Like many good things in the world to do, mine is photography. For more than 45 years, my passion has been chasing birds all over the USA.
My bird of choice, the hawk. In all its forms, sizes, and situations. It has been the most favorable challenge during my life. I try and do most of the work with my equipment instead of software to shoot the perfect images of this birds life. My portfolio is crammed full of lasting shots of hawks and the beauty of it is, most of them were shot practically in my own backyard.
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. The window to all creatures souls.
Their dynamic nature applies much stress to many small creatures running to hide in the marsh. For me, 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.
HIs spirit moves freely in the winds and has haunted me in many dreams. My connection to this species had been 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 take this job seriously as a Nature/Wildlife Photographer and share my work with the world in as many places as possible.
On this particular day, I had been out shooting all morning and was on my way back to the car when I stopped for a few minutes to rest. I had been wading in the marsh and a thicket of maple trees and water plants. I stepped up to the boardwalk and was leaning against the railing in front of a few sparse young trees just beginning to show signs of budding when this 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 trying to photograph. It was nest building time and I had discovered their nest. It wasn’t an easy place to get to and the photographs were even more difficult to shoot.
But here he was, right within a few feet of me and the lighting and the background were perfect. Within minutes he decided the tree top he was on was not a good fit and balancing was creating a bit of a problem. So, he flew even closer and landed right in front of me where eye to eye contact was inevitable. His stocky body shifted from right to left as he tried to find the perfect balance on the limb.
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 his 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.