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on Feb 1, 2010 in Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photography – Your Cup of Tea?

I hope you had a great weekend, I sure did. I’m down in FL putting the finishing touches to the book layout. Of course I brought the camera and with my good friend RC now feeling like a wildlife photographer, we had to head out and shoot. Gathering up a couple of friends, Mike, Jim & Tony, the five of us headed out to a Bald Eagle nest Mike had found. While we started nice and early, the storms hadn’t completely blown out leaving behind their dark gray skies so like any good band of wildlife photographers under such conditions, we got breakfast.

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The 1st rule of bird photography is to not photograph flying birds against gray skies. Why? Well just look at this photo, kind of a exposure mud. You might also look at the photo itself. The female coming in is a bit small in the frame and the nest support tree, a bit massive and overpowering. Those things not withstanding, we persevered on.

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Now I really love this shot but the small size on the blog just doesn’t work. But that itty, piddy head sticking up is one of the two chicks in the nest. Looks a little bewildered if you ask me.

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Then it got real exciting, just for a heartbeat.

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It was hard to concentrate on the incoming male with RC and all his excitement over the opportunity, that and laughing as he made fun of himself and his skill set. Hell, it was his second time behind a 500mm shooting wildlife, Bald Eagle in flight no less, so I thought he was doing great but still funnier then hell. And then after all this excitement, back to gray skies and this.

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That’s how wildlife photography often goes, a day of “boredom” for a heartbeat of panic. The total time spent at the nest, about four hours. Number of frames taken during that time? Me personally, 121. It was totally worth every minute. If you’re wondering if you can do it, here’s a little test. I put together a little video. The sound has been removed, all the perches and nest are swaying in the wind which might make you sea sick and if you can watch the video in its entirety, you might have what it makes to be a wildlife photographer.

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Now I had a GREAT morning with the guys and the nest and wouldn’t have even passed it up. I hope you not only could as well, but have a similar opportunity in the near future!

Photos captured by D3s, 600VR w/TC-17e on Lexar UDMA digital film