Male Osprey in flightMale Osprey in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Our trip to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area in northeastern Utah was great despite my having been ill the last night we were there. We camped in two different locations this time and both had grand views of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

Last year at about this same time these Osprey were busy building their nest while this year they were already sitting on eggs.  The male pictured above was flying past the nest with part of a fish in its talons. We sat for nearly an hour watching the male eat this fish on a distant power pole before he flew past. Have I ever mentioned that one needs tons of patience to be a bird photographer?

Female Osprey in golden lightFemale Osprey in golden light – Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/1000, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

The light in the morning can be gorgeous at Flaming Gorge, it was when I photographed the female regaining her balance on top of a power pole near the nest. We didn’t see much of this golden light though this trip. The Uinta Mountains can create their own weather and they certainly did the days we were there with clouds building up in the afternoons, some rain and thunderstorms too.

Female Osprey in low lightFemale Osprey in low light – Nikon D300, f5.6, 1/160, ISO 1250, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The last morning the light was low with clouds that were blocking the sun and spitting some rain down on us. I bumped my ISO up to 1250 and hoped to get a few useable images of the Osprey before we left. Even at ISO 1250 I wasn’t getting the shutter speed I would have liked and all the flight images I took had plenty of motion blur, I think I was quite lucky to get the female’s face in focus as she came in for a landing in this frame.

The beauty of Flaming GorgeThe beauty of Flaming Gorge – Nikon D300, f8, 1/500, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 95mm, natural light

Who couldn’t love this view? I know each time I see it I am in awe of the beauty of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, and this view is just a tiny part of the stunning vistas seen in the area.

I’ll be posting more Osprey images from this journey later along with scenery from other parts of the Recreation Area and Ashley National Forest.