Photography of Roy Thoman

I don’t always get the photo!

I needed to get a good photo of a red shoulder hawk. I was at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management area a few weeks ago and I saw a nice one. The hawk was hunting in a location that would make it easy to get a good photo. So when I needed to get a red shoulder, I thought I would return to the TWMA. Hopefully my friend, the red shoulder hawk, would still be there. I knew it was a long shot; things rarely work out the way we want them to. I arrived at the Tosohatchee in the morning to take advantage of the morning light. I drove to the place where the he had been hunting on my previous trip. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen. I drove deeper into the TWMA to maybe find another hawk. I did see a kestrel, but he was too far away to get a good photo. I thought this may be a good time to go back and check on my red shoulder friend. I drove back to his hunting grounds and still no hawk. I still had lots of time, so I thought I would drive around and see what else I might find. I only got a few yards and I saw a pretty swallowtail butterfly on a thistle. I got out of the car and started to photograph the butterfly.

Tosohatchee WMA_040313_0290

I took quite a few photos when I finally looked around me. There was not just the one butterfly; there were 15 – 20 of them on thistles all around me.

Tosohatchee WMA_040313_0206

I was having fun with the butterflies when I heard my hawk calling close by. For the longest time I could only hear it calling to its mate. Then I saw it flying over the trees. The hawk was heading toward the area that I had seen him in before. I followed his flight through the trees. I was looking through the trees and I saw him. He landed in a dead tree. The tree that he landed on, although it was in plain sight, it was way too far away to get a good photo. We sat and watched each other for the longest time.

Tosohatchee WMA_040313_0299

He looked at me and I looked at him. He must not have been totally looking at me. He jumped off of his tree and down to the ground, as if he found something to pounce on. I watched for the longest time, but I never saw him again that day. I failed on this trip to get my hawk photo, but just because you fail at your main objective, that doesn’t mean the whole trip needs to be a failure. Even though I wasn’t able to take any great photos, I still saw lots of cool things and had a great time in the field!

35 responses

  1. Jerry

    What you did get are great.


    April 19, 2013 at 12:36 am

    • Thank You Jerry! I was lucky to find so many things to photograph that day. It doesn’t always happen that way.


      April 24, 2013 at 10:07 am

      • Jerry

        I’m with you 100%. Some days I come home and delete all that I had taken. πŸ˜‰


        April 24, 2013 at 10:21 am

      • So true. I sometimes find it hard to use the delete key though.


        April 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

  2. Don

    Beautiful Roy. Life-giving and uplifting.


    April 19, 2013 at 4:30 am

    • Thank you Don! We need to take what we get sometimes. Even if it’s not always what we were looking for.


      April 24, 2013 at 10:09 am

  3. Wonderful story and captures! Thanks! πŸ˜€


    April 19, 2013 at 6:53 am

    • Thank You Jackie! It would have been nice to capture my hawk image, but it was nice to have a great day in the field.


      April 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

  4. They are stunning πŸ™‚


    April 19, 2013 at 7:52 am

    • Thanks Cindy! I’m sure that your going to find some way cool places to photograph in your new home. πŸ™‚


      April 24, 2013 at 10:15 am

  5. Great photos of butterflies! πŸ™‚


    April 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

    • Thank you Turqsova! The butterflies were great! It was lots of fun photographing them.


      April 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

  6. Lovely series of photos, Roy! πŸ™‚


    April 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

    • Thank You Calee! It really is a good day when so many things find their way in front of your lens!


      April 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

  7. LOVE the second butterfly picture, it is magical.


    April 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    • Thank You Jason! That was one of the first times that I was able to photograph butterflies that were not just passing through. If I’m lucky I usually get one maybe two photos before they move on.


      April 24, 2013 at 10:34 am

  8. Like others, I think the second butterfly picture is truly splendid. And wow, so many creatures, lucky you!


    April 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    • Thank you Sarah! The poor butterfly on the right is so tattered and torn. It looks like it’s been through a lot.


      April 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm

  9. LB

    This post is exactly what I meant when I posted Unexpected Results! That second butterfly shot is amazing!! Truly! If I’d come home with only that one, I’d be thrilled.


    April 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    • Thanks LB! It is very exciting when you get great unexpected results! Your sunlit grass is a great unexpected result.


      April 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

  10. I would say you had a very successful day. The photos are wonderful. I especially love the delicacy of the thistles and the butterflies.


    April 25, 2013 at 3:44 am

    • Thank You Gallivanta! Yes it was a successful day! It was fun too!


      April 29, 2013 at 11:21 am

  11. How lovely to see so many beautiful butterflies in one place. Worth missing the hawk to get those.


    April 26, 2013 at 11:03 am

    • Thank you Rachael! It was a good find for sure. Yes I would say that it was worth not getting a photo of my hawk.


      April 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

  12. I think it is a great collection of pictures!


    April 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    • Thank You rabirius! I had lots of fun getting them!


      April 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

  13. diversifolius

    Really great pictures! i should start growing some thistle πŸ™‚ – never seen so many swallowtails together!


    April 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    • That was the most swallowtails that I have ever seen in one place. I don’t think thistles are not on the top of anyone’s list of garden flowers. The butterflies seem to really like them though. If you look up photos of butterflies you will find that a lot of them are on thistles. So if you want some butterflies maybe you should plant some thistles.


      May 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm


    You certainly got these very well!!


    May 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    • Thank You! It would have been nice to get a good hawk photo. But it was great to see all of the other things too.


      May 6, 2013 at 12:02 am


        You are very talented. Don’t lament yesterday, there is always tomorrow!


        May 7, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      • Thank you! That’s so true.


        May 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

  15. their mother forgot to teach them to be polite or they are bashful.


    August 2, 2013 at 11:28 am

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