Red-tail Hawk with Prey

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Warning!: Some may find these images too graphic!

While birding a couple of weeks ago in the Sacramento Valley we spotted this Red-tail Hawk having lunch on a levy about 25-30ft away from us.  It spotted us too.  It didn’t like the way we kept staring while it was trying to eat so…
Red tail Hawk with meal

…it picked up its meal…

Red-tailed Hawk with Prey in Flight

…and flew to a tree stump that offered a bit more privacy.

Red tail with prey on tree stump

We watched it eat for a couple of minutes then slowly drove away leaving it to enjoy its meal.

The second image with the Red-tail in flight has a bit of motion blur. I was hand-holding the lens and not used to its weight and think it was me being a wobbly rather than a slight pan.  The eye is pretty sharp, and the blur gives it a sense of movement I like enough to save, and share it.

I was also racked out to 500mm and I didn’t frame up the shot giving the bird enough room to fly out of the frame, so I extended the canvas a bit then added in some of the background to give the bird some room to fly out of the frame, and fix the composition.  There’s a learning curve to  all new lenses; getting used to the weight, and bulkiness -it’s a chubby lens, and framing with it will be what I strive to master in the coming years.

I liked the lens so much I bought one right after I returned the rental lens.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR (rental lens)| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

22 thoughts on “Red-tail Hawk with Prey

  1. Awesome captures Deborah, while sometimes seeing things happen in nature can seem quite cruel but that is just the way of the world. I think you will enjoy your new lens and am looking forward to seeing more of your images from it.

    1. So true Harold! Thank you for the comment. I am loving the lens so far.
      Today while out birding the AF motor on my D300s died! The D500 can’t get here soon enough! I don’t think it’s worth repairing now. It’s retired now. I’ll teach #1 Grandson how photography with it as a Manual Focus “old school” camera.

  2. Awesome photos :-)! The first pose is great with the eye, turn of the head and those super cool leg feathers. The flying shot is beautiful. You added the left side with Photoshop? It looks perfect. Ahh… the privacy of a curtain of branches!

    1. Thank you so much Myriam for the lovely comments on each image!
      Yes, I added about an inch on the left side. If you pixel peep you’ll definitely notice it was added. There was cloning work needed too and I’m not really good at that.

      Smart to find that stump wasn’t it. 🙂

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