Digging a hole in the backyard to plant an apricot tree, I heard crows cawing overhead, looked up, and saw crows chasing a hawk. Despite failing many times, I ran inside for a camera.
The above photo, taken with a 105 mm lens, shows both a red-tailed hawk and crow. The hawk flew circled for a while, persuading me to get a 400 mm telephoto lens. By the time I returned, the hawk had flown away, naturally.
Scanning the skies, I saw a raptor flying from the south. It landed on a 100-foot-tall redwood tree down the street. I walked down the street and used a mailbox to steady the camera for this photo.
After a while, the bird took off
These are my first hawk photos at home with a telephoto lens. From my bird book, I think this is a dark juvenile red-tailed hawk. Only the adults have a red tail.
A few weeks ago, I changed my camera to use back button autofocus, and this camera setting enabled me to take the photo of the hawk as it took off from the treetop. The default camera setting of the camera is to focus when the shutter button is held half-way down and to take the picture when the shutter button is fully depressed after autofocus is achieved. With back button autofocus, you press a button on the back of the camera to activate autofocus, then simply press the shutter button all the way down to take the photo. This process allows you to autofocus and recompose before the hawk takes off.