Where is the light when you want it? Yesterday it was hiding behind the clouds and lake fog when I spotted this Peregrine Falcon at a close distance, on prey and sticky. The frustrations of being a bird photographer were glaringly apparent to me yesterday morning. Curses!

Peregrine Falcon on top of prey

 Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) on top of prey ~ Davis County, Utah
Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/160, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited or set up

I was the closest I have ever been to a wild Peregrine Falcon yesterday but I felt my heart sink knowing that the light was not going to be in my favor. There were no visible openings in the clouds. And it there it was on prey too!

Since moving to Utah and being faced with more low light situations than I ever had in Florida, I have had plenty of practice learning the techniques required for when the light just will not cooperate. So I just attempted to do my best with the light that I had.

I had 27 minutes with this Peregrine Falcon so I played with many different settings, changed my ISO for faster shutter speeds, adjusted my exposure compensation and my aperture trying to get sharp, interesting images of this young falcon.

I watched and photographed the falcon tearing into the Northern Shoveler beneath it, there were feathers flying everywhere and unfortunately there just wasn’t enough light to capture that action even at ISO 1600, all I got were blurry feathers floating softly towards the ground.

I also observed the falcon’s crop growing larger and larger as it ate.

Peregrine Falcon removing intestines of its prey

 Peregrine Falcon removing intestines of its prey ~Davis County, Utah
Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/320, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

I could barely detect a catchlight in the falcon’s eyes because the rays of the cold looking barely touched the eyes but despite the low light of the barely visible sun I kept right on shooting and hoping I’d get a few images of this beautiful bird worth saving.

I did get those images but; oh, what I would have given for the sweet light just after dawn. Perhaps another time.

Mia