Adult Swainson’s Hawk in Golden Light

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Swainson's Hawk in Golden LightSwainson’s Hawk in Golden Light – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I often write about how I prefer to photograph my subjects in “sweet light” which means not long after sunrise or just before sunset. This image of a Swainson’s Hawk in golden light was taken not long after the sun rose and I love how the light seems to make the hawk glow. It would not have glowed like this if the image had been taken even 30 minutes later.

The hawk was perched on a fence post next to a road and I was only able to get a few frames of it because a log truck was coming from behind.

The white spot on its forehead appears to be a small white feather, I am not sure if the feather belongs to the hawk or if it just some how was stuck on its forehead. It might be a feather from its chin? One of life’s little mysteries.

Life is good.




  1. Mia McPherson June 3, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Thanks for all your comments!

  2. Utahbooklover June 3, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Yes, the light makes all the difference, like magic. Thanks for the beautiful image.

  3. Peter Kummerfeldt June 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    .G’day Mia – My wife and I will be staying in Ogden for a couple of days next week and would like to visit Antelope Island and the Migratory Bird Refuge to photograph birds primarily. Never been there before. Would you have any suggestions on where to go and what to do?

    • Mia McPherson June 3, 2016 at 5:50 am

      Peter, I am away from Utah at the moment, posting from the wilderness so I don’t have much time to reply. My suggestion would be to do a search on my site (search box on the right sidebar) using the terms Antelope Island Birds and Bear River Migratory Refuge Birds, that should pull up plenty of information!

  4. Elephant's Child June 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Warm and beautiful.

  5. Patty Chadwick June 2, 2016 at 7:38 am

    A beautiful, serene image captured in soft, golden early morning light…beautiful!

  6. Bob McPherson June 2, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Beautiful photo Mia.

  7. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver June 2, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Mia, thanks for these images of Swainson’s Hawk. Being an easterner means we don’t see Swainson’s Hawks, but I’m on always looking on forays west and have been lucky to see them occasionally from Colorado down to Arizona. All those past encounters come to mind this morning!

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