The Other Side of Wildlife Photography

I have made many images of wild animals showing the
posterior view of the subject. It is in fact easier to make flying or
running shots from the rear if and when you are using manual focus and I
used primarily manual focus. I became well-know enough for my “rear
view” images that eventually I had a photo editor ask me for a rear
view flight shot of a hawk which I provided easily and it was indeed

Rear view flight shots of birds, from take off, to high flight, to
hovering and landing, in my opinion work well photographically.

While it is easier to focus track them from behind while using manual
focus, auto focus usually tracks better when they are flying at you.
It prejudges the movement of the subject when it is coming at you, and
auto focus will keep pace with your camera movement when you are
panning side to side movement.

Red-tailed Hawk bursting into flight.

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Rough-legged Hawk doing the same.


Red-tailed Hawk preparing to kill a male Ring-necked Pheasant.


Female Northern Harrier in flight.


Bald Eagle landing on the snow with a fish.


I think most viewers would agree that a rear view of a male
Sharp-tailed Grouse during the performance of its courtship ritual, is


Perched birds are less acceptable from the posterior.  Of course that
never stopped me.

The Implied action of eating bird seed, and the obvious action of
singing, help these images to hold some interest.

Chipping Sparrow (I believe) and Song Sparrow.



This male Red-breasted Merganser photo is also aided by the fact that
the subject is doing something.

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Rear images of perched or standing birds, work better if the bird
artfully bends its head back towards the camera. It ceases being a
rear shot, even thought it is in fact, a rear shot.

Male Canvasback Duck.  Notice his tail feathers have “molted” off.

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American Water Pipit (alpine race)

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Double-crested Cormorant

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Mammals are obviously the sort of animals which we have a closer
relationship to than birds.

Part of one eye shows in this photo and that fact actually slightly
elevates the usefulness this image of a Thirteen-lined Ground

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These images of American Bison, Mountain Goat, Pronghorn and Bighorn
Sheep, are all helped by the fact that there is some action to grab
the viewer‘s attention,  be it running or just walking.

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I thought I would finish today’s post with a photo that says it all
when it comes to illustrating “the finish“.  Not to be taken

Birds like this Red-tailed Hawk, will often lighten their load just
before lift off.


I have often said that as a photographer, I will photograph anything
and I mean anything.

Happy Trails,


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