Gonna Need a Change of Feathers

Greetings everyone.  Sitting here in our dentist parking lot waiting for Linda to finish getting some work done.  How times have changed as now I actually long to sit in a real “waiting” room vs being cooped up in a vehicle.  Looking at the positives, this situation is quite conducive to cranking out a post.  We are still in the “fresh” post part of the week putting the focus on more recent outings. While perusing the options in the queue, noticed that I left everyone hanging on the third part of the latest Eagle experiences at Davenport lock and dam.  Along with the traditional shots (link here) and the action shots (link here), promised you some highlights of new behaviors seen above the water.  The Eagles were quite active that day showing off their skilz for the dozen or so photographers lined up to see the show.

A quick recap to get everyone in the mood.  First relax the legs and line up the approach.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Then cock the legs to prepare for the impact.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Finally stab to break the water’s surface.

Bald Eagles found in Davenport IA in February 2021

Hit the jump to read about my new experiences that day – one was quite comical.

Continue reading Gonna Need a Change of Feathers

Eagle Eyes

Well, as of 4:00pm today I am officially on holiday break from work until 2012 – WOOT. Of course, that really just translates to two extra days of standing in long lines at local merchants trying to finish up the gift list. Fortunately, that activity can start LATER in the morning so no need to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for the commute to the office. This month was dedicated to shots from our recent Yellowstone vacation. So far we’ve covered the Trumpeter Swans (link here), Mergansers (link here) and two posts covering those scary Ravens (link here and here). We’ll get to the big game soon enough, but today brings us a true American icon… The Bald Eagle.
I have had the opportunity to photograph the eagle a number of times now, both locally as well as up in the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River. I was excited to hear that they were out in the Yellowstone area as well. The first day we saw one from a distance gliding around, but the second to last day produced a great opportunity.  We were heading back to our room towards the end of the day when we passed by a small valley.  A glint of white from the trees caught my eye.  Hoping I was right, I had Linda turn back for a closer look.

Did you see it? (having it centered in the picture makes it pretty easy, but against the full backdrop of the woods it was definitely harder to locate).  The shot above is a pulled back shot with the Beast which starts at 200mm so you can guess how far away this eagle was from the road.  However, This is exactly where the Beast shines.  Pulling the bird in to the full 400mm gives a MUCH better shot of this awesome bird.

And there it sat keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings.  I was actually shooting out the back window of the SUV trying to use the window frame to steady the lens.  The initial shots were producing a lot of blur likely due to the engine vibrations coming through the vehicle frame.  To adjust for that, Linda shut the car off.  that dampened it a bunch, but that distance just amplifies any movement

Heck, why don’t we just pull that shot in a little more!

Hit the jump to see more pictures from the set!

Continue reading Eagle Eyes

Happy New Year from the Eagle’s Nest – Part 1 of 2

Hey, we made it to another year in spite of Nostradamus.  A few quick edits a new edition through the press and they will be good for at least another year of doomsday prophecy.  I hope everyone had a safe and fun Eve and kept the roads dry for the safety of others.  It is another year and true to my previous summary, I am going to continue with this little side project for sometime longer.  Keeping with my new goals (it is still early in the resolution season), today’s topic is more graphic.  Actually, it was so graphic the post was broken into two parts.  Unfortunately, the second part has some images of graphic violence but I think they you will still like them unless you are from PETA and don’t understand that violence in nature exists every day – hunter vs. prey has been around since the world decided plants taste like crap.

On the first day of 2009, I bring you America’s Pride:

American Bald Eagle

While Linda and I were in Davenport, IA over the holidays, we stopped down at the Bettendorf locks to snap a few shots of these majestic birds.  Every winter they migrate down (think that is right) to the Quad Cities area to feed off the Mississippi River.  It is absolutely stunning to witness these birds first hand and not have to look at an injured one through glass or chicken wire.  It is obvious they know they are at the top of the flighted foodchain.  Here is a view from the side that gives a better perspective of the weapon that obviously demands respect wherever they roam.

American Bald Eagle from the side

Since I have a lot of pictures today, I’ll go ahead and let you follow the jump to see the rest of them instead of overwhelming my home page.

Continue reading Happy New Year from the Eagle’s Nest – Part 1 of 2