This past September I spotted an adult Red-tailed Hawk perched high on a rocky canyon wall as it looked out over the cold waters of Elk Lake in Beaverhead County, Montana. The light wasn’t great but by focusing on the hawk and avoiding having the bright sky in my frame I was able to get a nice exposure that didn’t have blown whites and one where fine detail shows in the dark plumage of the hawk. I could have easily passed up taking this image because of the lighting challenges but I am glad I didn’t because I actually enjoy the textures and shapes contained in this rocky setting and the pose of the Red-tailed Hawk.
As I processed this file I noticed that there is a cone from some type of conifer by the feet of this hawk. The cone may have been entangled in the hawks plumage from another location because there weren’t any coniferous trees in that general area. I didn’t see the Red-tailed Hawk fly off though so I can’t be sure that it was stuck to the hawk. One of nature’s mysteries I suppose.
Elk Lake in Beaverhead County, Montana is located in the northeast section of the Centennial Valley and on two sides it has rocky canyon walls.