Eyes of a Killer

Who says that working from home doesn’t have its own adventures? Happily typing away on an email, I got a text message from Big Boy. “There is a Hawk in our driveway”. While pulling into our driveway with the car, he spottet the bird of prey eating away at a fresh kill direct in front of our garage. Only good, that the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the 40-150mm F/2.8 with the attached 1.4 tele converter was just a grip away…..and then get up close with the eyes of a killer.

“DO NOT EXIT THE CAR”, I texted back to Big Boy, while grabbing the camera. While slowly approaching a window, I turned it on (battery was charged), checked ISO and shutter speed. With moving birds you need a very short shutter speed. I started shooting out of our living room window, then carefully opened up the front door. We have a thread curtain in front, to keep the flies out. Slowly sticking the lens through the threads, I snapped away.

The Hawk saw me (or rather the lens), without any doubt. But as I kept retreated, he just kept eating the dove he had just killed. The Hawk didn’t even escape when eventually Big Boy exited the car. Our distance to him was less than 10 feet. Amazing.

I sticked along, waiting for the Hawk to fly away at the end of his meal, set the drive mode to continuous in order to make sure to have a fighting chance to capture the moment.

In the end I managed to get him taking off, with the mirror of my Vespa scooter just sticking into the image, but barely missing the bird flying away, the rest of its victim in the fangs.

Really worth mentioning is that the brave and fearless Significant Other volunteered to clean away the mess afterwards.

So, home office has its adventures after all. And luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Have your camera always charged and know how to operate it under stress. It might just pay off once in a while….

Have a great Monday!


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35 thoughts on “Eyes of a Killer

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  1. Brilliant shots, especially the final one. Several years ago we heard a huge thud in our back garden and dashed to the window to see a similar hawk to yours, having just taken out a pigeon and plucking merrily away. It stayed for several minutes busily working on its dinner and occasionally glancing across at us. I got quite a few decent pictures but they mysteriously disappeared from my PC. Gutted, but not quite like the pigeon.

  2. Your photos are magnificent, catching this bird in the act! I love the clarity of your shots and the details of the bird’s expressions. So glad your camera battery was charged and the camera was handy!

  3. Always great when it works out. You are so right, if you are going to try to take photos of birds, you have to start slowly and snap on each step along the way. So many times, I made the mistake of trying to get a better shot, before I even took one, only yo have the bird(s) scatter and not have any shots. Greta luck getting a hawk that close. Thanks for sharing Marcus. Allan

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Allan. My first images out of the living room windows weren’t really great, but at least I had bagged them before moving to the door. Always get the first shot, regardless. Happy day! Marcus

    1. Thanks, Ian, so much appreciated! I heard that in Germany this is happening too. My neighbor told me that a (probably the same) hawk snatched a bird out of his garden while he was sitting there the other day…Crazy

  4. Fantastic images of this hawk! In my backyard I sometimes see a hawk perched up high in the tree branches. Occasionally, there are scattered bloody feathers on the lawn, but I have yet to see the hawk doing its work.

  5. Wow. What a remarkable set of images. Seems the stars were right for this photo taking opportunity for you! And your tips on being prepared are well said too. All of the shots are great, but the first one has an intensity that is haunting, IMHO.

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