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Bald Eagle
Lens: 18-135 WR Camera: K-5 ii 
Posted By: troika, 04-01-2013, 02:47 PM

I was waiting for a ferry on Sunday and saw this eagle fighting with a number of gulls and other more common birds for a fish that was on the beach. I had my camera with me and took a bunch of shots. My shutter speed was a little slow because I had been photographing the beach and didn't think to adjust it when this happened. These are the best 2 of the bunch.

They're not sharp enough for me to really crop them tight. I tried to crop them on a rule of 3rd intersection showing movement toward an open portion of the frame, but I don't know if I like it or not. Would welcome observations that or anything else.




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04-01-2013, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #2
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We are fortunate in Puget Sound to have plenty of eagles around most beaches which gives us opportunities for decent shots. The key is to be prepared to jump into AF-C and ensure a minimum shutter speed of 1/750-1/1000. I like f 6.7 or so, depending on the lens, and a half to a full stop of exposure compensation Unless you are lucky to get closer, I find 135mm to be too short to get enough of the bird in the frame for an engaging shot. 300-400mm works for me, but it takes a lot of practice to track the bird in the viewfinder consistently. You can always use crows for practice.

Perfect time of year though for photographing raptors. Stepping out my front door I saw a pair of osprey and a pair of bald eagles immediately. Then later an immature bald eagle that the crows were harassing.

M
04-01-2013, 08:35 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the tips, Miguel! I knew that my shutter speed was too slow (~1/250, I think), but didn't really know where it should have been and in the heat of the moment, I wasn't thinking clearly anyway. I live in the city and don't see eagles all that predictably. I know that I need a longer zoom for birds, it's on my list.

Question for you about "exposure compensation"...a really dumb question...which direction? Do I want to bias the exposure over or under? I've been playing with this setting, specifically when dealing with backlighting, but I don't fully understand it's utility out in the world.

Thanks again for your advice, it's very much appreciated.
04-01-2013, 09:08 PM   #4
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You are welcome.

QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
I live in the city and don't see eagles all that predictably.
Hang out at Lincoln Park on sunny days. There are a few pair there that fly relatively low. Last year I'd photograph my son's baseball games being played at the park and would sneak some shots of eagles flying overhead on a regular basis. There are also pileated woodpeckers all over the place and some owls.

QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Do I want to bias the exposure over or under?
Over. Your shots are about a half stop underexposed. You need the extra light to help tease details out of the underside of the eagle's wings without excess noise. It's easier to manage overexposure in this context. Think about the contexts of shooting eagles in Puget Sound: dark blue water, skies, and forests for most times of the day. Darker cloudy days too rumor has it

M

04-01-2013, 10:31 PM   #5
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Thanks, Miguel. This may have been one of your Eagles. I was waiting for the ferry to Vashon. I do need to spend some more time in Lincoln Park. Great park, I just don't get over there very much. I see one now and again at Gasworks, but have never been ready when it surprises me.

Overexposed it is, thanks for the tip.
04-02-2013, 04:41 AM   #6
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Beautiful bird indeed and you did well for what you had.
04-02-2013, 08:21 AM   #7
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Nice job for your equipment. Miguel gave some great tips too so it gave me enjoyment on two fronts, eagles to look at and good info.
04-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by slowpez Quote
Nice job for your equipment. Miguel gave some great tips too so it gave me enjoyment on two fronts, eagles to look at and good info.
Thanks, it was a treat for me to get to take these. Miguel's advice will help me get the next batch crisper.

04-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Thanks, Miguel. This may have been one of your Eagles. I was waiting for the ferry to Vashon.
In that case you probably saw my osprey as well. And maybe me.

M
04-02-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
In that case you probably saw my osprey as well. And maybe me.

M
My series of Miguel pictures were pretty poorly composed, I decided not to share them here. Once I get my longer zoom, though...
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