More Red-shouldered Hawks

Last night I was searching my archives for some wintering bird photos that was requested by one of my readers. Did not find the ones I was looking for (will continue my search later), but I did find a couple more Red-shouldered Hawk images that I thought I’d share today (if you missed my other RS hawk post, you can see it here: “Red-shouldered Hawk”.

Both of today’s images were made at one of my favorite places to photograph whenever I’m in Florida … Myakka River State Park, located on the Gulf Coast side of Florida, not far from Sarasota. The Red-shouldered hawks here are ridiculously tame (which I found out after I grabbed these quick shots):

Red-shouldered Hawk in tree

Red-shouldered Hawk in tree

Which one do you like the best? I love the eye contact of the first photo, but I think the second one is a better overall photo. Why? Because of the busy and distracting in the top image. As you can clearly see, the top image has a lot of light colored palm branches that are reflecting a lot of mid-day sunlight. What could I have done to eliminate this distraction? For one, I could have tried moving a bit to my left or right, to try to find a place where the background was not so bright. But this being my first exposure (no pun intended) to these hawks, I was not aware they were so “tame” and I certainly didn’t want to frighten them. So I make a couple of images and backed away. Given the same situation and knowing what I know today, I’d try to move a bit … in a slow and calculating manner, to try to get a better background. When I teach photography classes, this is always a good example I use to support my “the background is often as important, if not more, than your subject”.

Photo Equipment Used:

(Top Photo)

  • Canon 1D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 540mm
  • Handheld
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

(Bottom Photo)

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 540mm
  • Handheld
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/10
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

One other thing … whenever I visit Myakka River SP, I always try to reserve one of their cabins:

Myakka River State Park cabin

These cabins were built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. using cabbage palm trunks and chinking with tar and sawdust. They don’t have amenities of home (tv, radio), but a few conveniences have been added. The cabins now have a small heater/air conditioner, an electric stove, microwave oven, refrigerator, and a bathroom with a shower. The cabins have 2 double beds and a sofa bed, and a dining table and chairs. Linens and kitchen utensils are provided. If you walk out the back door, and keep walking, you will run into the Myakka River, about 50 yards or so away. I vividly remember my first stay in one of these cabins. As I explored, I walked onto the back deck and the first thing I saw was an alligator slowly floating down the river!






Posted in Bird Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Tips, Travel Photography
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