If I climb the hill on the other side, the early morning light is shining on the opposite side and I’m only going to get a silhouette.
Today he was on a higher pole in a place where the trail approaches high from the southeast where he was in good light, and even better conditions if he took flight in his usual direction. He waited patiently while I climbed the hill and sat down in an advantageous position to prepare for the image. I pre-focused my 400mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter attached and perfected the exposure. I sat and watched for a few minutes while snapping a couple of stills until he began to fluff his feathers in preparation for flight. I was totally ready when he took flight, exactly in the opposite direction, away from the light and directly behind a mass of power lines. foiled again 🙁
I completed my hike over the summit without seeing any more birds close enough to photograph and headed on into Victor to check on the art gallery and then over to the Gold Camp Bakery for coffee and a muffin and a sandwich for lunch later on. A quick pass through Goldfield yielded nothing so I decided to give it up and head for home. But as I neared the trailhead parking again I once again spotted my nemesis in an even more advantageous position!
So I pulled in, attached the 2x teleconverter for an even closer view, and made my way slowly toward the formidable raptor. I assumed he would allow me to get a bit closer before taking flight so I didn’t pre-focus or get my exposure parameters ready. I looked up and spotted the great bird looking right at me when suddenly he took flight and dove straight at me in perfect light. My decision to use the 2x proved unfortunate as my frame was so small and focus so far out that I was unable to get him in the frame. I quickly adjusted my focal length so as to get him in the frame, but by then he was circling overhead mocking me 🙁 He made several passes over me to take a good look but overhead captures are never going to equal a head on pass at close range.
In reality… the bird gave me every chance to get the picture this time and I blew it. Oh well… tomorrow is another day!
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