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When I was a small boy most cars came equipped with hood ornaments. They could be fanciful — little sculptures of fantastic figures, many of them with wings. I can vividly remember being taken by my father to a Pontiac dealer and being fascinated by the cars’ hood ornaments, little renditions of Chief Pontiac with his head sculpted from amber colored plastic. My father eventually purchased an Oldsmobile — a Rocket 88 — which came equipped with a futuristic jet or space ship on its hood. I wasn’t consulted but my personal preference was the Chief.
That era ended in the 1950s and with a few exceptions (e.g., Rolls, Bentley, Mercedes), cars today do not have hood ornaments. It’s a shame, the ornaments were sometimes far more attractive than the cars.
Something happened the other day that brought that era back to me. I took this photo of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk poised just at the instant that it was taking off from its perch.
It didn’t hit me when I first looked at the image. But, when I looked at it a second time my childhood memories came rushing back. I’d captured the image of the perfect hood ornament.
Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 400DO, aperture preferred setting, ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/2500.