The Moment

The moment: after the catch, before the kill.

This is the last Kestrel pic, I promise. I was watching this fellow on the sign when he flew off. I was about to move on when he came back with the Vole. I spent the next 20 minutes shooting a few hundred images of him devouring the Vole. I won’t post those images, probably won’t save them for long. I much prefer the behavior of Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns where they swallow Voles hole.

But this image spoke to me on an emotional level–the freeze frame before the feast…

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What do you feel, emotionally when viewing this image? It’s certainly not art, but perhaps it’s a documentary point in time of nature’s reality?

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Oh David, you caught the moment! It is like the Vole is looking with pleading eyes, and the Kestrel is reasoning with him that he is hungry. So glad you didn’t leave too soon. Very emotive image. I can’t help but to feel sorry for Vole, yet I know that this is the cycle of nature. If you have more on the bottom, I’m wondering if have the bottom of the lettering would help. I’m sure the word is “area”, but if the word was there I think it would keep the viewer from thinking about it and concentrate even more on “The Moment” with the two. Thanks for sharing.

Shirley, yes, I have that very feeling–sorry for the Vole yet knowing this is what nature needs to do.

Thanks for the comment about the sign. I’ve replaced the original version with a larger version. Thanks.

Oh, yes, that works for me. I don’t know why that was bothering me, just now having all of the letters up there, when I was pretty sure the word was “area”. Yes, nature shows are even hard for me to watch, because I I am always pulling for the prey, rather than the predator. I know they have to eat, but it is still hard to watch. You really caught the moment for sure, with the two looking at each other other.

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I really like this as a documentary image, David. The open eye of the vole and the claw holding the vole and tilt of the Kestrel’s head all work together. I notice the Kestrel is banded. If you can get enough images to get the numbers off the band, you should report it to the USGS for tracking.

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Oh man this makes me so glad I’m not on the bottom of the food chain. Voles support so much ecosystem in their tiny bodies and great numbers, but I can’t help but feel sorry for this one. And glad for the kestrel. Tug of war in my heart.

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Hello, I agree with all the comments already made. This tells a very powerful story in one image whether it is documentary and/or art! Well captured!

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Hi David,

The title suits the image very well in my opinion.

The look from the Kestrel…well…it appears to be showing an emotion for the Vole like: “Sorry, Nothing Personal”.
The look from the Vole is: “Just Make it Quick, Please!”

It is an emotional moment, for the Kestrel, the Vole and the Viewer!

The word “AREA” seems to be a little distracting because it leaves the viewer wondering what other words there are that would add context, at least that’s the way it was for me, my attention does keep going back to the emotion of the scene though.
Not suggesting to get rid of the word, I’m just sharing my thoughts.

I can imagine this image becoming a card or sign with a catchy caption or phrase.

Great capture, David! :slight_smile:

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Maybe you don’t consider this art (What is art?? I think that many of our fellow nature photographers are more or less obsessive, or frustrated, seeing the ungoing discussions about nature photography being art or not), but I think that this is much more than a documentary image.
You recorded a very special moment, the minute between life and death. From the comments you read that this image evokes emotions. And this tells something about ourselves: why these emotions for a Vole, why not for the insect or the caterpiller in a bird’s bill? Why probably less for a Vole, and more for a wildebeest caught by a crocodile while crossing the Mara river?
This is nature in a nutshell.


Wow, what a moment. Mother Nature is a harsh mistress.

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I agree with all that was said. You captured the cruelty of nature. We see this in animals, but it certainly crosses over to us humans. The image brings emotion, which is what we are creating. Nice job!

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I don’t see it as cruelty at all. The falcon is not taking delight in possibly tormenting the vole. Neither is the vole probably terrified. Cruelty is purely a human sport in my experience.