Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Eagles Have Landed

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 500mm, 1/2500, ISO 400
I can find eagles almost at will in Ohio now which is quite a bit different than what I mentioned here a few years ago.  (Wow!  I just saw those photos from the link and cringed and almost didn't mention the post from then.  But, that's apparently where I was in my photography-related development stage so it's interesting to see the contrast from then till now.  Hopefully, in a few more years I'll look back on today and feel the same way again.)  This photo is a heavy crop but I love the detail and windblown feathers.  And the catch light in the eye is a real bonus.  The winds were gusting to 25mph on this day so I was really glad to have the heft of the 200-500mm lens.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 500mm, 1/2500, ISO 220
Anyway, a lot of these photos were taken at Ottawa Nat'l Wildlife Refuge earlier this month but I've seen eagles at Huron Harbor, Old Woman's Creek, Wellington Reservoir, Sandy Ridge Reservation and other places around Ohio and it's great to see them make a comeback.

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 500mm, 1/2500, ISO 1100
Photographing them is a lot of fun, too.  This bird came in close to check me out and has his "eagle eyes" directly on me.  The image is only slightly cropped as it pretty much filled the frame as is.  I'm certainly not an expert but from what I can glean from information I've looked at it appears these are first year birds and may be the very one's I saw in the nest last year.  In any case, on this outing I counted 9 different juvies and two adults. 

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 @ 500mm, 1/2500, ISO 1100
Here's a crop of the one above with his "eagle eyes" on me.  Glad he didn't think of me as a meal like...  

Nikon D750, Nikkor 200-500mm f/6.3 @ 500mm, 1/1600, ISO 100
this fish.  Even 500mm didn't quite reach into this scene the way I wanted but it's pretty cool.  I saw this adult eagle go down but from my vantage point that's all I saw.  After a couple minutes and trying to get closer for a look the next thing I see is the eagle lifting off from the ground so I started shooting not knowing it was carrying a fish until I saw it through the lens.  The gull got very close at times probably hoping the eagle would drop its meal but that didn't happen, of course.  I kept shooting until it got to the nest where it enjoyed its catch.  It was certainly a great time being out and shooting.

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