I have had an amazing time photographing Prairie Falcons (Falco mexicanus) since last fall. Since the ducks are no longer near the causeway to Antelope Island I have had a more difficult time locating them because they are now searching for their normal winter diet of Western Meadowlarks and Horned Larks which are found more “inland” on the island. Yesterday while Ron and I were on the island I spotted this Prairie Falcon perched on a high rock and asked Ron to stop.
This is a difficult location to photograph from because the angle is steep and below the rocks at the bottom of this frame there is burned vegetation from a fire on that slope last October. Trying to get a clear view is problematic from the shoulder of the road closest to the rocky outcropping. We should probably try from the other shoulder of the road to reduce the steep angle even though that means being further away from the bird. One of the frustrations of being a bird photographer is knowing what location or position is the best for each opportunity.
I barely had time to adjust my exposure compensation as the falcon perched on the rocks before it lifted off. Those white rocks make exposure challenging and then when the bird lifted off I needed to be concerned about the exposure against the blue sky too.
These images are two consecutive frames, by the third frame the falcon had turned and I didn’t get great light in the eyes. Even at 1/2000 I still have some motion blur but I think that adds to the feeling of movement in both of these images. I also wish the sun had not risen as high as it was because it deepened the shadows and it was a bit contrasty.
Since Prairie Falcons are year round residents on the island I am looking forward to photographing them throughout the spring and summer.