A Christmas Day snow storm and a Red-tailed Hawk

/, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Red-tailed Hawks, Utah/A Christmas Day snow storm and a Red-tailed Hawk

A Christmas Day snow storm and a Red-tailed HawkA Christmas Day snow storm and a Red-tailed Hawk – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/5000, ISO 2500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited.

I did wake up this Christmas morning to snow-covered ground so I got my wish for a white Christmas. The other events that made my day perfect were talking to my mom, my sons, sharing great company and being out in the field photographing birds on Christmas morning, a tradition for me. I simply couldn’t be any happier.

Towards the end of my time in the field this morning I spotted a gorgeous Red-tailed Hawk in a tree at quite a distance. I kept thinking “I wish the bird were closer” because it was so far away. It was snowing hard at the time and even though the hawk was way out I photographed it as the snow blew around the bird and also around me. Still I kept thinking that I wished it were closer.

Then I noticed the Red-tailed Hawk getting ready to lift off and as it did I fired my shutter not really expecting anything worth keeping. The light was low, the snow was blowing, I had bumped my ISO up to 2500 which is pretty high and I figured I’d look at the frames and be disappointed.

That was until I pulled this frame up on my monitor at home.

I love the mood it conveys, the falling snow, the trees in the distant background and the pose of the hawk. For me it couldn’t be any more perfect.

And you know what? I’m glad the hawk wasn’t any closer or I would have missed out on exactly this image that I will always remember was created on this Christmas Day.

Life is amazing.

Happy Holidays everyone.



  1. Utahbooklover December 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Wonderful image Mia. Good that you got in touch with your family. It’s those little things that mean a lot and at the root of a happy Christmas. I also had that blessing and the white Christmas was the frosting on the cake!

  2. Mary McAvoy December 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Merry Christmas! So beautiful!

  3. Humming Bird Lover December 26, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Hi! wunderbar! wonderful! Was so happy you had snow! In my heart I knew I was there with you’s! Seeing all the wonderful birds and smelling the snow,too. Glad your day was so great. Have a great day today shooting! Was sunny and NO birds here Christmas day! Went to friends for dinner! Lily Fixed a french style Lamb,Polish Perogies(Potato & Cheese, Broccoli and had a German type Raspberry tort was so good

  4. Fern Culhane December 26, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Hello Mia,
    I thought of you immediately when I saw SLC and snow listed on the crawl at the Weather Channel two days ago! What an amazing image you captured! I had a feeling there would be something magical for you on Christmas day!

    • Mia McPherson December 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Fern, it was magical. Thank you!

  5. Donna Buckley December 26, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this glorious image! Congratulations on your skill and your good fortune. Wishing you a very happy New Year, and many wonderful photo opportunities.

    • Mia McPherson December 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you Donna, I wish the very best for you in 2015!

  6. Nancy Collins December 26, 2014 at 6:00 am

    What a beautiful Christmas memory for you Mia! Great shot! Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Mia McPherson December 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      It sure is a beautiful Christmas memory Nancy, thanks for commenting.

  7. Mark Amershek December 26, 2014 at 3:55 am

    A beautiful holiday gift! Thank you Mia for sharing this mystic view.

  8. Tom Redd December 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Merry Christmas Mia, thank you for sharing your talents and photos. It was nice to meet you and Ron today. Wishing you a happy New Year!

    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Merry Christmas Tom, it was wonderful to meet you today too. I hope today was productive for you.

      Happy New Year!

  9. Elephant's Child December 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Amazing. I am so glad that your Christmas wishes were realised.

  10. George Welch December 25, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    It is not often that you encounter a perfect image…this is one.

    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Thanks George, I consider that high praise.

  11. Jo December 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Beautiful image, glad you got your snow. I shared this and my friends are enjoying it too.

    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Jo, and thanks for sharing this too.

  12. Eve Ross December 25, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    just wonderful image. We had light snow here but didn’t see birds today – a lovely hawk yesterday though. Stunning shot thanks for posting it!

    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you Eve. This is a gorgeous hawk.

  13. John Randall December 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Beautifully photographed and stated Mia. Thank you and Merry christmas to you and yours!!

    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you so much John. Merry Christmas to you and yours and the best for the New Year.

  14. Ken December 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    WOW! How did you manage to focus on the hawk and not on all of the snow?


    • Mia McPherson December 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      It wasn’t easy Ken, several times I couldn’t focus at all and a few times my camera wouldn’t fire because it wasn’t locked on. But it locked on when it counted the most in my opinion!

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