Immature Red-tailed Hawk Looking At The Rising Sun – Plus a New Personal Challenge

/, Red-tailed Hawks, Stansbury Mountains, Tooele County, Utah, West Desert/Immature Red-tailed Hawk Looking At The Rising Sun – Plus a New Personal Challenge

Immature Red-tailed Hawk looking at the rising sunImmature Red-tailed Hawk looking at the rising sun – Nikon D200, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 321mm, natural light, not baited

The wind is blowing hard outside because a weather front is coming in, that means we might get some rain tomorrow which we can always use here in Utah. In previous years we have already had snow in the valley by this time but this fall has been warmer than usual.

I dug way back into my archives and found this immature Red-tailed Hawk photo for my post today. I photographed this immature Red-tailed Hawk while in a canyon going up into the Stansbury Mountains as the bird looked into the rising sun.

This photo made me think about how for for years I have avoided photographing birds in this location because the sun rises south of the east-west road at this time of the year and the images can be contrasty at times, there can be extremes in the shadows of the mountains in the distance and the brightness of the sagebrush on the slopes can be too light. Light colors can easily be blown out when trying to get details in the darker colors, in other words getting the correct exposure there can be tricky, challenging and hard. I think I have wanted “perfect” lighting there and truth be told it just isn’t possible in that location for a variety of reasons.

I have wondered lately if I have gotten into a bit of a rut, photographically speaking, of always wanting to have the sun over my shoulder with “perfect” light falling directly on my subject.

I have found myself craving opportunities with my bird and wildlife subjects in side lighting, back lighting and rim lighting situations to name a few because I find there there is visual drama and appeal to that kind of lighting and those kinds of lighting conditions challenge me, make me think more carefully about my camera settings plus they allow me to expand my knowledge and skills as a photographer.  From now on I’m going to challenge myself to be more open to experimenting with light. Why? Because I don’t want to be in a rut, I want to grow.

No, make that I need to grow.

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte November 4, 2017 at 11:35 am

    A rugged and beautiful image Mia. Thanks.

  2. Elephants Child November 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    What a beauty.
    I love your courage in facing challenges and will be applauding loudly from here.

  3. Laura Culley November 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    It’s good to challenge yourself! It keeps your mind flexible and you learn new stuff 🙂
    This is a gorgeous image…and yes, you had me at redtail hawk. LOL!

  4. Patty Chadwick November 3, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Beautiful image….like the tangle of roots and the odd angle lighting on the bird. I have been experimenting with different lighting than the traditional over the left shoulder stuff,too…some of it has been very interesting…especially backlighting and side lighting…they tell a different story.

  5. April Olson November 3, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Change can be good, it helps us become more flexible to all conditions.

    Lovely photo.

  6. Glen Fox November 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Mia, I’m looking forward to more beautiful images. You are up to the challenges for sure. Good for you for stretching your creative self!

  7. Jerry Ellison November 3, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Mia, this one is a keeper. I really like the composition…the tangled old stump and the beautiful background coloration, unusual and beautiful! Most things in wildlife photography you can’t plan so we take what we get and once in a while ..hit a home run!!

  8. Kim November 3, 2017 at 6:33 am

    So beautiful!

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