Earlier in the week, we saw a juvenile red-tailed hawk mobbed by crows. Two days later, my wife saw a hawk sitting in the same redwood tree. The hawk sat quietly at first.
Working in the backyard yesterday, I heard crows and looked up to see them diving at the top of a redwood tree across the street. There was a large bird on the treetop. I ran to fetch my camera.
From the hooked beak, it’s a raptor.
Yesterday as my wife was going out, she came back in to tell me about a crow and a large bird down the street. A turkey vulture was picking at a dead squirrel, with a crow watching. Crows crowded the turkey vulture. A hawk circled. Excitement in a suburb near San Francisco.
After seeing the tree where the hawk lands, we occasionally look for a hawk in the tree. One day at sunset I thought I saw a bird in the treetop. I walked down the street with my camera. This time the hawk faced the setting sun.
For a sharper focus than last time, I wanted a faster shutter speed. I manually set the ISO to 800, one stop faster than the 400 set from the first sighting using the automatic ISO setting.
I set the focus using back button autofocus. With focus already taken care of, I took the below picture of the hawk taking off by depressing the shutter button all the way, instead of depressing the shutter button half way, waiting for focus, and then depressing the button all the way. Back button autofocus works great for wildlife photography when you’re waiting for the subject animal to move. In the excitement of seeing the bird take off, it’s easier to simply depress the shutter button.
See how much elevation the hawk gained while staying over the tree. The hawk essentially went straight up by beating its wings.
These photos were taken at 1/1000 of a second. Looking at the photos at full magnification in Lightroom, they’re sharper than the photos from the first sighting. 🙂 I still have much to learn, and you have to celebrate every small step forward.
We keep looking for a hawk in the tree, especially at sunset, but we haven’t seen the hawk again. This hawk is a juvenile red-tailed hawk, as with the earlier sighting.