Like many good things in the world to do, mine has been photography. For more than 45 years, my passion was chasing my love of birds all over the United States.
My bird of choice, the hawk. In all its forms, sizes, and situations. It has been the most favorable photographic challenge of my life.
A raptor he may very well be but there is a subtle charm in the eyes of this creature. The eyes are the defining moments of this bird’s next move. I shoot for the eyes. In my humble opinion it is the window to all creatures souls.
Their dynamic nature applies much stress to many small creatures in the marsh. But for me, awh, my heart pounds at the sight of possibilities, a prevailing mode of thought of what I might walk away with embedded onto my digital card and into my future memory of the mind.
Its spirit moves freely in the winds and continues to haunt me in my dreams. My connection to this species is most intriguing and by far should be a guarded treasure in my opinion. It would be a tragedy if this bird as with any species of plants and animals are so violated to the point of no return. This iconic species is one among many that have fallen prey to the hands of shooters without cameras. It is why I took this job seriously as a Nature/Wildlife Photographer.
The entire series of photos in this collection were shot in a matter of moments. Unexpected moments as on this particular day, I had been out shooting for hours and was on my way back to the car. I stopped for a few minutes to rest. I had been wading in the marsh among a thicket of maple trees, water plants, and reeds. I stepped up to the boardwalk and leaned against the railing in front of a few sparse young trees just beginning to show signs of budding when a hawk flew within a few feet of me trying to land on a very unstable tree top. It was one of the mating Red-shouldered hawks I had been chasing through this swampy area trying my best to photograph. It was nest building time and I had discovered their nest tucked away in a hiding place off the beaten path. It wasn’t an easy place to get to and the photographs were even more difficult to shoot.
But there she was, right within a few feet of me and the lighting and the background were perfect. Within minutes he decided the tree top she was on was not a good fit and balancing was creating a bit of a problem. So, she flew even closer and landed right in front of me where eye to eye contact was inevitable. Her stocky body shifted from right to left as did mine in an attempt to find the perfect standing balance upon the objects we were on.
Finally, a well structured Red-shouldered Hawk stands, clamping onto a tiny branch, swaying in the cool February breeze. Heavily marked with bold blacks and whites all over her body with the perfect light against a brilliant backdrop offering me some of the best shots I have yet to add to my collection.
Sometimes it pays to just stand still and wait.