I woke up this morning to screeching in our backyard. Sometimes this is the squirrels and other times it is the chipmunks, but today it was this Red-tailed Hawk.
Let me walk you through this photo shoot that was more about reacting to the moment than having planned to be shooting a hawk this morning.
The photo at the top here is later when I was working on the photos in Adobe Lightroom when the hawk decided to get closer to food. Our bird-feeders where squirrels and small birds hang out around our deck.
I first grabbed the closest camera and shot photos of the Red-tailed Hawk in the tree in our backyard eating a squirrel it had just caught. This was the Fuji X-E2. However, I quickly got my best camera to get this up close.
Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport
I grabbed the Nikon D5 and put my Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 | S with a TC-2001 [2x converter] which gave me a 600mm ƒ/5.6 lens.
By the way before I put the telephoto on the camera I put a 35mm lens and then did a custom white balance using my ExpoDisc. This helped me get the most accurate color under all the leaves and trees in our backyard.
I then quickly put this is my sports settings. I did this because I just needed to pick my custom settings where I had programed my camera for sports. Here is a blog post to walk you through it.
After shooting many photos I realized the hawk was staying until it was finished with the meal. This gave me some time to go and find a tripod, because I was hand holding the camera and lens up to this point.
Then I went to the Nikon shooting menu and picked normal. This let me shoot at ISO 900 versus ISO 18000. I lowered the shutter speed from 1/4000 to 1/200.
I continued to shoot photos looking for moments where I felt like I was capturing the hawk as I wanted to portray it to you.
When it was sitting on the railing on our deck I watched as I think it was looking for a squirrel that was hiding under our gas grill.
Since I had put away the Nikon D5 and the Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 | S I grabbed the Fuji X-E2 with the 55-200mm attached and got just a few more shots before it flew away.