Bird photography isn’t easy. Long hours in the field are necessary, plenty of time spent culling images plus the investment of energy and time learning all about your gear and developing techniques and then… there are the frustrations of being a bird photographer.
One of those frustrations for me when photographing raptors is power lines. Raptors here in the west often perch on power lines so they are high up and can spot their prey below and also long distances away. The power poles themselves aren’t all that appealing looking so I am usually looking for lift off shots of for the birds to fly past or in front of me.
The dark morph Ferruginous Hawk above had just left off from a power pole when I photographed it. A great pose with uplifted wings, trailing talons, nice background, lovely eye contact and because the bird was screaming the bird looked even more powerful than normal.
But the power lines crossed right through the wings of the raptor ruining what could have been a terrific shot.
In the very next frame the hawk was still screaming, I had a nice wing position, great eye contact and the hawk didn’t have any of the power lines crossing its body. The power lines were both awfully close though and I don’t really have a great feeling when it comes to cloning things out of my images so this frame was very frustrating for me to see on my screen.
Three frames later I was able to get a frame where the power lines were far enough away from the bird (above and below) that I could crop the frame and didn’t need to clone at all. Great pose, light on the underside of the wings, nice wing position and the bird was still screaming.
I am very happy to have this image of the Ferruginous Hawk screaming without the power lines plus this image will always remind me of the great company of two dear friends that I shared the day with as we drove around looking for raptors in northern Utah.
In the ten frames after the Ferruginous left the power pole and I had one image that I felt was a “keeper”. Frustrating?
Certainly, but I can promise I never get bored being a bird photographer despite those frustrations. I might even revel in them.
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