Intermediate Morph Swainson’s Hawk In Flight

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Intermediate morph Swainson's Hawk in flight with mountains in the background, Box Elder County, UtahIntermediate morph Swainson’s Hawk in flight with mountains in the background – Nikon D500, f9, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last week I was able to photograph several Swainson’s Hawks, some perched and others while in flight and of the flight photos I liked this photo the most because of the mountains in the background. The mountains anchor the photo and provide visual interest even though they are out of focus.

I did make a few mistakes with my settings while taking this photo though. This was taken right after I arrived at my location, I hadn’t checked my aperture setting and given the lighting conditions I would not normally have been at f9, typically I start off the day at f6.3 or f7.1 and adjust it as I need to during the day. I would have had more shutter speed if I had had the time to make the adjustment and because I didn’t my shutter speed was slow and there is a lot of motion blur in the wing tips of this hawk in this photo.  I kind of like the motion blur though so I am not going to sweat the small things.

I do like the way the Swainson’s Hawk appears to be looking at something high in the sky, the light and how nicely lit the hawk is.

Hoping to see more of these hawks soon!

Life is good.



  1. Elephants Child April 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    What a privilege to see. And yes, motion blur rarely offends me. It so often captures the moment.

  2. Patty Chadwick April 26, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Not being a photogeek, I like this image because the angle of the bird,the arch of the wings and the feather details, and the lighting really appeal to me….

  3. Jorge H. Oliveira April 26, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for showing your mistake and why you did it.

    You start with f/6.3 because you have the TC on? And by the way do you use Auto ISO?

    I apologize for the geekiness.

    • Patty Chadwick April 26, 2018 at 8:56 am

      I can almost see the finish line…can’t wait!!!

  4. Bob mcpherson April 26, 2018 at 5:35 am

    Nice photo, Mia.

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