I Would Love To Photograph THIS Red-tailed Hawk In Good Light Just Once

/, Box Elder County, Red-tailed Hawks, Utah/I Would Love To Photograph THIS Red-tailed Hawk In Good Light Just Once

Red-tailed Hawk lifting off in poor lightRed-tailed Hawk lifting off in poor light – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 1600, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve photographed this particular Red-tailed Hawk before and shared it on a post titled “Cruddy Light, Cloudy Skies Plus a Red-tailed Hawk“where I bemoaned the cruddy light, slow shutter speed and the cloudy skies that didn’t show up on three different radar/satellite images that hung around and practically ruined the morning near the end of March.

So I was in the same area yesterday morning, saw the same red-tailed Hawk and had very similar conditions because of clouds hanging over the mountains to the east that were blocking the sun. I could see clearer skies to the north but not on this bird. I could see clearer skies to the south but not on this bird.

This particular Red-tailed Hawk has such a striking appearance and not one of the photos I have taken of it thus far show just how freaking gorgeous it actually is. I could share more images of this hawk that I took yesterday here this morning but what is the sense of doing that when none of them are up to my standards or do this bird justice?

Since I have seen this handsome Red-tailed Hawk several times now; and I do know it is the same bird because it is so striking, I will simply have to try to photograph it again and hope that the bird photography gods bestow me with better light, some marginally decent light or even the perfect “golden light” that I’m always seeking.

I cursed those clouds that blocked the sun more than once yesterday, I’m cursing them this morning. Bird photography isn’t easy and there are plenty of frustrations to deal with as a bird photographer. Or so I’ve heard.

Life is good.



  1. Diane McPherson April 2, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    It’s a stunning picture none the less.

  2. Laura Culley April 2, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    As I mentioned to Ron, I’ll send you guys some good sunshine juju! I want to see this beautiful girl in the sunlight, too. I’m a fool for redtails in general, but the rufous and dark (Harlan’s) morphs make my heart sing!

  3. Elephants Child April 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Both you and Ron are getting a touch greedy. Which I sooooo understand.
    Even in cruddy light that looks to be one phenomenally beautiful bird.

  4. David Schoen April 2, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Cloudy weather isn’t always the best for avian photography but it does have its advantages with respect to a better histogram, no shadow interference and uniform color distribution. While you typically have 300 plus days of sunshine per year, we in the Pacific Northwest have 300 days of overcast conditions. I noticed you were shooting at iso 1600 in the Red Tail image. I regularly shoot at iso 5000 with my D500 and have excellent results. I do process images over iso 1250 with DxO Photo Lab which does an amazing job of noise reduction. I also use low level fill flash. Check out some of my mid winter images on NPN.

  5. Pepe Forte April 2, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Beautiful shot Mia. Speaking as a novice…I actually prefer the muted light. I think it makes the hawk stand out more distinctly. You can sense his power. Thanks.

  6. Patty Chadwick April 2, 2018 at 8:47 am

    “Little brother” to the Golden eagle….you can clearly see why….

    • Laura Culley April 2, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      Patty, that’s SO true!! We are SO lucky to have redtail hawks here. They’re outrageously wonderful. And now, I must feed Mariah–she’s telling me to get on the job now!

      • Diane McPherson April 2, 2018 at 9:46 pm

        Is she giving you the Stink Eye Laura?

        • Laura Culley April 2, 2018 at 10:49 pm

          Stink eye AND a stern dismissal. I love that old girl 😉

  7. Jane Chesebrough April 2, 2018 at 8:07 am

    He is a handsome Red-tailed Hawk.I am happy to see this and trust you will get what you want.

  8. Liz Cormack April 2, 2018 at 7:25 am

    I agree with Kim. The day will come and you will get your perfect photo of this Red-tailed Hawk. I just know it.

  9. kim April 2, 2018 at 6:19 am

    If only I could snap a shot of this beautiful hawk in cruddy light like this! Great image nonetheless!

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