Photo Stories

Photo Story: Backyard Red-Tailed Hawk

A Red-tailed Hawk frequently visits my backyard.  My wife fills three bird feeders daily that draws a large population of birds.

Back Yard Red-Tailed Hawk

Back Yard Red-Tailed Hawk

This Red-tailed Hawk sees my backyard as his hunting ground.  Several attempts by my wife to scare off the hawk have failed.  He is quite the persistent hunter.

On this particular day, he was perched in one of my cherry trees scanning the yard for birds.  I took this photograph of him just as he was taking off from the tree.

I find that Red-tailed Hawks are very flighty raptors.  I usually have only a few seconds to take the photo before the hawk flies off.  I took this picture through a window in the house so I had a little more time before he flew away.

Photo Details

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II Lens
Focal Length: 400mm
ISO:  1250
Aperture:   f/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/800 of a second
Exposure Compensation: 0
Lighting: Sunny Afternoon.


  • Cropped the photo in Lightroom 5.
  • Applied the Lighten/Darken Center and Detail Extractor Filters in Color Efex Pro 4.
  • Used the Hummingbird Wings II filter in Topaz Clarity to add contrast and pop to the photo.
  • Selectively removed noise from the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
  • Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014 reusing the layer mask from the previous step.
  • Used Viveza 2 to selectively lighten the darken the image.

Written by Martin Belan

Related Blog Posts
Bird Photography at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Birds in Flight Photography with the Canon 100-400 Mark II Lens
Backyard Bird Photography Tips



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