2010 Images of the Year
  Kicking Up the Dust
© Paul Leverington

Working the local area for a subject has the unique advantage of letting one become familiar with that subject, such as I have with this hawk that has lived in this area for many years now. Having a repeatable situation and a familiar subject has benefits that cannot be understated, giving one the ability to change compositions, tweak them, and re-shoot. This allows one to try new ideas with entirely new compositions not first imagined. This male Red Tailed hawk lives in one of the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, typical of many of his kind. The day this shot was taken was after a night of very dry snowfall and bitter cold with little wind. The cold dry snow deposited a loose layer that would kick up under the wing beats of this hawk. I had not expected this, but once I saw it I soon incorporated it into my shooting strategies for that day. To gain power for the hawk in the composition, I knew I would need to get low so as to be looking up at him, even though he was only inches above the ground. I ended up positioning the camera eight feet below his level by placing the camera down a hill so that it was looking up at him. All ground clutter behind him was simultaneously eliminated by this upwards aiming shooting angle. The break in the trees in the background was incorporated in at the time of shooting as a visual exit point, to add background interest, and to create a feeling of depth going back into the picture. I feel this image turned out to be one of the better ones of the day.

Equipment Used: Canon 1D Mark IV, 600mm f/4 lens, 1/1250s, f/4, ISO 400.

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