Taking In A Cold Morning At The Pond
Yesterday morning I went down to a familiar pond to see if the eagles were out playing. This has been a weird year for the eagles. The pond that I go to has been frozen over for a lot of the winter, and the eagles never really seemed to show up. When I pulled up yesterday there were two eagles in a tree. In a few minutes there were four. One mature and three up and comers. The real stars of the day though were the herons. They were doing more fishing than the eagles were. They aren’t nearly as cool to photograph as they grab the fish, but they are fun to photograph.
The Eagle Grabs A Fish
One immature eagle did grab a fish while I was there yesterday morning. The eagle swooped down into the light and did just what I hoped it would do. With the light so harsh from the back I needed the eagles or other birds to fly in just right. This eagle pretty much did that. No matter how many times I see the swoop and scoop it is still an amazing thing to see in person. Maybe if they are staying around for a while I can see this again before they fly back to wherever they are from.
Watching The Bald Eagles Of The Wabash Again
It has been a slow winter as far as bald eagles goes so far. That is until yesterday. I almost didn’t go down to the Wabash River because it has been so slow. I had other things that I wanted to get done. When I pulled up and saw a long mature eagle sitting in a tree I decided to stay a while and see what exactly was going to happen. The lone eagle was behind a branch, but sometimes you just have to wait a while to see what happens. Another eagle joined it, and they sat out along a branch almost posing for me. There was not great action photos yesterday, but this was enough to start the season.
Thoughts On The Tamron 150-600mm Lens
I knew when I bought this lens that it would not stack up to the Canon 600mm f/4. There is a reason there is a $10,000 difference between the two lenses. For some reason this lens so far does not seem to be functioning properly for me. When the subject is still it is okay. When the subject is in motion though there is a weird look to the image. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it is almost motion blur. I am shooting at a high enough shutter speed, but I did have the image stabilization on. Maybe that has something to do with it. I need to run another test with the IS off to see if that makes the image better.
My 17 Favorite Critter Photos of 2017
I really think that I had an amazing 2017 with the amount of cool critters that I was able to see and photograph. Almost off the bat I was able to capture a few photos of bald eagles grabbing fish out of the Wabash River. From there it was a fun year finding new and interesting wildlife to chase. After fruitlessly looking for a few years I was finally able to photograph a few owls as well. This was a fun year for wildlife, and here are a few of my favorites.
17. I spent a lot of my year waiting for eagles to do something. Often they would just sit in the trees doing nothing. At some point you start to get bored and you try and make an image out of that. Here the light was hitting the branches just right to make that work.
16. Usually I don’t use my iPhone when making photos of wildlife. Here in Ocean City, Maryland though I was able to do just that. While crabbing on a pier one of the crabs came right up to me. The phone was the only thing that I had available so I made the photo with it.
15. When we go to the Indy Zoo the first thing that the girls always want to do is to see the butterflies. Of course I have my camera so I go around and try and find something interesting to photograph. Here we found a female that was fending off many males. One male comes in close to the female here.
14. This year I finally made it up to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area. They were amazing to watch as they spent some time here before continuing south. Here one grouping takes off out of the marsh.
13. More fun at the zoo. While the kids watch the animals I like to have fun photographing them. I will probably not go on an African Safari in my life so I like to pretend that I am on one while I am there. It is fun to try and make photos of the animals that don’t look like they were made at the zoo.
12. I spend a lot of time in the winter waiting for bald eagles to do something. While I am waiting I am also looking for other things to photograph. Here a flock of geese came by in great formation giving me a good photo. I don’t know that I came away with a good eagle photo that day, but I did come away with a cool silhouette photo.
11. When I made this photo I called it “The Bald Eagles of the Apocalypse” With the sun lighting up the clouds behind the eagles that is what came into my mind for some reason. This is another example of me waiting for the eagles to do something. It sounds boring, but at times it can be fun coming up with shots while I am waiting. This is one of my favorites from those times. Continue reading “Top 17 Critter Photos of 2017”
Taking A Drive In The Morning
Yesterday they were working on my road making it impossible to drive back home during the early morning hours. After I dropped my daughter off at school I just went for a drive. I had no real idea of where I was going, but sometimes those are the best rides. I ended up out in the country by the windmills, but there was not much color there. I wound my way back towards town and thought about stopping at the soldiers home. The property is full of all kinds of trees that are in various stages of losing their leaves. There was not enough color to do big landscapes. I decided to focus on little pockets of light with a darker background. The idea was just to do some little studies of light throughout the woods. I don’t think that I will ever sell any of the photos that I made there, but it was fun to go out and just try and find little micro compositions. I had my 100-400 with me to allow me to get in tight. On a day when I needed to waste a little time it was a good way to do just that.
Making Photos In A Cemetery
I am not one to make gravestone photos. Many of the early subjects for photos I seem to have missed. As I was driving by this scene though I had an idea for what it would look like in post so I made the photo.
Follow the Contrails
Yesterday morning the only reason we had any light in the sky was the large amount of contrails present. As I saw this plane flying overhead I wanted to make a photo like this. Yet again this will not win any awards, but on a day of just making some photos it was one that I liked.
End With An Eagle
The morning ended with my just checking out some of my eagle spots. I had the idea of some fall eagle photos which I have not seen much of. As I pulled in to my best spot I saw an eagle flying over head. It was not mature yet, but an eagle already! With all of the leaves on the trees I struggled to find where he went. He finally moved to some dead branches so I could see him. After watching for about twenty minutes I realized that a beautiful mature eagle was in the same tree just under better cover. By the end of the morning I had seen three eagles flying around at different times. For this time of year that is better than I could expect. The light was not right for photos, but if one dove for the river I would have made one anyway. That did not happen though, and I ended up making this photo of the first eagle that I saw sitting in the tree. There is still plenty of time for eagle photos. That season has not even started yet. A couple of early eagle photos is never a bad thing though.
Vote For My Photo In The MiLBY’s!
Once again a photo of mine is up for the photo of the year in the MiLBY’s. Looking through the photos this year it is just cool to be mentioned with some of these photographers. Two years ago thanks to all of you I was able to win. You can vote here this year for my photo of Yoan Moncada signing for the fans in Indy. Yoan was the #1 prospect in baseball at the time, and was on his way from the Charlotte Knights up to the Chicago White Sox. It is cool to be honored, but even cooler to have a photo of someone on your favorite team get honored.
Preparing For a Trip
I usually use a baseball term when thinking about getting ready to leave for a trip. Getaway day in baseball is when the team leaves for their next city as soon as the game is over. For me it is a little different. It usually involves getting the kids to bed, and then preparing for me trip. Before I became serious about photography packing for a trip was easy. I would just throw some clothes in a bag and go. It was as simple as that. Now I agonize over lens and camera choices before I leave. I usually still have the one bag with clothes in it, but it also will have some extra photography gear stored in it as well. My multiple bags heading off make me feel like I am moving to a new house. For a multiple day tournament though you never know what you will need, or what you will want. Sometimes it is good to mix things up a bit, and I need to have everything somewhat near me.
The Geese Make Their Run
I made this photo as the geese were coming back north this past year. The mild winter really seemed to confuse the birds who didn’t know what to do. While waiting for some eagles to fly by this flock of geese flew over me. With the sky behind them it gave me an opportunity to make a photo I had been thinking about for a while. Early morning at the pond gives you many possibilities for photos. Always be ready for one that might fly by you.
The Week In Photos
Last week was really a busy week. The week was pretty much split down the middle between business and pleasure. I had a really busy first three days of the week with a golf tournament and baseball all thrown into three short days. From there it was all about the kids. Youth softball and a weekend full of everything that goes with a dance recital took up much of my time. It was amazing watching the girls get a reward for all of their hard work all year with the recital on the campus of Purdue University. You can see some of my favorite photos from last week here on my Exposure site. This coming week will be full of a lot of baseball. This time of the year that is the sport that is left. The baseball season for me will switch from college to the summer leagues soon so I want to get all of the college ball in while I can.
Still Having A Blast Photographing the Bald Eagles in Lafayette
No matter how many times I see them I still enjoy watching the bald eagles over Lafayette. They really are beautiful creatures, and they can put on quite a show when they want to. Today I just had bad timing. They all seemed to be stuffed when I showed up to the pond, and they were more intent on soaring in the high winds than fishing. No matter what it is still cool to see them flying around the Wabash. The bluebird sky made for a great backdrop. This unseasonably warm weather has some advantages to it.
The Eagle Butt Photo Nobody Wants to See
It is basketball season, and no matter how hard you try not to you still end up with ref butt photos when you are on the baseline. I would think that the wildlife equivalent of that is the photo above. The lone strike in range for me yesterday was performed with the eagle flying in the exact opposite direction. With the wind at the time coming straight at me I suspected that this would happen. I would rather have had the light, and I was gambling on the eagle turning my way to escape with their lunch. Of course the eagle went the opposite way with no other eagles in the pond area to force it back my way. Sometimes you gamble for the great photo and you lose.
More Than Just Eagles
I really photograph anything that looks interesting to me while down by the pond. Yesterday in addition to the eagles I photographed ducks, geese, and seagulls. The photo above has an interesting story to it. While sitting quietly on the shore waiting for the eagles to feed I heard a boat zipping down the Wabash. It slowed near the entrance to the pond I was at, and I was hoping that it would just look around before heading back to wherever it was going. It did not though, and seemed to move all through the pond scaring every living thing out of there. The only thing really close to me was this flock of ducks. When they took flight I let my shutter rip. They are really beautiful in flight, and this photo has a little bit of every part of their technique. This was not the photo that I went down there to make, but it was one that I liked.
The Week in Photos
Each week I compile some of my favorite photos into one Exposure post. This week I have no sports action again, but still some interesting photos. This was another good week for me. The eagles photos yesterday were just the icing on the cake. You can view my favorites from the week here. This might be my favorite posts yet. A lot of photos that I really like this week.
Continue reading “Wildlife on the Wabash”
The Bald Eagles Watch Over a Fiery Sky
Sometimes when I go out to photograph the eagles I don’t get that great action shot that I am looking for. I have been extremely lucky already this year so any good action I get the rest of the year will just be gravy. Of course when the getting is good you start to get spoiled, and you want to make a better picture than you did the last time out. You are completely at the mercy of the stomachs and eyesight of these eagles though. If they do not want to feed than you have just wasted some time. When that is happening I will try and make another picture. Here the sky was great behind these eagles so I went for more of a silhouette of the eagles as they sat perched on top of the trees. My 400mm lens is stuck at f/2.8 so getting a silhouette in decent light is a challenge. I was able to get there though, and I liked how this photo turned out.
Fighting For Your Dinner
I have not had much luck with the strikes right in front of me lately. I had a great run for a few days, but lately I have guessed wrong in where to be. Sometimes almost comically as I move around and the next strike is right in front of where I was. For the photo above the catch was too far away to photograph, but a fight over the catch started. That fight came right in front of me allowing me to make a few frames of it. I loved this one of the one eagle nearly getting away, but one talon keeping him close. You don’t expect some shots when you go out, and this was a great bonus. I had almost given in to the cold, but decided to stick it out a while. I am glad that I did. This struggle for food was something new at a place where I have started to feel that I can’t shoot anything new. Continue reading “The Bald Eagles of the Apocalypse”
Watching the Eagles on the Wabash
If you follow me on social media then you know that I have been having some fun photographing the bald eagles fishing on the Wabash River. The conditions have been perfect lately. Going down there you never know what to expect. Some days the eagles are fishing like crazy while you are there, and other times they just sit in the trees. Last week I was extremely lucky two days in a row as I witnessed a catch right in front of me. That is rare, but very welcome. The shot that you see above was on the second day as an eagle turned right towards me after pulling a large fish out of the river. It is the days like the one above that make you sit in the cold on the bad days waiting for eagles to hunt.
When It Does Not Go According to Plan
Some days things work in your favor like they did for the shot at the top of the post. Other days things happen just how you thought they might, but in the wrong direction. Had the eagle been flying at me when it made this grab it would have been a nice head on shot. The momentum would have carried the eagle right at me. As it was the eagle flew away, and so did my shot. I thought that instead of always showing the best shot I would show one that didn’t go as planned. It still works in a way, but what could have been. Last week in a post I talked about just how lucky you have to be to make a good image. Sometimes that luck goes the other way. It is all part of the game though. Continue reading “Where Eagles Dare”
The Bald Eagles Visit West Lafayette Again
I have been out to see the eagles a few times this year, but with limited success. I have seen them, and in the past I would have been firing away with my camera. I have become an eagle snob though, and I only want to see them when they are close enough to really make a good image of them. Today I went out after seeing some fantastic mature eagle shots that were made yesterday. So far this year that shot had eluded me. When I arrived at the Wabash River there was just one eagle in a tree, but it was a very beautiful mature eagle. That eagle made a couple of attempts to catch a fish with no success, but I made some images that I liked. As I was getting colder and wondering how long I would watch an eagle sit in a tree for another beautiful eagle showed up. It moved the first out of the tree, and then made a pass at the water. It grabbed a fairly large fish out of the water, and took off for the tree. The entire sequence took very little time, but it was amazing to see. I made a series of photos of the catch, but the one above was by far my favorite. Today also makes two straight days on this blog with no photos from my quadcopter. I will try and fix that tomorrow for you.
A Little Luck Is Needed
Photographing eagles is a lot like photographing sports. You can be ready with everything set up correctly, but the play has to come your way. In the photo at the top of the page the eagle banked just so after it came out of the water to give me a nice image. I still had to record it, but the eagle did most of the work for me. Sometimes luck is on your side, and I feel that it was yesterday. Just being there when that eagle arrived to catch its dinner was a bit of luck. The previous few attempts this year luck was not really on my side, and I did not come away with much. It all usually balances out though if you keep at it. Here a little patience paid off. Continue reading “On Eagles Wings”