Espanola Island, Galapagos
1/1250s @ f/5.6 ISO 320 @ 400mm
In my previous post I talked about the Galapagos Hawk in some detail. I was extremely fortunate to capture some images of this magnificent creature, as there are only 150 mating pair left in existence. I came across one of those pair on Espanola Island, and was able to photograph both of them at very close range (about 5-meters). They were perched in separate locations, so I was unable to get a shot of them side-by-side, but it was still a thrill. You can spend two weeks in the Galapagos and never see a Galapagos Hawk, much less two.
I love getting closeup portraits of wildlife, but it is very hard to do (you have to be very close indeed). It gives the viewer a level of detail they rarely see on their own (unless they have a spotting scope): eyes, beaks and feathers. This beautiful raptor was perched overhead, and just a few feet away (in this case about 10-feet). Unfortunately, the morning was very overcast, so when I exposed for the bird the sky was completely blown out to stark white (the price you pay sometimes).
Still and all I like his pose and beautiful colors. My Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super-telephoto lens captured him nicely. This was shot handheld, using a single focus-point (center) and partial metering (center weighted). This provided great subject exposure, but like I mentioned above it resulted in a completely blown out white sky. See my earlier post to learn more about this amazing creature, and its environmental status.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Currently in South America