Side lit American Kestrel

American Kestrel maleAmerican Kestrel male- Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/125, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light not baited

I came across this American Kestrel image yesterday while moving images to a new external hard drive and realized I hadn’t edited any of the photos in the series yet, so I did. This was taken in the winter of 2010.

The light wasn’t the best because it didn’t illuminate the bird’s front as well as I would have liked but some rules are meant to be broken.  I like how the falcon is lit from the side and back. The background isn’t sky, it is the snow-covered Wasatch Range that is still partly in the shadows.



  1. Mia McPherson March 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    My sincere thanks to everyone who left a comment, I’ve gotten behind on replying.

  2. Humming Bird lover March 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Hi! Have always loved this bird! We called it a sparrow hawk when I was growing up! Great image and colors! Have a great day.

  3. Ken Schram March 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Beautiful, Mia. Another wall-worthy photo!

  4. M. Firpi March 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    What a great portrait. This is one of those centred framed shots that defy all the rules!

  5. Prairie Birder March 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Very pretty, Mia!

  6. Susan March 12, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Awesome, what a beauty, makes my day:)

  7. Azstu March 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Another one of your images that starts my day with a smile. very sweet shot.

  8. Sherry in MT March 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Mia, I really love the lighting on this bird actually probably better than totally front lit. It helps define the puffy feathers more I think. Great shot!

  9. Wally March 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I’m with you, Mia. Love the effect of the back/side light. It seems to enhance the “softness” of the feathers.

  10. Bob Bushell March 12, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Wow, that is far out, very good Mia.

  11. eric c11 March 12, 2013 at 6:48 am

    a wonderfull pose with feathers puffed
    very nice shot
    good job mia ☺

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