Jennifer Widerstrom of American Gladiators!

Jennifer Widerstrom of American Gladiators, otherwise known as Jennifer Widerstrom, has used two of the images I took of her before she got famous on her new website!  For those who don’t know me, I photographed Phoenix at her first fitness contest where she won her division in the Midwest Ironman a few years ago.  I then photographed her the next day for her first fitness portfolio images. Anyway, the photos she’s using are in the photos section under her workout photos.  The image of her bust while she’s doing a chest exercise, and the one of her doing shoulder lifts in the gym with all the red benches.  

http://www.team-jennifer.com/

Bald Eagles In Batavia

So I got my rear end out of bed at 6AM on my day off, so I could go to a small business networking meeting at 07:30 at a small town restaurant. Glad I did! There were at least 20 people there! I found this group on http://www.meetup.com/ a few months ago. It’s been small groups until today. Anyway, normally I’d go to these things and talk about my nutrition products, but today, I only talked about my photography. Would you believe I had 4 people ask me to do their portraits?!

Now I’ve been studying for a long time about how to use speedlights on location to enable me to do portraits outdoors and still have nice fill light when necessary. I don’t want to do it half assed. I want my work outdoors to look as good my indoor work looks. I’ve been considering expanding my portrait work to “on-location” portrait work this spring and summer. So I guess this meetup thing is a great idea for me. If anyone needs a portrait and wants to find out more, email me! nightowlphoto(at)gmail.com

 

So then I had planned to go check out a site in Batavia that a customer at Calumet told me about yesterday. He said there were a few eagles that you could see on an island in the middle of the Fox River out there. On my way there, I drove past this full size dutch style windmill! I pulled into the parking lot, got out and took some shots. Helped a guy fix his camera, who was there taking shots with a point and shoot. He told me where to find Sandhills in Batavia. Then I continued on to the eagles. I went, I saw, they flew away out of site. LOL! But they’re there! Rumor is, they have a nest somewhere nearby, but I didn’t see a nest anywhere yet.
Then I proceeded to the site where the that guy told me I’d find Sandhills. So I found it ok (Thanks to GPS in my phone. I love my GPS.) At first I thought the guy was nuts, because all I heard was about a thousand geese. But then I heard a faint Sandhill call. I searched and searched, scanned the tall grass, and then about 500 yards away, 2 Sandhills took off and flew out of site. Sandhills in the middle of winter. Who’da thought?
For more images follow this link:   http://www.nightowlphotography.com/

Bald Eagles – Lock and Dam 14 . . . Again

So Thursday of last week, on my day off, my friend Percy and I ventured off to Lock and Dam 14 in LeClaire, IA for some eagle viewing. The weather forecast wasn’t very promising when I went to bed on Wednesday night, but for once, the weather forecasters were wrong in our favor. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day. Cold, but sunny.
We left my place around 10AM, and arrived at Lock and Dam 14 at or near 1PM. There were eagles in the trees behind us, and we were there all alone for a while. Sweet! So we put on our cold weather gear, get our camera bodies, lenses, and other assorted photographer junk <together, and start taking pictures. We had all kinds of equipment this day. I brought my D300 with my 70-200 2.8, and a 300 2.8 that I rented from Calumet Photographic, my employer (so I got a healthy discount on the rental). Percy brought a 1DMarkII, a 1DsMarkIII, a 300 2.8, and 2 different telescopes! Yes, Percy is an astronomer, and he uses telescopes to photograph nature. He runs the observatory at Harper College in Palatine. He even let me take a couple of photos with the thing. (see image to the right)
My cousin Jon showed up shortly after we arrived, and the 3 of us took photographs all afternoon. Some of the highlights of the day were:
  1. To finally get shots of an eagle having lunch up in a tree, with a blue sky background.
  2. Capturing images of 2 eagles fighting in mid air.
  3. Capturing images of a juvenille eagle trying to carry a fish that weighed more than he did.
  4. Being dive bombed by an adult American Bald Eagle. No kidding, the bird flew right over us, and dropped his fish almost on our heads.

After almost 4 hours of photographing eagles, we finally headed out for gas and food, and then made the drive back home to Chicago. We stopped at Village Inn in Bettendorf, and as we left the restaurant, Percy was trying to take pictures of the I74 bridge as the sun set against it. So I drove across the street, and down to the riverfront where we noticed a gorgeous sunset, complete with a couple of trees to frame it up. Percy got some great sunset shots, some great bridge shots, and even some shots of a barge as it went under the bridge. Then we noticed some snow geese, and they even walked up to the car to get their picture taken!

Eagle’s Nest Scouting Report

I only worked 4 hours today for some reason, so I took advantage of it, and bolted from work at 1PM to southern Illinois where the bald eagle nest is that I’ve photographed for the last 3 seasons. I wanted to find out if the eagles would return to this same nest again. They have! I saw 1 eagle when I got there, incubating the eggs (sitting on them in the nest). She just kind of looked around a bit. Not much else happening.

Oh! As I was walking down the road in my work attire on my way to the nest, in my London Fog trenchcoat (I looked like a businessman walking on the side of the road), a couple of attractive women in an SUV stopped because they thought I was broken down somewhere, but then they saw the binoculars around my neck, and realized what I was there for. They too were investigating eagle nests in the area. And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to give them a business card! Darn!

It looks like the DNR have been prepping the eagle blind too. They’ve built a second viewing platform higher up on the hill, so you get a clear view over the platform below it. They still need to build steps into the hill so people don’t kill themselves trying to get up the hill to the blind. Oh well. At least they’ve built us this little viewing platform. 🙂