Landscape Photograph — The Hawk Speaks
Red-shouldered hawks have a distinct cry, which can frustrate a photographer to no end. You hear the hawk, but you can’t figure out where the creature is. When you do find one, you’re rewarded with some wonderful photo opportunities. This critter was squawking up a storm, the photographer zoomed in as tightly as he could and captured the image.
ISO setting 400: Even though it was bright, a higher ISO was needed to get a fast enough shutter speed to handhold the long lens.
Exposure compensation 0 EV: Some photographers like to underexpose an image to saturate colors, but here the photographer didn’t want to lose detail in the bird’s eyes and beak.
Focal length 480mm: The bird was high in a tree. The photographer walked as close to the tree as possible and then zoomed in as tightly as I could.
Aperture f/6.3: This is wide open for this lens, which threw the background out of focus and made the bird more prominent in the resulting image.
Shutter speed 1/1000 of a second: The combination of a higher ISO and large aperture gave a fast shutter speed, which would be useful to capture a picture of the bird in flight if he decided to fly away. The camera was also switched to continuous drive mode so a series of pictures could be taken.
Composing the image
Because the photographer couldn’t get close enough with the lens he had, the image would need cropping post processing, but the bird was still instinctively placed on the right side of the image. The bird was about 20 feet higher than the photographer, so he pointed the camera up and started shooting. Luckily, the camera was in Continuous Drive mode and several images were captured. This was the best of the lot.
One luxury of a camera that captures high-megapixel images is that you can crop away almost 40 percent of the image and still have a shot that can be printed as an 8 x 10. This image was cropped tightly to make the bird the focal point. Also the colors were saturated and the image was sharpened.