Photo Essay: Eagles Galore

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle with talon shadows © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle with Talon Shadows:

This image is very important to me as it was the first really nice Bald Eagle image I added to my repertoire.  Most of my Bald Eagle imagery is from the Mississippi River in the dead of winter.  It’s a cold way to get photographs but if you are after images of specific species, you have to go where big numbers are.  Once you find a good group, then comes the tricky part.  Exposing properly for adult Bald Eagles.  Shooting in full manual is a great way to expose properly but for those a bit weary of full manual, aperture priority can be used but it’s important to monitor your histograms ensuring your exposure is correct as the day goes on.

Camera Body & Lens- Canon Rebel XT, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f5.6

Shutter Speed- 1/500th

ISO- 100

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle with fish © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle with Fish:

A classic Bald Eagle image after the hunt.  If you ever find yourself at a spot with lots of Bald Eagles, it’s only a matter of time before you start to experience them fighting over a recently caught fish.  One of the things I like about this image is how intent this bird looks on bugging out of the area.  The position of the wings and the general look of this Raptor in the photo has always spoke to me.  Natural predation at its finest!

Camera Body & Lens- Canon 1D Mark II, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f8

Shutter Speed- 1/2500th

ISO- 400

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle with Reflection © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle with Reflection:

I was extremely happy the moment I reviewed this image on the back of my camera.  I found a spot away from the crowd one winter where there was an open hole in the ice.  A small group of Bald Eagles had found the spot before me and were nailing fish in open water.  Setting up low at the river’s edge, I was able to position myself so the leafless trees were in the background making the water appear very dark.  Because the hole of open water was small, the water appeared calm which created the nice reflection.  It just took a while for the bird to hit the spot.  That’s the key in bird photography, spending time.  Most all of my Bald Eagle images are the result of full days in the cold, waiting and shooting.

Camera Body & Lens- Canon Rebel XT, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f5.6

Shutter Speed- 1/800th

ISO- 400

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Extreme Close-up © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle Extreme Close-up:

This is a photograph that my dad absolutely loves.  As you can see, I typically am shooting with my 500mm for Bald Eagles but there are times when they come very very close.  This particular Bald Eagle image is the result of a successful hunt where shortly after, the bird turned and flew directly in-front of us at a very close distance.  I pulled my 500mm up, hand-held and fired away.  Having recently tweaked my exposure, I was able to get a sharp, properly exposed image that fills the frame.  To this day, my dad sees this image and still can’t believe I hand-held the giant lens and obtained such a nice image.  Practice and preparation is huge but a little luck helps too!

Camera Body & Lens- Canon 1D Mark III, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f5.6

Shutter Speed- 1/2500th

ISO- 400

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle in Warm Evening Light © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle in Warm Evening Light:

Any good photographer knows, lighting is everything.  This image is at the end of the day when the sun was low.  My rule of thumb for Bald Eagles in flight is to strive for shutter speeds of 1/1200th or faster.  This is plenty of speed to capture what’s needed.  As the light fades, it’s important to increase your ISO to keep your shutter speeds high enough to capture the speed.  This was one of the last hunts of the evening and I was set up and ready for it.  The result was a great image with warm light from the sun and the reflecting water lighting the bird up.  It sure was cold, but the image made it all worthwhile.

Camera Body & Lens- Canon 1D Mark III, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f5.6

Shutter Speed- 1/1600th

ISO- 400

 

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Perched in the Pines © Josh Haas

Bald Eagle Perched in the Pines:

Ahhh, another image full of memories.  This photograph was from atop a tour boat in search of whales and glaciers in Alaska.  Because the weather was horrible and the seas were extreme, we were stuck in the safety of the bay which resulted in no whales and even less glaciers.  This was quite disappointing and while I didn’t plan on Bald Eagle images in horribly dull lighting, the stars aligned as we approached the rocky shoreline.  I ended up in the perfect position.  It’s not too often you find yourself looking eye to eye with a perched Bald Eagle.  While the lighting was dull, this was perfect for easily exposing this beautiful bird amongst the green Pines.

Camera Body & Lens- Canon 1D Mark II, 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4x extender

Aperture- f5.6

Shutter Speed- 1/320th

ISO- 640

To see more of Josh’s work, get tips on photography, or to sign up for workshops and trips please visit www.glancesatnature.com.

Josh Haas

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