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