Is that a natural-looking pole?

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When I’m driving down the road and see two hawks together, I get a good feeling about what’s going to happen next! And in this case it most certainly did!

Krahnpix is all about wildlife and nature photos so it makes sense that the scenes I photograph should also be wild and natural – right?

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I had my assistant adjust the fan to ruffle some of the feathers … or maybe it was the wind. I can’t remember …

It’s easy for me to avoid zoos, pets and stuffed animals. On the other hand when I see an elk deep in a pristine national park, all the wild boxes quickly get checked. Still there are many times when the concept of wild gets complicated.

When a bear wanders around the ditch, I usually crop out the road  to make the photo look less civilized. That has, at times, given me pause. However, I know when I was at the scene it certainly felt wild and there was no doubt I was dealing with a wild animal. A road would just give it the wrong feel.

Last year I got another perspective on this subject during our trip to Yellowstone National Park. We watched a video about elk coming to a small tourist townsite called Mammoth to mate. Why would testosterone-loaded elk go to a tourist-infested location? Because they’ve always done that! It just so happens that humans liked the same location and put some buildings there a long time ago.

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It’s fun to play around with angles. By adjusting the photo to make the bottom board straight, the post turned at an angle which made the hawk lean into its stare. I left the wire in the bottom right corner since I was amused that it was the same angle as the tail feathers.

So every fall there is this crazy scenario of bull elk walking on paved streets chasing female elk and the odd tourist around parked cars. It’s not exactly ideal for anyone. The point of the video was quite simple – wildlife adapts to human activity in a creative dance.

Back on the prairies, my purist tendencies for having no evidence of humans didn’t last long when I started photographing hawks. The most natural spot for them to perch is on round bales or fences so I quickly accepted those objects as part of my natural wild scenes.

This past summer I took all these images of hawks on power poles and cringed when I saw the photos. The scene didn’t seem wild or natural! And yet, it’s a perfectly natural place for a hawk to look for prey in a prairie setting.

Have I convinced myself? Almost. Have I convinced you?

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I never tire of the intensity of that stare.

Krahnpix note. In case you are interested, I have added the uncropped versions of the two photos above so you could see what I started with.

DT6C2502 (1) DT6C2675 (1)

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Latest Comments

  1. Cornel A. says:

    All the photos are beautiful, but the last one (with your caption “I never tire of the intensity of that stare.”) is so, so beautiful!

    Like

  2. nliakos says:

    Great photos, Lyle. Those birds are beautiful.
    As for where they choose to perch, I guess we have to allow that they live in our world, just as we live in theirs. I also prefer shots that do not include man-made elements, but where I live (Maryland), even if there are no obvious human structures, the entire landscape has been adulterated by Homo sapiens for so long that there is little left that is truly wild anyway.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I find the hawks quite stunning. Humans have definitely changed the landscape. I guess that’s all the more reason to appreciate and preserve the remaining areas that haven’t been disturbed.

      Like

  3. whichwaynow101 says:

    Isn’t it great that we can crop out the distractions? I love both the before and after photos of the hawk. I cleaned up the background and cropped out the mimosa in my hand for my passport photo! Not exactly within your wildlife remit but fun!

    Like

  4. Scott Marshall says:

    absolutely love birds of prey and these are so sharp in detail and colour – fabulous Lyle

    Like

  5. Ad-libbed says:

    I think it’s inevitable that, at some point, the hand of man will intrude. It’s how you make it work that counts. In these shots, I don’t think it detracts from the subject at all. Tremendous shots.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Thanks. That makes sense and getting used to the idea is probably helps a lot too. Interestingly I found some snowy owls in almost identical setting today and decided it was natural.

      Like

  6. toughlittlebirds says:

    To me, nature photography is about capturing something true about nature. For most wild animals now, a major truth in their lives is that they are affected by and interacting with humans or human-made objects. To pretend that hawks only sit on trees or that the animals’ habitats aren’t cut up with roads would be false. Photographs like yours let us glimpse what it’s like to be a hawk – and here, that means getting ruffled by the wind on top of a telephone pole.

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    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Capturing something true about nature is a good description. You make some interesting points about the interaction with humans and their objects. While it’s less than ideal, the hawks don’t seem to have any problem using the non-native objects to help them hunt. It’s also interesting to think what it would be like to be a hawk.

      Like

  7. sagescenery says:

    Not only like, but love these photos!! So clear…such distinctive feather colors and markings…and intense expressions from the hawks!! The pole just adds to the mix nicely!! Well done!!

    Like

  8. Garden Walk Garden Talk says:

    To me, where ever hawks choose to perch is fine with me. I loved your shots on the hay bales, as so do I love these on the power poles. The hawks look regal.

    Like

  9. Alison says:

    What beautiful hawk photos! I try to avoid hand of man, too, but, when you have great subjects like these, you just have to shoot. I love that last shot of the hawk channeling Angelina Jolie with that leg pose!

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Yes, a natural habitat demands that I shoot where they choose to be otherwise coercing them to a different place would be unnatural. I may be biased but I thot of the two, the hawk did a better job of pulling it off!

      Like

  10. Honie Briggs says:

    The stare? What about that leg action? Absolutely stunning shots. Hawks have a thing for posing for you, don’t they?

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      The leg action is pretty impressive especially complementing the stare. This past summer the hawks seemed to be especially kind to me with their posing. I am grateful.

      Like

  11. anotherday2paradise says:

    Gorgeous capture, Lyle. Love the feather ruffle. 🙂

    Like

  12. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well of course with you being a member of the odd group of nature and wildlife photographers, (bunch of weirdos) you always want ‘everything’.
    You want the animal in great light, at the right time of day, in a flattering pose, and in a beautiful and natural setting.
    But… bewilderingly, the animals don’t seem to care about you getting terrific shots, they seem to mostly be concerned with living their lives. (how rude)
    So you take the photos and the subjects how you find them. It’s still an amazing wild hawk, maybe not in the exact best place for you, but it works for the bird. (stupid bird)

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Funny! Odd how the hawks would be more concerned about their survival than posing! And yes wanting it all does seem a bit much when you put it that way. That location works best for the bird. I was most certainly pleased to find them, especially in that light.

      Like

  13. janewalkerscards says:

    Great hawk captures. They land where they land…..it’s unfortunate that when most judges score photos of birds even those in their natural wooded environment, they rarely score better than a bird on a branch with a perfect simple background.
    Thanks for sharing your originals along with your finished photos. I enjoy your creativity.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You are certainly right about them landing where they land. I admit getting frustrated with the whole judging thing so I haven’t done that for awhile. Beauty can be found in many and varied ways.

      Like

  14. flyingbirdman says:

    I sometimes go through this dilemma too but than i thought ,isn’t everything natural?..If Beavers building dams is nature than human buildings are also something made by a species,a weird species,but a species nonetheless.

    Like

  15. Mike Powell says:

    Your hawks look intense and fierce, and I think the “unnaturalness” of the power poles in no way detracts from that. Man may try to tame the environment, it seems, but the hawk has the upper hand (foot?). The details of the hawks in your shots are amazing. In your cropped images, I like the fact that the man-made elements are primitive and industrial-looking–I don’t think they would have been as effective if the hawk had perched on a car, for example, with shiny metal and bright colors.

    Like

    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Yes I love that intense and fierce pose they give me – it makes them so much fun to shoot. You raise a good point about the primitive and industrial looking pole fits the wild look. That makes me like it more. I appreciate the insight.

      Like

  16. Victor Rakmil says:

    Wonderful photographs.
    Personally I like the idea of no hand of man, the bird is unbounded, its naturally flew to a high point etc.

    Like

  17. mihrank says:

    Reblogged this on mihran Kalaydjian and commented:
    Is that a natural-looking pole?

    Like

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