Red-tailed Hawk lifting off

Red-tailed Hawk lifting offRed-tailed Hawk lifting off – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Lately it has been wonderful to see and photograph more birds including raptors. I think the long dry spell that started the end of July might be over finally. The number of Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks is increasing at Farmington Bay WMA and I suspect it won’t be long before I see the first Bald Eagle sitting on the bleached out bones of what we locals call the “Eagle Tree”.

This Red-tailed Hawk has been hanging around Goose Egg Island the past couple of times I have been able to get out shooting and she is definitely a beauty. I wish the out of focus grasses at the bottom of the frame weren’t there but I was delighted to get this lift off shot that shows the wonderful and striking pattern under the wings.

I have been thoroughly enjoying my Nikon D810, it focuses very quickly and produces lovely images. This image was taken in  FX mode (full frame) because I was too close to use DX (cropped) mode and I did not have time to take my tele-converter off and I can quickly switch from DX to FX.

With any luck I will have many more opportunities to photograph this hawk throughout the winter.

Life is good.



  1. John Fox (omnitrigger) October 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Wonderful shot of this Dark Morph Mia! How long ago did you upgrade to the D810? When shooting sequences how many frames per second does this body shoot? Great to hear that it focuses so quickly. I’m running an old D90 and am looking to upgrade soon. It’s focus is so slow and FPS is weak. Your work is wonderful, your photostream is so good. Best always.

    • Mia McPherson October 31, 2014 at 3:49 am

      John, I got the D810 the end of August and I am loving it. I get 6 frames per second in DX mode which I wish were faster but I can get nearly 60 shots before my buffer starts to fill unlike the D7100 which started to bog down after only about 7 – 10. I held out as long as I could on upgrading but I am glad I did.

  2. Jolanta October 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Beautiful shot! Thank you 🙂

  3. Elephant's Child October 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    WHAT a beauty. And I love her britches too…

  4. CJ Oakley October 30, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Mia – this is an amazing capture – what power this bird is displaying in this shot… I wish I had your photographic talent…the feather detail is fantastic and until you mentioned it I hadn’t noticed the blurry grasses in the foreground 🙂

  5. Ian Holland October 30, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Absolutely fantastic shot! Congratulations!

  6. Glen Fox October 30, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Gorgeous bird and gorgeous image Mia. Yes, your ability to switch between DX and FX mode is like having a zoom lens. A very nice feature indeed when working with a long, fixed-focal length lens. I’m sure you miss the zoom capabilities of your trusty 200-400mm.

    • Mia McPherson October 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Thanks Glen.

      I do miss having the zoom capabilities of the 200-400mm lens but I love having the option of switching from FX to DX and being able to take the TC off too.

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