Chance Encounter with a Sparrowhawk

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

A Wildlife photographer learns something new every day – be it about the behaviour of the subjects one photographs or the technique one uses to capture that unique image.

Wildlife photography, for most part, involves investing a large amount of time and energy – both on and off the field – in studying about the subject you want to photograph, identifying the best habitats to photograph your subject in and then waiting and waiting and waiting…

But then again, once in a while, your subject may just present itself right in front of you when you least expect it. A case in point is this Sparrowhawk that I managed to photograph the other day. There was a thunderstorm brewing and I was standing in my living room looking up into the sky hoping to capture a lightning bolt. I had the Canon 70-200mm lens mounted on my Canon 50D and was expectantly waiting for a lightning bolt to strike when, out of the blue, I see a bird of prey land on a fence right in front of me. At first I was not sure of what species the bird was except that it was a bird of prey. It was only after I locked focus on it did I realise that it was a Sparrowhawk. A good friend of mine, and photography buddy, had told me that there was a Sparrowhawk in the area and I’d kept an eye out for it but never managed to spot it and here it was sitting right in front of me, when I least expected it. I fired off a few shots, one of which can be seen below:

She looked like she was not going anywhere and so I took a calculated chance of changing my lens to the Sigma 50-500mm to try to capture a few close up images (as can be seen below). I could not have asked for a more willing subject.

The one thing I have learnt in my very short time as a Wildlife photographer, and from this particular incident, is the fact that one’s got to be ready to capture a shot at any time. When an opportunity presents itself, one’s got to grasp it tight with both hands.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

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