Western Meadowlark lift off

Western Meadowlark lifting offWestern Meadowlark lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

This Western Meadowlark image was taken last month on Antelope Island State Park. I meant to post it earlier but forgot because I got so busy trying to set up my new computer. Life outside of bird photography does get in the way at times.

If you have ever tried to photograph a Western Meadowlark in flight or lifting off you probably know they are very fast and that it is a challenge because of their speed. I should have bumped my ISO up to get a faster shutter speed when I took this image to freeze the action of the wings but I’ve also grown to appreciate how a touch of blur can add a sense of movement to an image like this. The face, bill and eye are sharp and in my opinion that is what is most critical.

I feel fortunate to have the opportunities to photograph Western Meadowlarks here year round.



  1. Merrill Ann Gonzales December 18, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Oh, Mia, What a beauty! I will never ever be able to come to a meadowlark in my own life, but your photo leave little that I will miss except its marvelous song. This photo reveals so much about the bird, its structure, it’s movement… it’s stunning beauty. So many thanks I can’t count them!

    • Mia McPherson December 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Thank you Merrill, I can’t help but “hear” the song of a Meadowlark when I look at images of them. I truly hope you get to see one soon.

  2. Wally December 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Really nice! Every time I see a Meadowlark around here, he has a little rocket attached to his back and I know my frame will be empty by the time I press the shutter release! 🙂

    • Mia McPherson December 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      I found the Eastern Meadowlarks difficult to photograph while I was in Florida. I too think they have a little rocket attached to them and when they see a camera lens they rocket out of sight!

  3. M. Firpi December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

    A poster print, I really like the colors and the wing outstretching.

  4. Julie G. December 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

    A most exquisite photograph of this beautiful Western Meadowlark! There is great motion captured here, Mia! Cool springing motion of the feet and wing position.

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Thank you Julie, I always hope to get a decent image when they lift off but they are so fast that sometimes all I see in the frame is their tail!

  5. Rohrerbot December 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

    This is awesome Mia! Nice shot of a beautiful bird!

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Thank you Chris, they are beautiful birds!

  6. Syl Lobato December 18, 2012 at 8:33 am

    There is a noted oil painter from Germany, Schwartz, who specialized in nothing but wildlife. My favorite piece (loved them all) was a pair of whistling swans, and the head, bills and eyes were painted with great detail, the wings were a blur of color and motion. The photo is so fabulous for you to have captured the essence of flight. Good Shot…

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

      The painting you describe sounds wonderful Syl! Thanks so much for your supportive comment on this image.

  7. Bob Bushell December 18, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Doesn’t that brings tears to your eyes, fantastic Lark photos.

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Thank you Bob, you are very kind!

  8. Sherry in MT December 18, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I don’t think you got too much blur at all and am so jealous you still have meadowlarks. They are our harbengers of spring and are gone quite quickly. I’ve gotten them sitting still but never taking off so I love this shot….look at those long skinny “chicken legs” – LOL

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Thanks Sherry, your comment about “chicken legs” had me laughing because that is what they look like in this pose. It gets so much colder in Montana than here most of the time so I can see why they need to leave just to find food. But, I’ll send some your ay this coming spring!

  9. Bob Zeller December 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Excellent shot of the take-off,Mia.

    • Mia McPherson December 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

      Thanks Bob, these lift off shots are fun.

  10. judy watson December 18, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I love the meadowlarks!

  11. Susan December 18, 2012 at 6:52 am

    What an awesome capture of a beautiful bird, I love the wing position and the way the Meadowlark nearly fills the frame:)

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