Bald Eagle Photography in Brackendale
I took a trip with my friend Andrew to Brackendale to find some Bald Eagles. The eagles were not hard to find, but certainly not easy to photograph. Most of the time they were quite far away, but occasionally they would fly by a little closer. The eagles gather here to eat Coho Salmon that have died after spawning. I guess eagles are lazy, and prefer to let dinner float by rather than waste energy catching it.
I borrowed a huge 400mm f/2.8 lens with a 2x teleconverter from my boss, which was a huge help and allowed to me to get some good shots. I wouldn’t say any of the shots from the day were excellent, there was heavy cloud cover and relatively low light which meant a lot of the shots were at ISO 400 or even 800. Add to that slower shutter speeds, and a lot of the shots just didn’t turn out very well. Considering this was my first time at this location, the first time shooting the 400mm, and the first time on a dedicated trip to shoot eagles I think I did ok.
Aside from the eagles, we were treated to a few nice views during the day. Both shot with the 400mm, the darker blue image is a 3-shot HDR.
These are some of my favorite shots from the day. First, a juvenile eagle was flying towards me and about to land in a tree. Of the 5 shots I got of him, this is the only one worth posting. (In case it’s not obvious, you can click the photos to view the bigger version).
Another flight photo, this one I attempted to pan the 400mm to get some shots, most were blurry or had only a part of the eagle in the frame. This one turned out better than I thought it would.
Sometimes, eagles are not the graceful and majestic creatures we think they are. When you have to go you have to go.
Some shots of the equipment used.
The following photos are not great, but I thought I’d include them as they capture a flight sequence and my attempt at capturing the eagles in flight.
And more, not good due to slow shutter speeds, but capture a moment when an eagle swoops in to steal the salmon away from the others. Incoming!
And the rest of the images from the shoot worth posting. They include a Great Blue Heron, which often go ignored when the eagles are there but they are no less interesting nor any less beautiful.