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Old Mar 28, 2006, 3:23 PM   #1
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I was out with a group this weekend and even before we started the walk we found a cooper's hawk on the other side of the road:

And here from the back:


This is probably a male, based purely on its size. Historically I usually see female cooper's (for whatever reason) and they can be much larger. So when I saw that bird I thought it might be a sharp-shinned hawk (which I don't have images of) but it isn't for various reasons.

Same specs for both images:
Photo: 1D Mk IIN 600mm f4 IS 2xTC tripod f/7.1 ??? shutter (don't recall.)
Photoshop: RAW Convert w/ some contrast fixing, curves, slight crop, reduce, sharpen

Eric
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 3:32 PM   #2
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I think they are a beautiful bird.
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 3:42 PM   #3
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Eric, very very nice!!! As i mentioned in email, I've never seen one of these. I hope to some day. Like you, I thought it might be a male due to size.

dennis
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 8:48 PM   #4
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They are definitely a beautiful bird. I normally see ones that look like this:


much bigger in the chest... I almost wonder if this one just ate or something. This one (to me) is clearly a female.

Eric
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 9:29 PM   #5
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Beautiful Eric. What a marvelous bird. This is another one I've never really seen up close. Thanks for sharing them......thekman.
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 11:06 PM   #6
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Nice shots, very smooth and detailed. What was your setup?
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 11:54 PM   #7
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Glad you to like them. I don't see Cooper's often enough. They are great birds.

Most of my setup is already listed in the original post:
Canon 1D Mk IIN camera with the canon 600mm f4 IS lens with the Canon 2x TC.
I use it on the Gitzo 1348 tripod with the fully Wimberley head.

I will probably replace the tripod eventually (in the next several months) as this setup stresses it a bit. But I'm not looking forward to the increased weight.

I didn't use it in this shot, but I also have an off-camera flash bracket that I used with the Canon 550EX flash.

This is about the optimum setup for birds where I live. When I visited Florida I would have done better to have the Sigma 300-800. The slight drop in optical quality and f/4 aperture was lost in the quality light and how easy it was to get close to the birds. I missed some shots because I had too much focal length (I have the 100-400, but switching between the lenses cost me shots as well.) Being able to zoom out would have made the shot.

Eric
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 3:03 PM   #8
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Nice pictures

Cool setup:|
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 10:35 AM   #9
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Greetings Eric and others! I've been AWOL (yet again) for too long now but am now forcing myself to take the time to visit and hopefully stay active!

Nice adult Cooper's shots, Eric. Interestingly, while the female is described as larger than the male and having a slightly more rounded tail than the male, there is no indication that those characteristics will allow you to identify them as male or female in the field unless you see both sexes side by side (or see the female laying eggs ).

On that first shot, did you apply any local contrast enhancement in PSCS2? It looks like the contrast could be boosted a bit.

The second shot from behind is really good for illustrating the slate gray backside of the adults (versus the brown backs of the juveniles - I've posted shots of the juvies here in the past).
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 4:20 PM   #10
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Geoffs,
It's interesting that you should mention the contrast. I applied some on both. Some of it (I think) is that the sun is behind the bird. I could always try applying more and see if it gets better. There is a theory that some use when editing. It say you should adjust it too much and then bring it back. Because if you make a change until it looks good, you might miss that changing it more could look even better. "Good" is not the goal, "the best you can make it" is (for some people, at least.)

On the second shot I actually masked out the contrast enhancement on the back because it didn't look like how I remember the bird in the wild. But while I was doing it Kathy was sitting next to me and she felt it looked better with the contrast (and I agreed.) It's my nature to make it "Right" not "better" (in some cases - especially when it could change something significiant.)

I fully agree that size is not enough when the birds are alone. There is definitely an overlap in their ranges. Same with Cooper vs. sharp-shinned hawks. Male coopers can be smaller than female sharp-shinned (although rare, it is within the average sizes)

I hadn't heard that the tail round-ness vs. squared-off-ness could be used for gender identification. I thought it was only good for Cooper vs. Sharpie. Where did you hear that?

I've been asked by a local bird magazine publisher if they might use the second shot (the back shot) as a "mystery bird" photo as without some knowledge its hard to tell from that image if its a coop or sharpie. I like them, so I said yes.

Geoffs wrote:
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Greetings Eric and others! I've been AWOL (yet again) for too long now but am now forcing myself to take the time to visit and hopefully stay active!
And hopefully you'll post some wildlife pictures too?

Eric
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