December 3, 2008 Digital Hawk


The biggest advantage of digital photography is that I can often abandon the tripod and be more free and spontaneous in the field.  For serious nature photography, film demanded the use of a tripod because of its slow speed (low ISO or ASA).  But with a good professional digital camera, I can raise the ISO to 400 or 800 and still get a sharp, richly saturated image. This allows me to go into a location and work quickly to get a set of good pictures when time is limited.

2008_wa_1583wpAll of the pictures in this group were taken in about 1.5 hours when I stopped briefly at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Washington while on my way to the Columbia Gorge.  All the images were handheld, including those of the Red-tailed Hawk, for which I used a 500mm lens with 1.4x extender at an ISO of 640 (for those of you to whom this is Greek photo-speak, suffice it to say that in the past I might have gotten a couple of pictures on film, but with a less pleasing background and focus not so sharp).  The image stabilization built into the long lens is also great for controlling camera movement and shake.  Digital is good.






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Click on the photographs below for versions with captions.


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One Comment on “December 3, 2008 Digital Hawk”

  1. May Says:

    Lovely sequence of images. I am taken with that magnificent shot of the red-tail. I kept one for a while – a falconer’s bird who was completely trained to fist and humans. She had gotten away – never could find her caretaker. She eventually went to a wildlife center in the Santa Clarita Valley of CA, initially as a resident ambassador, and finally released.

    I called her “Nova”, and that chapter in my life will never be forgotten. I wrote of her in my book, “Waltz on the Wild Side – An Animal Lover’s Journal”. Although there were several cameras in the house, I’m not sure I ever took her photograph.

    How strange.

    Now I have a question. How do I subscribe to this blog?

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