Common Kestrel Taking Off

Common Kestrel Taking Off

One of my favorite birds, the Common Kestrel, is a small raptor that's always impressive to observe. In this photo we can see a female (easily noticeable since she has the same spotted pattern on her head as on the rest of her bodies, while the males have grey heads) the moment she's taking off from a sign post.

What do I like about this photo? The beautiful subject, of course, in a very dynamic pose. You can see the wings being opened, one leg (with the amazing claws) in the air, and the look of determination in the eyes. The glitter in the eye is always a good thing in a photo. I used a fast shutter speed (1/2500 of a second) to freeze the action, which is important here since the Kestrel is a very quick bird. I used an open aperture (f/6.3 - the most open my lens supports at the focal length of 400mm that I used) to have a shallow depth of field, so the subject is in focus and the background blurred out. This makes the Kestrel stand out in the photo. The background is a pleasing green-yellow-brown, with hints of blue at the top, so adds interest as well. To top this all off, there's a huge amount of details in this photo - you can zoom in quite a bit to individual feathers or the facial details.

What would I want to improve? The sign post is a bit ugly - in an otherwise pure-nature photo it stands out as man-made. A leaf would have been much preferable. Another small thing - if the Kestrel would have made eye contact this photo would have been even more impressive.

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