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Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:28 am
by pwt54
I saw a bald eagle a couple of weekends ago in Lemmington flying down the Connecticut River. By the time I could get the car turned around it was too far away. There are 2 nesting pair of eagles along the Connecticut River right now. They have been spotted around the Moore reservoir near Littleton,NH.

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:21 pm
by autzig
Carol, your perfect shots create all kinds of photographic problems. I photographed a moose almost exactly as you described except that he was a young bull and didn't have rack you were looking for. I was in Glacier National Park. This moose came out at dusk and was munching on pond weeds. I had a 300 mm lens which was plenty long enough but I had a low light situation. That means I needed a wide aperture and a slow shutter speed and a tripod of course. My moose wouldn't stop moving his head. He'd grab some grass and the water would be dripping and he kept moving. I needed to shoot with a shutter speed of at least 1/125 of a second to stop the motion but it was too dark. I tried shooting at 1/30th but I was way underexposed. Even when I brightened the photo in Photoshop, the drips from his lips looked like silky flowing water like you want in a nice waterfall shot. The photo was OK, people liked it mostly because it was a moose afterall, but I would never use it as an example of a great photograph.

If you've never tried shooting birds in flight, you would be surprised at how difficult it is. For your eagle shot, you really need a 600 mm f2 lens. That will set you back about $7,500. At that focal length, your field of vision is so small you can't even find a bird through the lens. I shot gannets in New Foundland with a 400 mm lens and I only got one good in-flight shot and there were 100,000 birds flying around.

Good luck finding your shots.

If we find a moose during a fall foliage tour, I want mine to be far enough away that he can be clearly identified as a moose but I want to show him in his natural environment. He can be in the shade, but I want the setting sun to be casting its glow on the surrounding mountains blazing in autumn color. He can move his head all he wants because I will be sufficiently far away that it won't matter.

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:36 am
by ixl
The funny thing about "photo dreams" is that they happen when you least expect it. And they seem to require a combination of luck (being in the right place at the right time) and effort (making it possible for you to be in the right place at the right time.)

I had one such occurrence in late September 2007, which I told CT a bit about when we met at the Bennington Monument on Sunday.

I was planning to leave on a trip to photo the Whites and adjacent northwestern Maine, but got delayed because of rain. I decided in the end to drive up in the rain anyway, and camp out overnight so I could start my trip up there already in the morning.

I got onto the Kancamagus Highway and noticed that the stars were out -- the storm had cleared early. The moon was rising, and since I like to take moonlight shots of foliage, I set up for a long exposure of the Kancamagus range.

After taking a few shots I noticed the clouds rolling in again from the west. And when I looked over there, I noticed what looked like a pale white arc in the sky. I looked east at the moon and I wondered, "could it be?"

I whipped the camera around and adjusted settings, and took several 30 second images. The result? A foliage shot near peak of lovely mountains, with stars in the sky on the left and a "natural" moonbow on the right. Moonbows are often sought by photographers, but usually by shooting waterfalls at night; Yosemite Falls is the one most frequently done by this method. A moonbow made by the moon and rain is quite rare to capture, and with this backdrop? Once in a lifetime. :)

The whole thing happened and was over in about five minutes. I had to grab the camera and the tripod and get back in the car, and it rained for hours more.


Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:51 am
by Andy
One of the great advances of Digital, Al, (as you know) is the ability to "goose up" the ISO. I understand on the newer generation Nikon and Canon (D3/300 series for Nikon), the noise issue has really been conquered and I am seeing guy shoot at very high ISO speeds. That would certainly help on your Moose shot.

I agree with you though in your comments to Carol. Having tried some of the bird shooting and wildlife shooting myself, I note that there are two things that are necessary: Equipment and "Homework." I have seen some nice work done with the "slower" 300mm lenses, but by and large, I think a "mammal" wildlife lens needs to be at least 300mm f2.8 (some really large mammals can get hard to frame if the lense gets much longer). For birds, it depends. I have successfully shot Brown Pelicans in flight, handheld, with my 300mm f2.8 (which is a feat in and of itself, as the 300 weighs enough to serve as a small boat anchor). I was pretty close to the birds and an area where they were acclimated to humans. I understand, for example, that Ding Darling refuge in Florida is like that.

For smaller birds, the experts say 600 (i.e. Arthur Morris), as you indicated.

Of the two, though, the "homework" is most important. You have to be a bit of a wildlife biologist, be persistent, willing to set up and wait patiently for hours for the animal to come to you -- or learn how to successfully stalk them.

The owl in this image is probably my most successful wildlife shot (sorry, but I cannot seem to get the image link feature to work with my website) ... horned-owl

It was shot with my 300mm f2.8 lens and I was probably 10 feet from the bird. How do you make that happen? When I see the "pros" do this in the wild, I am in awe. You would have to set up a blind and be in position before the bird got there. My shot was a captive bird. Only way I am going to get a shot like that at this point in my life. The guys who get the natural ones spend days/weeks/years to get a shot like that.

All the birds of prey on my site are captive, shot courtesy of the Howell Nature Center in Livingston County, Michigan. They are a rehabilitation center, and they charge a fee, which goes directly to their rehab budget. The owl and the Red Tailed Hawk are birds that were either "human imprinted" or injury too severe to ever be released. They are licensed as "teaching" birds. I visit annually, and they have become "old friends."

Dreams can come true, but in this case, only if you have the commitment and effort and time.

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:02 am
by Andy
Charles: One of the magical things about photography to me is "time and place" and "being there." You clearly spend a lot more time in the field than I. And I am sure you have learned that you experience and see so many things others don't see and take for granted. Obviously, you must have the equipment with you and the skill to capture. But I agree that sometimes our most "magical" photo opportunities come to us by "happenstance."

One of my perhaps most successful photos ever is an example. It was an early morning shot of reeds on a like with the sun rising behind fog. My medium at the time was Fuji Velvia. I am told (in hindsight) that under certain conditions, a blue cast was a characteristic of this film. The resulting transparency was like nothing I could have visualized or expected. Again, sorry for my clunky linking. I think that because my site is Adobe Flash based, it will not "play well" with the software here. But the shot can be seen at: ... e-lake-mi/

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:09 am
by Andy
Abby: I apologize if I/we seem to have "hijacked" this thread -- but hopefully this forum has begun to have a bit of a "community" feel to it and we can wander a bit with our conversations :lol:

My "bucket list" (hmmn. doesn't that imply that I am "racing" to finish it before I die? Do you know something I don't?). I don't know that I have a specific shot or shots that I want to do. I am more focused on places I would like to go. I guess if $ were no object, I might like to hire a guide to take me to some of the big game photo ops. On my own, I want to see and photograph places in the West, Canada and the Northeast. I will fulfill one of those "dreams" in October, with a week long visit to Acadia NP (hopefully the first of many). In May, 2010, I will go on a cruise in Alaska. My guess is the photo ops from a cruise ship won't be so great, but it will whet my appetite for a land-based return trip someday.

Closer to home, I would like to get a good "environmental" portrait of a mature, male white tail deer. I know what I need to do and its pretty much what the successful hunters do -- go sit in a blind and hope for the right combination of place, luck, and light (well, the hunter doesn't care as much about the light as I do).

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:35 pm
by autzig
Andy, I've taken the Alaska cruise. My favorite part was when we parked near a calving glacier. The ice chunks weren't huge but seeing them crash into the sea was pretty spectacular. I am reasonably satisfied with the photos I took. The biggest photography problem I encountered was the weather; lots of low hanging clouds and fog. I have color digital photographs that are literally black and white. Even photoshop couldn't find any color in them. We did have one nice day though and I understand that more than that is unusual.

The biggest other problem I had on the cruise was the food. The joke on board is that the passengers get on the ship as tourists and get off as cargo. The food is absolutely fantastic and you will over eat and enjoy every bite of it until you step on the scale when you get back home.

Don't buy tours from the cruise line. Buy them when you get off the ship at the port. If the weather is really crappy, you can decide not to go and not lose the cost of the tour. The vendors have booths set up near the pier and the cost is usually less than what the cruise line charges. Also, make sure you pack warm clothes, not just a jacket but a coat. And bring a stocking cap. The temperatures will be in the 50s and the wind generated by the ship's motion will give you a windchill the feels much colder.

I'm headed to Alaska next week but not for the cruise. I had to convince my wife that Camp Denali, which is at the end of the 95 mile road into the Park and comes complete with propane lights, wood stove heat and (are you ready for this?) our own private outhouse, was something she really wanted to do.

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:58 pm
by ixl
I feel a bit embarrassed.. I didn't realize I had posted that shot before. :oops:

Carol, those heron shots are really excellent. I saw some on a couple of trips this year to the Champlain area, but from far away -- I know they can be tough to capture at all, much less that nicely.

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:12 am
by Andy
That's o.k. Charles. When they are good, we don't mind looking at them again . . . . . and again. And if you are like me, you have trouble remembering what you posted yesterday, much less years or months back :lol:

Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:55 pm
by autzig
Carol, congratulations on your eagle shots. They look very good to me: nice composition on both. I'd love to see them at full size. I hope you shot the sunset at Cadillac Mountain. Enjoy your trip.


Posted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:14 pm
by Andy
I have many things on my "bucket list." Two of them are: 1 - Shoot the Split Rock Lighthouse, and 2 - Finally get to meet my good friend Al -- Both are going to happen this month! At the end of the month, I fly into Minneapolis to spend a long weekend shooting the Minnesota "North Shore" with Al and our now mutual friend, Rich. And, we have Al as our guide. If Mother Nature cooperates, we cannot miss!

Re: What's on your "Bucket List?"

Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:48 am
by ctyanky
Beautiful shots Carol!!!! Lucky you! Love the pond photo of the moose the best! :D