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Old Apr 10, 2011, 8:26 PM   #1
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Default More Cooper's Hawks. . . now at 714mm. . .

Hi All,

Had good weather here, high 70's mostly sunny, so I went out to see if yesterday's Cub Scouts had driven the Cooper's Hawks away from their nest. Happily, they didn't.

When I arrived, I could see that one of the pair was in the nest. I took some time to try to more accurately guesstimate the distance and height of the nest. My original estimate of about 100 feet away was probably pretty accurate, but I now think that the nest is more like 65-70 feet up in the tree. I'm pretty much locked into this distance since there really is no better vantage point where I'd have a chance to see anyone in the nest and the clearest sight-line without too many intervening branches.

After about 10 minutes, the one in the nest took off and I could hear it in the distance, but was surprised to hear an answer from the opposite direction, closer to my location. Of course, I had to look in the direction of the sun to locate the mate, and though there's no foliage emerging yet, it was difficult, but I did find it, and it was obviously having some lunch. I just focused as well as I could and started shooting, varying the Ev comp to try to get something exposed close to correctly.

I used the K-5 and added a Tamron 1.4x AF TC to the 1.7x AFA for 714mm
f10.7. It actually was capable of AF with the high contrast, but handholding this long a lens means that AF is iffy because it's difficult for the AF sensor to lock with the amount of movement in the VF at 714mm. I didn't drag the tripod and big glass along because I wasn't sure that the hawks hadn't abandoned the nest, but I'll probably bring these for future shooting here.

Just two pics from this set, both are 8x10 crops at about 2500 pixels on the long side, so are roughly 1/4 frame crops. In #2, the hawk had apparently finished lunch, and to minimize the gruesome factor, I cropped out the remains except for the leg in the bottom left corner. It was apparently a chick with relatively long legs for its size.

From a photographic standpoint, #2 was one of the underexposed shots. The sky was going to get blown out anyway, facing the sun like this, but I wanted to see if I could get some color and detail instead of just a silhouette of the bird. Despite the smaller apertures used, both of these had significant CA/PF, which I corrected manually. The FA* 300/4.5 controls these pretty well, but each of the TCs probably adds a little more while magnifying the small amount from the lens.

I was also gratified to see a few Jumping Spiders at the Nature Center. I didn't bring the macro stuff, but will see how the K-5 works for this on the next warm day.

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Last edited by snostorm; Apr 10, 2011 at 8:28 PM.
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Old Apr 11, 2011, 3:56 AM   #2
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Interesting story - tough conditions. I want to see the gruesome bits !

Huge nest for that size bird - though I was reading up on eagles yesterday and saw that a Golden Eagle nest was found that was 6 metres deep and 2.5 metres across !!
Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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