Northern Harrier, Female=Repost

I was pleasantly surprised as I was looking through the view finder at this hawk. I had been hear her call for some time so approached the area slowly. When I got set up I could see her breath. Amazing. First time.
I was reminded of a lovely photo Hans had posted sometime ago of a little song bird and that little bird’s breath. Here is my attempt.

I was not impressed with the perch, an old small mill log that washed up into the marsh. it was perched up on top of a much old rooted stump.

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Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
R5, 500mm + 1.4 Ext., f/5.6, 1/1000, ISO 1600. LR, and Topaz Denoise AI. After I darkened the image I needed to bring the puffs of breathe back up along with the hawk.

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That’s so amazing! Such beautiful details of the bird. And after reading your description I’m glad my eyes weren’t fooling me about seeing the birds breath! Awesome!

Wonderful!! Great detail on the bird with a lovely BG, and the breath is amazing! I think you could crop from the right and bottom to make the bird more prominent and the perch less so. A subtle gradient burn from the bottom could help minimize the eye from following the pole out of the frame.

At least its not perched on a fire hydrant!

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Pretty Cool shot. Well composed. I agree with Diane with respect to the bottom. Nice interaction.

Hi David
Getting a photograph of this Harrier breath is amazing. The eye contact, coloring and feather detail look very nice. I agree with Diane and David Schoen on the crop. Nice work.

A very cool image, David. The perch wouldn’t be my favorite either, but the bird makes up for it. I’ve only seen this a couple of times-once years ago when a Red-winged Blackbird was singing. Unfortunately, I was just starting back then and the image quality wouldn’t satisfy me these days.

I am not sure if the gradient burn worked out but I gave it a try. Here is a little different crop. Photo is down to about 20 % of original.

I was out in the area a few days later and lowered the sawmill log. It was resting between the old roots of a great big upturned stump. Much better.


Must have been chilly, she’s tucked up a foot for warmth! Terrific photo. The re-edit with the crop works really well. She’s a beauty!

Hi David,
Love seeing the bird’s breath with open mouth. As you mention not the greatest perch and the repost is an improvement. Nice moment captured.