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Old Jan 13, 2013, 9:50 PM   #1
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Default 3 Different Raptors

Sharp-shinned Hawk
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 9:51 PM   #2
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Peregrine Falcon
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 9:59 PM   #3
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Juvenile Bald Eagle
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 1:21 PM   #4
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Plus one extra. This is a very young juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk.
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Old Jan 14, 2013, 1:21 PM   #5
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:36 PM   #6
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Nice captures on those, Steve
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 9:09 AM   #7
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great shots as always smac, you have any tips on getting these raptors?
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:41 AM   #8
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Nice captures on those, Steve
Thank you Steven, I appreciate your compliment.

Cheers
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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great shots as always smac, you have any tips on getting these raptors?

Thanks for taking the time to have a look and your nice comment.

I am very fortunate in as much as I live smack in the middle of the Pacific fly way for migrating water fowl. The Central Valley is covered with thousands of square miles of rice fields, a perfect habitat for the water fowl once they arrive. There are several National Wildlife refuges within an hours drive of my house. This particular one is the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. They have a six mile auto tour around part of the refuge. If you stay in your car it makes a perfect blind. The birds all get used to the constant traffic and will stay put for the most part. This allows for the amazing opportunity to capture the birds natural behaviors. All of these shots were taking from inside my truck on the auto tour. I rest my camera on a photo bean bag that lays across the partially rolled down window. It makes a very steady and solid base from which to shoot.
Now that I have described all of that, how does that help you? Not being familiar with your area I guess I would, first, suggest you get in contact with any local bird groups or Audubon societies and find out where the good birding locations are. A very long lens is also pretty much a must. 300mm minimum, the longer the better. I started with a Tarmon 200-500mm zoom on my Nikon and it gave excellent results at about $1000. I have since saved for a couple of years and now used a Nikon 200-400mm VR with a 1.4 tele-extender for most of my shots. This ain't cheap or easy. Out of every shot I post I probably take another 50-100 that I delete. Keep some kind of camera with you at all times, if possible. It is a game of patience and opportunity. Slow and methodical advancement, major disappointment when the target flys off before you get the shot. However, getting that one shot for the day makes it all worth it. And every day is different. That's what keeps me coming back. I never know what will show up or when I will capture that amazing photo. So, stay with it. Learn to recognize behaviors of the birds you are stalking. And most importantly, enjoy what you are doing. When it becomes work, it isn't worth showing up.
Good luck and keep shooting, it takes time.

Cheers, Steve
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smac View Post
Thanks for taking the time to have a look and your nice comment.

I am very fortunate in as much as I live smack in the middle of the Pacific fly way for migrating water fowl. The Central Valley is covered with thousands of square miles of rice fields, a perfect habitat for the water fowl once they arrive. There are several National Wildlife refuges within an hours drive of my house. This particular one is the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. They have a six mile auto tour around part of the refuge. If you stay in your car in make a perfect blind. The birds all get used to the constant traffic and will stay put for the most part. This allows for the amazing opportunity to capture the birds natural behaviors. All of these shots were taking from inside my truck on the auto tour. I rest my camera on a photo bean bag that lays across the partially rolled down window. It makes a very steady and solid base from which to shoot.
Now that I have described all of that, how does that help you? Not being familiar with your area I guess I would, first, suggest you get in contact with any local bird groups or Audubon societies and find out where the good birding locations are. A very long lens is also pretty much a must. 300mm minimum, the longer the better. I started with a Tarmon 200-500mm zoom on my Nikon and it gave excellent results at about $1000. I have since saved for a couple of years and now used a Nikon 200-400mm VR with a 1.4 tele-extender for most of my shots. This ain't cheap or easy. Out of every shot I post I probably take another 50-100 that I delete. Keep some kind of camera with you at all times, if possible. It is a game of patience and opportunity. Slow and methodical adancement, major disappointment when the target flys off before you get the shot. However, getting that one shot for the day makes it all worth it. And every day is different. That's what keeps me coming back. I never know what will show up or when I will capture that amazing photo. So, stay with it. Learn to recognize behaviors of the birds you are stalking. And most importantly, enjoy what you are doing. When it becomes work, it isn't worth showing up.
Good luck and keep shooting, it takes time.

Cheers, Steve
Thanks Steve - that did help, the key points I can take away are;
  • find out where they are
  • go to them
  • patience
  • right gear for the job

I'm lucky to live in a patch of woods and we have at least one resident raptor. This is my best shot of it thus far, I am not sure if it is red tail or red shoulder but I am thinking the later.


Hawk Eye in woods 20120428 by ramcewan, on Flickr


I think I may change my habits to instead of waiting for an opportunity with this bird go find where there might be more easily accessible birds. I've seen a few working clearings and roads near me, I'm trying to keep track of where I see them most. I think your point about finding a place where they will likely be and humans are already being tolerated is a good one.

I have a couple of 300mms, a Zuiko 70-300mm f4-5.6 that is sharp but needs good light, and a manual focus 300mm f4.5 Tair prime. For now that's what my budget allows.

I will also look up to see what the Audubon for where I might find some raptors are known to be.

Thanks again.
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