Patience a Definite Virtue

I recently posted on Facebook, a couple of photographs that I captured of a pair of Red-tailed Hawks, perched side-by-side on a dead tree.  I received many comments of congratulations, several of which mentioned on how lucky I was.  I am deeply appreciated of those compliments, although I know that there are many that think that I just have to aim the camera, click the shutter and then publish the snapshot.  I wish it were that easy.  I am good, but not that good. 🙂


Well, first, I was definitely lucky to come upon the two hawks together like they were.  However, the pose that I eventually got had nothing to do with luck.  They both, as birds do, were constantly moving their bodies and eyes.  Fidgeting their heads here and there.  My goal was to capture both of them looking to my right at the same time, wanting to get their heads in profile.

Well, I did indeed reach my goal, but to get there I had to patiently sit and take around one hundred exposures, while nervously wondering if the birds would fly too soon.  I finally gave it up after about twenty minutes.  I was far enough away, about 150 yards, that there is no way I was disturbing them.  I don’t think they ever noticed me in my car.


These two images were the only ones that met my personal standards.  My point is that patience can make the difference between a mediocre photo and a truly great image.  So yes, luck did get me to the opportunity.  Then it was up to me to finish the job.

For those that are interested, my wildlife set-up is my Canon 7D MkII with a Tamron 150-600mm G2 zoom lens.  For several years I owned a $7,000 Canon 500mm prime lens, but age caught up with me and I had problems handling it in the confines of my ‘mobile’ bird blind, AKA my Ford Escape.  My settings for most wildlife is usually TV or Shutter-priority mode.  My shutter speed is usually high, from 1,000 to 5000 per second, set at hi-speed so I can shoot in bursts.  Auto ISO rounds it out and I usually get great results.  My right thumb is usually on the main EV dial, so I can make adjustments on the fly if need be.  I crop a lot, and do minor editing is Photoshop CS5.  (Try all that with a telephone.) 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post and the images.  Prints are available, of course.  Just click the My Gallery button at the top of this page for more information, or contact me at

‘Til the next time,