Christmas Weekend

I drove the Quad Cities on Thursday, with plans to photograph eagles. That morning, I set out and at about 11AM, I encountered a super thick ice fog. I could barely see to drive. Had the sun not been shining through the ice fog, I wouldn’t have been able to continue. So this lasted for about 45 minutes or so. At some points, traffic almost stopped due to lack of visibility. It was kinda weird. It was also annoying because the forecast said nothing about an ice fog, and it said the sun was suppose to be out. I arrived at the eagle site around 1PM, to find ZERO eagles. I was shocked. So I went to 2 other locations where I found 2. This was odd for late December. I set out again on Saturday, after the snow storm, and again found ZERO at the main site. This time I went to 3 other sites, and found a total of about 10. Again, very odd. Finally on Sunday I went to the main site, and found about 4 eagles there, but they weren’t moving. There were many eagles flying upriver, but they weren’t landing. Just circling high above. I was there for over an hour, and never saw an eagle dive for fish. I don’t know where they went, because I’ve seen photographs from other photographers from that site this year? I guess I’ll try again later. ūüôā

I did encounter some new bird species today though. More to add to my life list. I saw a handful of Greater Scoups in breeding colors, and some Canvasbacks. One of my favorite waterfowl species is the Hooded Merganser, and there were a handful of them too.

 

www.nightowlphotography.com

 

 

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Quad Cities American Bald Eagle Calendar for 2011

American Bald EagleWell, it’s that time of year again.¬† Time to release my latest American Bald Eagle Calendar.¬† This is the 3rd edition of the Quad Cities American Bald Eagle Calendar, and I’ve changed the format a little bit.¬† In past years, I included eagle facts on each calendar page, but this year, at the suggestion of few people, I’ve left the eagle facts out so that the images can be enjoyed more fully.¬† So I hope you all like the new format.

All of the images in this calendar were taken in the Quad Cities area of Iowa/Illinois, and all were taken in the 2010 migration season.¬† You’ll see juvenile bald eagles, and adult bald eagles.¬† The juveniles are the ones without the white feathers on their head and tail, such as the bald eagle on the cover of the calendar.¬†

Click Here For:

Quad Cities

American Bald Eagle

 Calendar 2011

Please help me to share this calendar with everyone, by reposting it on your social networking pages.  Thanks a bunch! 

First Bald Eagle Photo Trip Of 2010

So on Sunday 03 January 2010, I went for the first photo trip in search of bald eagles on the Mississippi River.  When my dad and I arrived that day, I think the temp was 0 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of about -15.  I was in what I call my “arctic armor”, which is basically wool hunting socks, thinsulate lined hunting boots, longjohns from neck to ankle, camo pants and shirt, wool gloves, wind proof hunting coat, a snug fitting winter beanie, and a neoprene ski mask.  (Which by the way heats your face with your own breath.  It’s amazing.)  So anyway, that’s my cold weather gear which I call artic armor. 

I’ve heard so many people at the camera store I work at talk about their cameras or batteries not working in this kind of weather, but I think they’re all crazy, because my camera works like a charm in this sub zero weather.  No problems with focusing or with batteries.  Even the view screen worked fine.  I use a D300 with a battery grip, and a 70-200 to shoot eagles.  Both work like a charm in frigid weather.

Since it was a Sunday, there were lots of photographers there, lots of amatuers too.  Plus the general families that just come to see the eagles with binoculars.  The guy who baits the eagles was there too, which he often is on weekends.  I forgot about that.  Not a fan.  I have moral problems with baiting anything I photograph.  Just don’t believe in it.  If you can’t improve your craft enough to get a shot without baiting, you don’t deserve the shot at all.  So I stayed AWAY from the baiting area for the entire day.  Funny thing is, I’d camp out in a spot, . . . wait . . . and when the eagles would start hunting near me, the ametuers would rush over to where I was to try to get shots, then the eagles would fly away.  *shakes head*  Reminder to self, for the rest of the season, only photograph eagles at LD14 on weekdays.  *grin* 

So for this first trip, I didn’t get any really good hunting shots of the eagles with talons open about to grasp a fish.  Instead I got a lot of nice close-ups of eagles flying overhead with fish in their talons.  I had a couple of shots that were kinda silhouettes, so I did some weird creative stuff with those.  Anyway, I hope you like the new shots in the gallery.

http://www.nightowlphotography.com/Birds/Raptors