Golden Eagle lift off – poor angle – Nikon D500, f5.6, 1/1600, ISO 1600, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
I get absolutely tired of the frustrations I have had trying to photograph Golden Eagles, it seems that something or someone nearly always messes with my chances of getting the images I want of them. A few of the things that happen are listed below:
- Low light or the wrong angle of light is often a big issue;
- a vehicle comes along and scares the eagle away, this happens a lot;
- the eagle is in great light but is in a location where it isn’t safe to stop and photograph it;
- the eagle is on the wrong side of the road and by the time you get turned around the eagle is gone;
- not getting to the best location quickly enough to take the shot, this also happens too frequently;
- or the eagle takes flight away from me so all I get is a butt shot or some other poor angle.
This list could go on and on but I think my point has been made.
Two days ago the radar/satellite looked good at my destination but once again it was wrong, there were heavy clouds and the light sucked for most of the morning and guess what? I had crappy light when my only opportunity with a Golden Eagle happened that morning.
I spotted a Northern Harrier chasing the Golden Eagle in flight and then I saw the eagle land just out of sight on a rocky hillside just a little bit north of where I was and guess what? I didn’t get into a good position where the eagle would have been visible fast enough to photograph it on the hillside before it took off and the shots I did get of it right after lifting off were disappointing because the eagle was mostly facing away. I like everything about this image except the angle of the eagle’s head and eye.
Low light Golden Eagle in flight – large crop – Nikon D500, f5.6, 1/2000, ISO 1600, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
Then the Golden Eagle flew way up on a hillside and walked around on the sagebrush slope for a bit way in the distance, my only hope was that when the bird lifted off it would fly in my direction close enough to get a decent flight shot without having to crop too much, for me too much is more than a 50% crop.
After a few minutes the Golden Eagle did lift off from the sagebrush-covered hillside but it sure didn’t fly as close to me as I had hoped for, this photo is only 37% of the original frame and that combined with the low light, high ISO and visible noise produced an image that looks okay at web sized resolution but isn’t of high enough quality for printing or publication.
I’ll just have to keep on trying and maybe one day I’ll finally get the images I want of Golden Eagles that I dream off.
Yeah, I know I probably sound disappointed and I am, but sometimes it helps to let off steam and this morning I decided to do that publicly because once again for a variety of reasons I didn’t get the photos of a Golden Eagle that I have hoped for. Those who follow my blog regularly know that I don’t make a habit of grumbling or whining and I promise that I won’t change and start to be a grumbler or a “Negative Nelly” here on my blog. That just isn’t part of who I am.
Despite the challenges and frustrations life is good.