Flying Falcon

Flight of the Falcon

I wasn’t very satisfied with my in-flight shots so far. Sure, once in a while one came out decently, but more out of luck than because I actually knew what I was doing. When I met the very sympathetic Falconer Gerrit van Zandvoort of Valkerij Rijssen , I asked if I could join one of their weekly trainings, just to practice the in-flight shots. I was positively surprised when he immediately agreed enthusiastically.

So, a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, I went to Rijssen. There were only a promising 2 people there when I arrived at the training in a local park. Both photographers :-).
I had good hopes that I could really witness the training quite .. eh… quietly..
But then…. some 300 pupils of a primary school came charging up onto the field… Gosh….

Must say, I was very impressed by one teacher who watched the tripod with the 500 mounted on it like a hawk (I had actually forgotten about it while shooting the wonderful birds with the other camera), when it got surrounded by dozens of school kids, lecturing them about being careful, polite etc. Hurray, for ‘old-fashioned’ moral!

It took all of my patience to be honest, to teath-grittingly see these beautiful birds fly, but always with one or the other school kid as background.

Then, Gerrit whispered “Stay put, we’ll train the young Falcons when they’ll all be gone”. And so they did. I was impressed by the dedication of the Falconers and the time and effort they put into the well-being of the birds. One of the young Falcons took off, soaring through the sky and it took the Falconers 1 hour of running after it, to persuade it to come back. As a side-line I must mention that this particular Falconry doesn’t practice ‘starving’ the birds forcing them to do anything for food; these birds are well nourished and pampered to bits. It’s up to them if they want to co-operate.. eh.. or not :-)).

I was watching a magnificent Eagle Owl meanwhile and I can tell you; it’s kind of psychedelic experience staring into the eyes of that beautiful Owl for an hour when he’s constantly staring back, turning his head 180 degrees while doing so. I felt a bit hypnotized afterwards. And who knows! Maybe I still am… 🙂

500mm Handheld



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