To set the stage: My mother called me this morning, but I was too comatose to even hear the phone at 8am. I’ve been REALLY sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection and have barely been able to wander to the fridge to get at drink without having to sleep for an hour afterwards. The Viking had to work this morning – his 13th consecutive day. He woke me up about 10am when he got home and we had coffee and began the “second workday” here at home. He went out to the garage for a minute and came back in – very excited. “Grab your camera! – there’s a really big bird of prey out on top of Frank (our neighbor’s) tool shed.” Alas, by the time I got the telephoto lens on and out the door (I’m still stuck in slo-mo and get short of breath) the bird had disappeared. Mom called back just then. “Hey” she says, “there was a big hawk or a juvenile eagle hanging out on top of your swing-set this morning, I called but you didn’t pick up.” “B. saw him”, I said “but we didn’t get back out in time to get any pictures”. There’s a lot of rabbits and small birds in the area so I think it might stick around she said. She’s the resident bird expert; so I defer to her. Shortly before 5 pm my Viking was out in the driveway when I heard him say intensely and quietly through the porch window. “Get your camera and get out here NOW – its across the street.” Fortunately I’d left the camera on the kitchen table.and had set the f stop and shutter speed when I’d gone out in the morning. And Voila! There he (or she – I have no idea) was in all its gor-geous-ity.
Apparently we weren’t quiet enough because it swooped off low and slow, back down into Franks yard and then strangely, headed low and straight towards us. Those pics are blurry, because I still have no idea what I’m doing shooting wildlife on the move, but we were also more interested in ducking at that moment. It has a wingspan of at least 4 feet, and some seriously sharp hardware at the end of its legs.
It flew down around the pine trees in the yard next door and then came right at us, the second picture is blurry but you can see how low it was (a wingtip) I was behind the car (the blue blur), ducking. In the third picture the guy driving the car was completely flabbergasted.
It looped around and flew off, up into a group of trees just down the street. I crept down and got a few more shots before it decided it was outta here. What a thrill! I took all shots with a shutter speed of 1/500 and an F-Stop of 7.1.
- Tips for photographing birds (macworld.com)