Black Kites are a Hokkaido resident, and they inhabit the same land and air space with the Steller’s Sea Eagle and the White-tailed Eagles that frequent the pack ice in Hokkaido during Winter Photo Tours. They are opportunist hunters, some say scavengers, and to survive, they take birds, bats, insects, rodents, and roadkill. They become more aggressive and honed hunters during January and February because food is scarce in Hokkaido's sub-arctic weather conditions. Even though they are opportunistic hunters first, the males still demonstrate their prowess in the hunt, active competitors with their raptor brethren. As a Hokkaido Winter Photography professional Workshop Leader, I know I need to capture emotion in my wildlife photographic subjects, and for the Black Kite and other raptors, that means capturing them at the same eye-line level as my 800mm Nikon lens which almost allows you to see the world from the perspective of a Black Kite. Aerial fights for territory and prey coupled with take off and landings are among the more dynamic photo ops that the predatory birds of Hokkaido offer. To truly make the most of photographing the Black Kites at those moments, rather than photographing them with your lens looking up, I recommend either at eye line or I know many vantage points on beaches and cliffs, so we have a view of their fishing ground and the raptors below. At just the right moment, from a pristine stillness, the Kites spread their wings wide almost as if stretching before the flurry of movement associated with defying earth’s gravity and taking flight. Those moments are the ones that are astounding when captured, and that we hope to share with you when you join a Blain Harasymiw Hokkaido Photo Tour.
On a recent Hokkaido Wildlife Photo Tour, I took the photo attached to this blog. With the Nikon D5, Nikon 800mm 5.6 lens and a Gitzo Tripod with the Wimberley Gimbal Head. My Settings were f11, shutter speed 1/2500.