Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, CA
I spotted this gorgeous raptor sitting in the top of a dead tree from a quarter of a mile away, and thought I would never be able to reach it before it flew away. As I stealthily rushed down the trail, I could see that hikers were passing right under this tree without noticing the magnificent bird above their heads! When I reached the tree, I purposely had my back turned while I slowly lifted my camera up to my face. Then I turned in slow motion toward the bird, focused, and began shooting. The falcon didn't care for the clicking of the shutter, and this shot was taken as the fastest animal on earth was lifting off to soar over the cliffs in search of prey.
Slight adjustments were made in sharpness and contrast.
Nikon D-5100 and telephoto lens