Perched Golden Eagle in Northern Utah

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Golden Eagle on a lofty perchGolden Eagle on a lofty perch – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I have mentioned before that whenever I try to photograph Golden Eagles that something always goes wrong.

  • The lighting is horrible (back lit, very low light)
  • The eagle is too far away
  • The eagle takes flight before I can get focused on it
  • I see the eagle but can’t stop because of traffic
  • The eagle is on a horrible man made perch and doesn’t fly even after waiting and waiting and waiting
  • The eagle isn’t spotted soon enough

Two days ago this Golden Eagle was perched on a rocky outcrop but because of a blind spot I didn’t see it quite soon enough but at least I was able to get a few decent images of it perched. This image was the best of them, I had eye contact, decent light and a lovely natural setting.

Golden Eagle getting ready to lift offGolden Eagle getting ready to lift off – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Shortly after the first image was taken the Golden Eagle got ready to take off and I thought I was going to finally get some decent flight shots of my nemesis. The background looked great and although the eagle had turned its head slightly away from me I still had high hopes…

Golden Eagle flying awayGolden Eagle flying away – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

But the Golden Eagle turned its head even further away from me as it lifted off and headed towards the west and even though I could see the bird’s eye on all of the flight shots the eye contact I had was terrible. We had stopped too close because the bird was not seen in time to stop sooner so most of my flight shots had the wing tips clipped and those that weren’t clipped the wings blocked the eagle’s eyes as shown in the photo above.

Someday… I guess I need to keep trying for the photos of them I keep dreaming of.

Well, at least I got a perched Golden Eagle photo that I like and I am grateful for that.

Life is good.



  1. Laura Culley March 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Oh be still my heart…swoon!

  2. Lois Bryan March 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Oh Mia, he’s glorious!!!! Have to tell you for some reason your posts haven’t been in my emails in ages … so unless I remember to come visit my “reader” I miss out on all your fabulous images!!! Will have to brew up a nice fresh cup of tea and sit down with you one of these days!!! I’ll enjoy that so much!!! Hope all is well with you guys!!!

  3. April Olson March 5, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Sometimes you have to enjoy the beauty for the moment or the company you are with and that as good as it gets.

  4. Elephant's Child March 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Majestic and magnificent.

  5. Pepe Forte March 5, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Powerful, wild and beautiful. Great shots despite the impediments you described. Thanks Mia.

  6. Utahbooklover March 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Not up to your high standards but striking none the less. I heard an NPR spot on making the Golden Eagle our national bird, listing many good reasons why. On the downside at Wikipedia I counted 5 countries that already have this majestic bird as their symbol, including Germany and Scotland.

  7. Patty Chadwick March 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Mia!!! You got some VERY nice shots, on top of just SEEING that incredible bird!!! I’d have been to thunderstruck to press the button!!!

  8. Bob mcpherson March 5, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Beautiful shots, Mia.

  9. Deb Tracy-Kral March 5, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Maybe not the perfect flight shot (and I do indeed understand ) but a “killer shot” of its talons and booted tarsi, Mia!!!!! They are a wintering rarity for us in the Hudson Valley, NY, and this year have always been distant. Beautiful light on your perched bird. Thanks, as always, for sharing!

  10. Liz Cormack March 5, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Mia, you are too hard on yourself…..these are gorgeous shots. That’s my opinion & I’m sticking to it!

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