Adult Turkey Vulture in flight close up – Almost Too close

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Turkey Vulture in flight close upTurkey Vulture in flight close up – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I wanted to process quite a few of the images of the mating and nest building Red-tailed Hawks I photographed two days ago in northern Utah last evening but things got in the way, like they always seem to do.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I saw several Turkey Vultures, some of those birds were in flight too far away to take images of them but there were three on a grassy slope that were on the ground that I could take photos of. The grass the vultures were on was so green, spring green, the kind of green that makes you aware that even if it snows again spring is here to stay. I really didn’t care much for those images though because behind the birds there were bright, nearly white exposed stems of rabbitbrush that seemed to draw my attention away from the vultures, but perhaps I am too picky and should review those photos more carefully before I toss them into my delete bin.

I was at f16, 1/200 when the first of the three vultures took flight, my shutter speed was way too slow to capture that vulture taking off in focus and sharp, I’d set my aperture at f16 trying to get all three birds in focus while they were on the ground. I quickly changed my aperture and while I did that the second vulture took flight and I missed that take off but I was ready when the third vulture took to the air.

When the third Turkey vulture lifted off I expected it to go north like the other two vultures had but instead it flew south and very close to where I was at the side of the road in a vehicle being used as a mobile blind, almost too close. This photo is full frame top to bottom, I did crop some off of the right side of the frame because I felt the vulture was too centered and by cropping some off that side it gives the illusion of the vulture having more space on the left side of the frame to “virtually” fly into. Had this vulture been any closer I would have clipped its wings which I did in a few other frames. I liked the sagebrush on the hillside in the background, the raised wing and the nice eye contact.

Even though I missed the shots of the first two vultures taking flight I’m happy that I was ready when the third one flew in front of me.

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte April 15, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Whenever I see one of your marvelous vulture pics…I always go a bit Jurassic crazy. Vultures just seem so primeval it is not hard for me to make the “dino to bird” leap. Fun stuff…Thanks.

  2. Marty K April 11, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Gorgeous bird — that wingspan! Happy sigh…

  3. Elephants Child April 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Not too close at all – and a fabulous shot.

  4. Tim Derry April 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Once had a Golden come within 2 ft of my head when it took off, I flattened myself on the ground dropping my camera. What a way to lose a shot!

  5. Laura Culley April 11, 2018 at 8:42 am

    How beautiful! Oh how I love vultures and will often stop to watch them soar, just for fun! Thank you!

  6. Liz Cormack April 11, 2018 at 8:14 am


  7. Patty Chadwick April 11, 2018 at 7:23 am

    WOW!!! What a great shot!!!

  8. Bob mcpherson April 11, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Cool pics, Mia.

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