What a great shot of a bald eagle there on the edge of the ice. Shot this one in January 2021 at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a trip. It’s a neat place and the bird population there changes constantly.
Bald eagles there, in my experience, are often pretty shy and don’t often stick around once they notice interest in them. This one, however, seemed to pose for me for a bit. Got some other shots of it looking left, too, but the one looking right made for better composition. The reflection really makes the shot…as does the contrast of the ice and the open marsh.
This one, to preserve the reflection, wants to be a square crop again. Looks great in a 15 x 15 on acrylic in a barnwood frame (for $175 + 5% shipping). You can see it displayed that way in the gallery in Ogden, UT. Other sizes and media are available, too. Email me at email@example.com to order one for your wall.
This might just be my favorite raptor to try to photograph. And until this day in January of 2021, a really good shot had eluded me. They’re very skittish and wary. Plus shooting birds in flight is just hard. It’s a technique that needs to be practiced. Last winter I spend days on end working on photographing birds in flight – practicing lots on seagulls – refining my technique. The seagulls were good for that because they’re so very common…and they don’t seem to have much problem flying close. And, as an aside, with wildlife photography, nothing can beat proximity. Sure, it’s easy to get a speck of a blur of a vulture circling overhead… But to get fine detail of the eyes or feathers, the closer you are, the better the shot.
The Northern Harriers (also known as Marsh Hawks to us older people), don’t think much of proximity to humans. I’ve got hundreds of shots of them from a distance…but very few as close as this one. They’re ground-nesters and seldom fly very high (compared to Red-tails, for example). You’ll often see them 20 or so feet off the ground, flying over farmland in search of rodents and other small prey. One of the places they like to hunt is along the sides of dirt roads. They’ll often fly along the side of a road…and in the case of this one, she was flying toward me (while I was in the car, stopped). I managed to acquire and keep focus as she approached, and this shot is when she was nearly parallel to me. The blue in the background is an iced-over marsh in the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. And she’s just gorgeous. Look at that eye!
Sometimes I’ll take a shot and wonder if the camera grabbed what I saw. Often, we’re not in sync. However as I fired this burst, I knew I’d succeeded. Couldn’t wait to get home to see it on the larger screen. And…it turned out to be the first of a number of good ones. That time with the gulls had been well spent.