What? Another Red-tailed Hawk photo?

They’re everywhere!  They’re everywhere!  I told you before that I loved photographing these birds.  Actually, I have a goal of capturing a Northern Harrier that hunts regularly at San Angelo State Park.  However, a decent photo of him continues to elude me.  So this morning on a casual drive through the area I spotted this…..wait for it……yes, another Red Tailed Hawk.  I think this will be one of my favorite images.  For the curious, I shot it at ISO 100, 1/2000 sec, at f7.1, minus 1/3 EV.  Hope you like it.  Click on the image for an enlargement.

Red-tailed Hawk

 Also, I’d like to tell you about another software that discovered, PhotoMatix Pro.  Well, actually I’ve had it for some time, but busy as I am, I never got around to really giving it a test.  Well, I did this weekend.  I took some older photos that I had taken at Big Bend National Park and they hadn’t knocked my sox off.  Well, they are pretty nice now.  Take a look at these two examples.  I will show the original, then a second after using PhotoMatix Pro.

Old Ruins - Big Bend National Park


Old Ruins - Big Bend National Park

 Here’t the second example:

Davis Mountains Scene

Davis Mountains Scene

It is done by a process they call Tone Mapping.  The software is actually a HDR program where you would bracket 3 or 5 images and it would blend all of them together.  However, if you only have one image, you can use just the Tone Mapping option.  You can see that you can salvage a good photo out of one that you would be ready to put into the trash.

Anyway, just thought you’d be interested in knowing about it.  As usual, click on image for an enlargement.

Happy Birding!!

14 thoughts on “What? Another Red-tailed Hawk photo?

  1. Agility, strength and intelligence are so apparent in this image, Bob. It is so full of life. I never remember to use the continuous shooting mode on my camera. Even after over a year with a DSLR, I still don’t completely know how to use it!

    I have been using Photomatix for HDR and have not thought to tonemap single images. I’ll have to give that a try.

    • Hi Cindy. Always so nice to hear from you. I am glad you like this photo. I think it is one of my best hawk images, simply because those three characteristics that you mention really do show. As far as using continuous shooting, it is almost a must for me, as birds are so unpredictable. But somewhere on your DSLR there is probably a control that gives you the option. I don’t remember what brand you have, but if it’s a Canon I can probably show you how to do it.

      As for the Photomatix I only recently discovered that you could do Tone Mapping on single images. I really think you will like it and it is relatively simple to use.

  2. Hi Bill, Happy New Year! One can’t have too many photos of redtail hawks! thanks for information on the photo software I’m going to check that out great examples of the changes to the photos.

    • I see nothing wrong with that. Not any difference than when zoos feed live mice to the snakes. I have a friend that has a ranch south of here and there are some Red-shouldered Hawks hanging around. He tosses out fresh meat daily, to keep them hanging around. I have been there and I have gotten some good photographs of the hawk eating.


  3. Now that’s pretty good shot Bob – you even got the catch light in this bird’s eye! Never too many of this great bird for me either. That tone mapping is something I may have to look into as your before and after shots certainly show the difference it makes!

    • Thanks, Enivea. I got lucky again. But I guess the more I practice the luckier I get. 🙂 But really, in these siturations where I just focus on the bird, press the shutter at 8 frames per second, I’m bound to get at least one image. I really got about 12 images, but this was one of the best. Thanks for the compliment.
      I agree, that Tone Mapping certainly gave “pop” to them photos.


  4. Nice action shot of the hawk!! I’m impressed with the before/after shots! Tone mapping is something I haven’t dabbled in yet… one step at a time! You’ve done a very nice job with these – I love how the colors pop and the images are definitely sharper!!

    • Thanks, Holly,

      It was fun messing around with that Tone Mapping. But I agree with you. Just one step at a time. It is so easy to get too overwhelmed with so much stuff. It can fry your mind. 🙂


  5. That software did a great job. Bob, I gotta tell ya, you can never post too many photos of the good old red tail hawk. I love ’em, too. Hope Christmas was good for you and Ann, my friend. Hasta la vista.


    • I have never tryed HDR before. I could never get a bird sit long enough to expose 5 images. But this tone mapping might just work for me for know. Thanks for writing. I have also subscribed to your blog. From what I have seen so far, you do beautiful work.


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