My luck holds

So after December’s roadside encounter with an eagle, I decided I just need to keep the G9 with the 100-400mm on the passenger seat anytime I’m driving to do photography. Maybe even if I’m not because you just never know.

These first two happened when I was out to explore for abandonment, but who wouldn’t stop for this?

It was higher up than the December eagle and the tree itself was farther off the road, but still workable even though I cropped more for the final photos. Because it was out in the open under basically dull, overcast skies, I didn’t have to push the ISO much. Running it through Topaz Sharpen AI brought out so much detail, too. Really amazing.

But not all was perfect. This next photo is an example of me having a “doh!” moment – I switched to my wildlife custom mode, but forgot to move the drive to burst. Don’t know why – both switches are in the same place. As a result this is the only take off shot I got. Doh!

But it works despite the big branch in front and taught me a lesson about camera management. Here’s another day, another tree and another eagle –


Way more branches, but since I actually got out of the car for this one, I could position myself so the eagle’s face was at least clear of them. Of course as soon as I got to a better spot, it decided to fly away. I hadn’t even gotten the camera up to my eye yet! But hey, it’s better than nothing I guess. I should get a bumper sticker that says – I BRAKE FOR EAGLES!

So since this is such a short post, I have two tips for eagle photography.

First is that winter eagles are much easier to find and photograph. First because there aren’t leaves on the trees, but also because these guys have a lot of time on their hands. Uh, talons? Seriously though, winter is a time when they aren’t busy with the kids and all the extra hunting feeding them requires. Not to mention sticking closer to the nest which and not roaming as far. They also aren’t busy fixing up the nest and engaging in pair bonding rituals, so hanging out in trees is basically what they do.

Second is that you need to overexpose in order to get the head and tail looking right. In this second shot you can see some yellowish color coming through and that should be there as well as almost totally white shades as well. They really are white, but if you don’t overexpose by about a stop, they will look gray and muddy. It’s the same principle as photographing snow – the camera meter is trying to make it 18% gray which is how meters work. If your subject is lighter than 18% gray in tonal value, overexposing is the way to go. The opposite is true for subjects or scenes that are darker than 18% gray, underexpose to get those deep and rich instead of thin and watery.

With winter in full swing, I am hopeful that I’ll come across more winter eagles and be ready for them!


3 thoughts on “My luck holds

Add yours

  1. Bald eagles are amazing – in part because of size, in part because of dramatic coloring. Near me, one New Year’s Ady, a number of us took a boat tour with a park ranger who took us to the local bald eagle area – lots of them! It was amazing to see.

    1. They absolutely are. Very cool that you found so many. I never get tired of seeing them even though now it’s quite often. If I kayak from the dam furthest up river down to the furthest down, I travel through 3 pairs’ territories. One for each dam, basically. The local pair was in the tree in the backyard the other day and junior did a fly by. Kids!

      1. Those danged kids! Photo bombing! Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun kayaking and birding (and turtling, too).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: