Red Shoulder Hawk - Advice Please


TPF Noob!
Nov 19, 2007
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Chicago suburbs
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This guy was on the endangered list in Illinois until 2003. A few days ago he was in my backyard! Very photogenic, he hung around for over 10 minutes. However I just couldn't manage to take a sharp pic of him. I didn't think my tripod was necessary because it was bright out and I was using fast shutter speeds. Maybe this is not necessarily true? I'm still a noob to photography so any advice would be really appreciated so next time around I can get some high quality shots. Maybe I tried cropping in to close? Not really sure. Thanks. Tom

ISO 100

at 105mm worth of focal range.

Shutter speed should have been enough to counter handshake at that focal range - though f11 is abit high for a bird shot - I would have probably stopped down to f8 for this sort of shot at a decent range - that would have got you a bit more speed in the shots and f8 should be enough aperture (always go for the focus on the eyes with an animal that way if the focus is to little you still have the eyes sharp - and they are the part that we connect with and view most with wildlife shots)
This bird sat there so long, I was changing settings like crazy. Some with the aperture really open, some really closed, some in between. I changed between the 55-200mm, my sigma 105mm, even my 50mm. Just couldn't come up with anything that I liked.
Were you on center focus point only? One shot mode?

Hope it was alright to edit.....not real sharp still...


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Were you shooting through glass? The pic seems a little hazy (a problem I suffer from a lot with my pics). Levels might help with the haziness, but I was thinking, maybe the glass caused a slight distortion/softness which is why the pic looks slightly out of focus. But it's a nice shot anyway, lovely bird :)
sounds like you were all over the place with things (though very lucky to get a bird to pose for that long!)
I know that the 105mm is a quality lens, I know less about the optical performance of the 55-200mm. Myself I would probably have reached for the 200mm lens - shot with around f8 (its very tricky to tell from the shot just how close the bird was to you) down to f5.6 and probably been in aperture priority mode (let the camera pick the shutter speed on a bright day with a still subject).
A tripod would have helped as well if you had time for it.
Also go through your shots and have a look at them - see how the different settings have affected your shots and also how the different focal lengths portray the bird

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