Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Beginner's Luck?

(click on image for larger version)

Using his Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5 and Swarovski 80HD spotting scope, first-time digiscoper, Charles Henrikson, captured this super Red-tailed Hawk image at the UW Arboretum on Monday.

Charles tells his story...

Well, today, the first day of 2007, is the first time I have been able to get out and use the camera, scope and backpack. I went to the UW Arboretum. I walked all over carrying everything, except the tripod, in the backpack. I didn't see one bird. It was absolutely dead. After an hour I decided to set up the whole apparatus and take a photo of something. I took a couple photos of sumac seed heads. Not very exciting but at least I got some practice setting up and taking the photos. I decided to pick up the whole apparatus and go to the boardwalk over the bog with cattails. As I walked onto the boardwalk some teenagers told me that there was a large bird in the tree near the end of the boardwalk. They thought it was an owl. I walked quietly the length of the boardwalk. There it was sitting in a tree facing into the sun. It was a hawk. I positioned my tripod, focused my scope and camera and snapped a couple photos. Unfortunately there were a couple branches across its head and repositioning didn't help. All of sudden it took off and I thought that that was the end of it. Instead it moved to another branch closer to me and completely in the open, no branches in the way. I was able to take about 30 shots before it flew off. As it soared above I could see its red tail so feel fairly sure it was a Red-tailed Hawk. For my first bird photos I feel extremely fortunate. All the stars were in perfect alignment. The light was right, it was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and the hawk was facing the sun and I was in the right position on the boardwalk. The hawk was close enough that I could fill the entire field. The hawk perched there for 10-15 minutes sometimes just looking around, other times preening itself. It truly was a spectacle for which I feel so privileged to have observed and photographed. I can't get rid of the smile on my face. It was a great beginning to the New Year. Thank you for your digiscoping tips.

Red-tailed Hawk image © 2007 Charles Henrikson

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