High key Red-tailed Hawk juvenile

High Key Red-tailed Hawk juvenileHigh Key Red-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, +2.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

There is more fresh snow on the ground this morning with more predicted throughout the day so I am glad that I got out to Antelope Island State Park and Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area yesterday. The light was delightful on Antelope Island yesterday morning but it has been terribly slow there for months as far as bird photography so other than a few snowy Common Raven images the island was pretty much a bust.

After heading south to Farmington Bay WMA the “sweet” light disappeared because of the clouds overhead. Farmington Bay looked so strange to me yesterday because the ice and snow had nearly flattened all the phragmites and I could see farther into the marsh than I have ever been able to. There weren’t as many birds flying about as usual so I was happy to spot a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on a post that was drying itself off after diving into the snow for prey. The young hawk flew from the post to the top of a nest box and preened for a little while before it lifted off and chased some thing to the west but came up with empty talons.

This Red-tailed Hawk image was taken just after the juvenile lifted off from the nest box and while I love the pose I do wish the light had been a bit better. The high key effect happened in this case because of clouds and that virtually everything in the background was covered in snow.



  1. Bryce December 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I love the “high key” look Mia. It makes the details really pop. What a fierce looking bird! Just as Jerry says, you nailed it!

  2. Utahbooklover December 22, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Nice image Mia. I agree with Jerry, the light is perfect. Friday around noon (Dec.20) I was in Bountiful and saw hundreds of crows flying in a SE direction — what a sight to see. I never see that many in Brigham City.

  3. Sonja Ross December 22, 2013 at 12:19 am

    That’s a great position you’ve captured.

  4. Elephant's Child December 21, 2013 at 10:48 am

    How very, very beautiful.

  5. jerry liguori December 21, 2013 at 8:04 am

    That light is perfect, I sometimes prefer it since most people put their cameras away when the sun goes in. But you just shot like a pro and nailed this one

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