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Author Topic: Red Tail Hawks  (Read 4831 times)
bobtowery
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« on: March 22, 2009, 11:47:39 AM »
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I went out yesterday to an area close to my home (Roseville, CA) and was lucky to find a pair of nesting Red Tails.  

I got a 400mm f5.6 late last year, and this is the first time I have tried to use it for wildlife.



I don't recall seeing many images with two birds of prey in the frame? Is this common or uncommon?

Here is the blog post, with several more pictures:

http://bobtowery.typepad.com/bob_towery/20...-the-birds.html

I'm interested in feedback, as I plan to go back there and do more shooting. It's such a nice opportunity, so close to home.  Fair warning, these shots have been Photoshopped a fair bit.  I just couldn't live with the stark white sky, so I replaced it with blue.  The birds have been lightened up to show their plumage.  One morning I'll capture them perfectly I hope!

Thanks for C&C.

Bob Towery.

(ps: feel free to subscribe to the blog of course, leave comments there, and review the other posts)
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 01:19:21 PM »
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A pretty spectacular set of photos, I'd say. Especially "Incoming". Now if you manage to capture the Peregrine in mid-dive, please share it with us!
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bobtowery
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2009, 01:34:28 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
A pretty spectacular set of photos, I'd say. Especially "Incoming". Now if you manage to capture the Peregrine in mid-dive, please share it with us!

Thank you Eric.  When the peregrine shows up, I shall look for "turbo autofocus" on my camera!  

I'm always enamored with other photographer's shots of the birds at rest, where everything is so in focus and beautiful.  I haven't seen a lot of in flights, so I don't know if these are special or not.  Appreciate your feedback!

Bob.
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francois
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2009, 01:37:47 PM »
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Gorgeous photo and the ones from your gallery are also very good. I tried my hand at bird photography, mostly hawks, but never got anything really good.

I agree with Eric, Incoming is spectacular.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 01:38:25 PM by francois » Logged

Francois
framah
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2009, 02:18:35 PM »
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Great captures.... that said, I'm not fond of how you replaced the sky. It looks like it was cut and pasted. The edges of the birds are too crisp. Maybe a bit of softening around the edges to make them not look so flat. Also the color or the sky looks fake... not quite the right color blue.

All in all tho, really great captures of the birds!!!
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bobtowery
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2009, 03:26:19 PM »
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Quote from: framah
Great captures.... that said, I'm not fond of how you replaced the sky. It looks like it was cut and pasted. The edges of the birds are too crisp. Maybe a bit of softening around the edges to make them not look so flat. Also the color or the sky looks fake... not quite the right color blue.

All in all tho, really great captures of the birds!!!


You are right about the sky color.  I'm going to fix that.  When I was doing it, it sorta bothered me but I thought "well, a blue sky looks different on every monitor anyway."  But I'll fix and then leave a message.

As to the edges, that's really a pixel problem.  You have something the size of a feather.  These are small crops of the overall frame.  There's just not enough pixels to represent something that small.

Really appreciate your feedback.
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bobtowery
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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2009, 04:30:11 PM »
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Okay, went out and took some actual sky pictures, and then moved the birdies onto the real sky.

Took the suggestion and softened up the edges of the feathers.  (feathered the feathers?)

Thx for the comments thus far.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2009, 08:21:42 PM »
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Quote from: francois
....I tried my hand at bird photography, mostly hawks, but never got anything really good.
I agree with Eric, Incoming is spectacular.

My experience with wild birds says they're very similar to pet birds - they are easily disturbed by changes in their environment, particularly strangers walking through.  If you find where prey birds frequent, and hang out there regularly, alone, you'll eventually be able to get a lot of good aerial photos.
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2009, 08:43:22 PM »
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Great stuff, Bob! Personally I like Courtship best.
Bill
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2009, 01:03:39 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
My experience with wild birds says they're very similar to pet birds - they are easily disturbed by changes in their environment, particularly strangers walking through.  If you find where prey birds frequent, and hang out there regularly, alone, you'll eventually be able to get a lot of good aerial photos.

And if you try to rush things you'll be able to get talons in your scalp!

One of the best techniques for any wildlife is to ignore them as much as possible.  Granted that's difficult with a 400mm lens poking at them, but on your way in or out, be at ease, pose no threat and pretend you're occupied with something else.

Mike.
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francois
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2009, 03:12:05 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
My experience with wild birds says they're very similar to pet birds - they are easily disturbed by changes in their environment, particularly strangers walking through.  If you find where prey birds frequent, and hang out there regularly, alone, you'll eventually be able to get a lot of good aerial photos.
Thanks for the tips. From March to April, we have a lot of prey birds circling over the vinyards. I guess that they are after lizards.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 03:12:37 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
boblybill
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2009, 08:40:03 AM »
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I love this shot! I've been trying to get better at wildlife shots as my dream vacation would be to spend a couple of weeks camping in the Colorado Rockies tracking some type of wildlife. Where did you shoot these?
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framah
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2009, 02:29:18 PM »
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One thing to remember when out shooting wildlife... don't stare at them thru the lens for very long. To them, your lens looks like an eye and maybe an eye of a predator.

Pretend to be just looking and then going back to something else. Doing that a  few times and they will eventually get more comfortable with you looking at them and just being there.

Become one with the landscape, little grasshopper!!
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bobtowery
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« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2009, 12:08:56 PM »
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Thanks boblybill.  Glad you like them.  I have been back once, but they were not cooperating.

This area is called Miners Ravine, it is in Roseville, CA.  Believe it or not, there are still a few city governments that have their stuff together.  This city has about 55 park properties.  We have great roads and infrastructure.  They mix business and residential well.  It's a great place to live other than that it is a big crowded compared to what it used to be.

The Miners Ravine area is a 5 mile or so long walkway, that is all natural.  There are people walking, jogging, meditating, and even a few of us taking pictures.

Framah and Wolfnow, I appreciate this advice.  I was already a lot more on guard on my second trip.  I hadn't thought about not training the long lens on them.  

They are probably pretty used to people on the paved path now, maybe they'll ignore me even with the kinda big lens.

Bob.
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