Epitome of Grace

© Robert G. Stalnaker

Epitome of Grace

Uploaded: April 17, 2008


One of the most beautiful raptors, and certainly the most graceful, this Swallow-tailed Kite is hunting over these treetops where it picks off its prey and sometimes goes on the trunk to do the same. To give an idea of size, its wingspan is the same size of the Great Egret, yet slightly less than half the egret's weight--this helps its flight be buoyant and graceful.

f/7.1, 1/2500, ISO 640, AWB, spot, -1/3, lens Canon EF 400mm L, handheld, Wekiwa Springs State Park, FL, 4/17/08.

Exif: F Number: 7.1, Exposure Bias Value: -0.33, ExposureTime: 1/2500 seconds, Flash: did not fire, compulsory flash mode, ISO: 640, White balance: Auto white balance, FocalLength: 400.00 mm, Model: Canon EOS 40D


Robert G. Stalnaker April 17, 2008

In the words of John James Audubon...

"The flight of this elegant species of Hawk is singularly beautiful and protracted. It moves through the air with such ease and grace, that it is impossible for any individual, who takes the least pleasure in observing the manners of birds, not to be delighted by the sight of it whilst on wing. Gliding along in easy flappings, it rises in wide circles to an immense height, inclining in various ways its deeply forked tail, to assist the direction of its course, dives with the rapidity of lightning, and, suddenly checking itself, reascends, soars away, and is soon out of sight. At other times a flock of these birds, amounting to fifteen or twenty individuals, is seen hovering around the trees. They dive in rapid succession amongst the branches, glancing along the trunks, and seizing in their course the insects and small lizards of which they are in quest. Their motions are astonishingly rapid, and the deep curves which they describe, their sudden doublings and crossings, and the extreme ease with which they seem to cleave the air, excite the admiration of him who views them while thus employed in searching for food."
-----------------John James Audubon, circa 1830s #902770

April 17, 2008

Perfect shot! What DID you pay that bird to pose so perfectly?? Just lovely...another great series of photos with the kites. Thank you!!! #5800438

Linda A. Braddock level-classic April 17, 2008

Robert, Fantastic Capture! Beautiful!
Linda #5800872

Robert G. Stalnaker April 17, 2008

Thanks so much for visiting Stephanie and Linda. LOL Stephanie! Actually, re the "pose" there were treetops immediately to the right of my frame here and you can see the treetops to the left, so the kite was only in a shooting area for a brief flash--I didn't even know if I had it focused when I hit the shutter knowing I only had a minisecond to shoot. I had seen the kites all week in the same area and did shoot about thirty frames earlier so I was waiting for that "money shot" and ended up getting three I was happy with. #5801319

Michael Umbreit April 17, 2008

Robert - Beautiful capture!! I would love to capture a shot like this! - Mike #5801718

Robert G. Stalnaker April 17, 2008

Thx Mike, but you certainly have already with so many of your BIF photos. I still can't get over those owl shots. T #5802084

Michael Lynch September 10, 2008

Fantastic capture and writeup ! #6439551

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