Year-End Countdown, # 12 — “Mom!”
This begins my year-end review of my 12 favorite photos of 2014. I took this photograph on a blazing hot morning in early June at Fort Lowell Park, an urban park within Tucson’s city limits. This fledgling Red-tailed Hawk had just left the nest, perhaps a day or two previously, and it and its sibling were flying all over the park, with the obviously exasperated mother hawk chasing them everywhere in order to keep tabs on them. The two youngsters were screaming incessantly, demanding that they be fed, while poor mom was trying to keep them out of trouble. The baby hawks were landing on almost every available tree limb but also on light posts and softball backstops as well. They would make short flights of a few yards, then resume their screaming. It was all quite chaotic.
I love the photo partly because it was a good shot made in extremely difficult lighting. The hawk’s face and body were mostly in shade but the sky behind it was lit brilliantly by the early morning sun. Relying on the camera’s metering system would have produced a silhouette of the bird and I had to really think in order to come up with the right exposure. Also, these birds weren’t sitting still for more than a few seconds at a time, so I had to act very fast in order to get the picture.
I also really like it because it evokes a scene better than most of the pictures I’ve taken. I’ve shot a lot of hawk photos in the past few years but this one is unique in that it really displays this bird’s personality. As I look at the image I can vividly remember the racket that this youngster was making.
Photo made with Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 320, “M” setting, f6.3 @ 1/640.