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Old Nov 14, 2011, 6:42 PM   #1
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Default Red Tailed Hawk dinner -- might be disturbing. . .

Hi All,

Wanted to post these, though they are not great shots. This was my first opportunity to observe and shoot a Red Tailed Hawk feeding at reasonably short range.

I had stopped at the Nature Center to drop off a CD with some shots of the captives, and was on my way out when I saw the RTH swoop down and grab a squirrel from the open area in front of the Center. It flew off and landed in the parking lot of a Center outbuilding, so I drove over there and parked as far away as I could. I had the Q with my D FA 100 Macro on the passenger seat next to me, so I grabbed it and got out of the car. The hawk took off as I got out of the car, but only flew another 75 feet away, carrying the squirrel with it.

I slowly made my way to a large tree @ 60 ft away, ans started shooting, then moved to another three about the same distance away.




The park was about to close, so I felt that I had nothing to lose, and I started walking, one step at a time closer to the feeding hawk. I'd take a step, take a couple of shots, then take another step. The hawk, made a point to let me know that it was aware of my presence, but continued on with its meal.



Eventually, I about halved the original distance, and could almost fill the frame with the hawk. This was definitely the closest I've been able to approach a hawk in the wild.



Soon after this last shot, the hawk jumped off the squirrel then took off to preen a bit on the fence in the background. I found it interesting that it hardly bothered with any of the meat on the squirrel, and just concentrated on the entrails. Perhaps it carried the rest of the squirrel off to a tree branch later to finish it off, but I had to leave, so I don't know.

Unfortunately, the background is horrible, but there was no real alternative angle without spooking the hawk. In a lot of the shots, the head of the hawk was blurred from subject motion, and another bunch of shots were marred by either camera shake or misfocus since the Q does not yet allow SR with adapted lenses, and the light was really getting low. I was forced to use 1/100-1/160 second for these, and at 550mm EQ without the benefit of SR, it's not easy shooting handheld with such a small camera. I ended up with about 10% usable shots of the 150 that I took, so I'm pleased with the results.

I would have preferred using my K-5 and FA* 300/4.5 for this, but I didn't have that combo with me at the time, and the alternative would be that I wouldn't have had a camera with me at all.

I've gotten into the habit of carrying the Q with both the 01 prime and the 02 zoom, the K>Q adapter setup I have, my F 50/1.7, my D FA 100/2.8 Macro, a Nikon 4T and a Raynox DCR 250 achromatic close-ups, an old Nikon Varifocal OVF, and a Metz 24 AF1 P-TTL flash with me at all times. Sounds like a log of gear, but it all fits in a bag that would be too small to hold just my K-5 and FA* 300/4.5, and including the bag, it all weighs 5 lbs and 10 oz. I was happy to have something to record this with, even if it wasn't optimal.

Scott
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 7:53 PM   #2
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Not bad at all! I think as time goes on the small sensor will win some over who would otherwise dismiss it.
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 1:05 PM   #3
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Some very nice pictures. You were you at the right place at the right time.

The Q body and the 100 Macro appear to be a good combo.


I'm no biology expert, but I wonder if the Hawk ate the entrails first, as organ meat might have the highest concentration of iron...for provision of energy in the predator ?
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 2:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Not bad at all! I think as time goes on the small sensor will win some over who would otherwise dismiss it.
Hi Harriet,

Thanks for looking!

I think that you're right that it'll take some time for people to appreciate what the Q is capable of. The 3.6x crop factor (to be EQ with APS-C) that can use already existing lenses has not been explored fully yet, and will only start getting widespread attention when Pentax releases their own K-Q adapter, I would think.

Personally, one of the things I'm most curious about at this time is how well the DA lenses that I have will work with the Q. The DA 18-55 becomes a 65-200, the DA 50-200 becomes a 180-720, the DA 55-300 becomes a 200 - 1080, all relatively small and light -- and the one I'm most curious about is the DA 10-17 FE which becomes a very wide 36-61, but just how wide. . .?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
Some very nice pictures. You were you at the right place at the right time.

The Q body and the 100 Macro appear to be a good combo.

I'm no biology expert, but I wonder if the Hawk ate the entrails first, as organ meat might have the highest concentration of iron...for provision of energy in the predator ?
Hi Les,

Thanks!

It would have taken a 300/2.8 to get these with one of my DSLRs, and I just can't carry that kind of setup with me all the time anymore. . .

I can certainly do better with the Q. I'm only about a week away from putting together a workable very lightweight tripod setup to use with the Q and some "Q'd" super teles -- I'll have to see how light I can go and still get the stability that I'll need -- I have most of the major stuff, but am missing a few pieces of the puzzle.

I pretty much assumed that this would be relatively easy to get used to, but I actually have to be much more meticulous with technique to get results that are satisfying. I think that being forced into using better technique is a good thing, even at my age. . . SR and ultra high ISO with the K-5 have spoiled me. . .

I hope to learn more about the feeding habits of the hawks when I bring some pics to the Nature Center for their research. They have a couple of staffers that are raptor specialists, so they might be able to enlighten me.

edit: added11/16--

Thinking about this last a bit more, it's possible that eating the entrails first may be analogous to field dressing game. By eliminating the internal organs, the rest of the meat might be held longer before it spoils -- just a guess. . .

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; Nov 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM.
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