Monday, March 1, 2010

Sometimes, you have to put your camera down...

I returned Sunday, February 28 from my 4th and final trip this winter to the Mississippi River in Iowa to photograph bald eagles. This was my first winter photographing these amazing birds at L&D 14.

In the 4 trips, I shot over 12,000 images total.... all in RAW!  I met many new photography friends, exchanged several business cards, and learned some new things about photography and eagle behavior.

In the many hours, I spent photographing eagles there, I was focused and intent on getting the best images I could get. I keep checking my shutter speed as the light changed in order to keep my shutter speed up, I chatted with fellow photographers but keeping one eye open so I wouldn't miss that perfect shot. At times, there were many eagles flying around (at the same time) and it was intense and difficult to know which bird to track and follow through the viewfinder. In some cases, the eagle would fly around and around and around.. for 2-3 minutes then go back to the tree.... It was "exhausting" at times.

Sunday, February 28 was my last day at L&D 14 for this season. I wanted to go by one more time (on my way home) and "say goodbye" to the place.  As I was driving to L&D 14, I decided to leave my Canon 7D/500 f4 L in my car and just walk around and enjoy the eagles!  I watched them fly in and out, fish, and soar above me on a crisp, clear Sunday morning.

It was obvious that (in the last week) many of the eagles have left the area and headed back north for the Spring/Summer/Fall to return again (like many, many years in the past) in December to winter along the Mississippi River.

There were a few eagles left to "enjoy" this Sunday morning and I did...

As nature photographers, We often don't see the forest for the trees.

Sometimes, you have to put your camera down and appreciate the nature we love so much.

I can't wait for winter 2011 to enjoy (and photograph) these truly astonishing birds of prey.... again.


Me at L&D 14, February 28, 2010


  1. You are so right. I agree totally. I had to step back and do the same thing.
    They are great to photograph and so much fun and excitement. But, like you need to step back, put the camera down and just look at the whole picture.

    Nice photo, Mark. Looks very peaceful. A very private and personal moment for you with the eagles.

  2. I also agree with you Mark. It sounds like you had an awesome time. Did you know that eagles mate for life? At any rate, I am glad that you did take a moment to enjoy the eagles without the camera. Those moments, I am sure, were extra special....

  3. Very cool, this whole thing of the Eagles, what they do and what we do to enjoy them. Fact is, when you photograph action like that you totally miss what is really going on. Glad you got to stand back and enjoy a different side to it. The video you have here on line is very cool ++. Thanks to all who have put it together! Mark, I know you are already thinking your trip out there January 2011! Thanks for sharing all your great images.