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Archive 2012 · Oh To Have Better Lenses & Narrower Rivers
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Oh To Have Better Lenses & Narrower Rivers

I've been really pleased with the amazing comeback that raptors have made in my area recently (coastal Virginia). While we've had plentiful ospreys in my area for quite a while in the past 5 years I've seen what anecdotally seems like a boom in the population of bald eagles and hawks. On this last shooting outing (3 1/2 hours or so) I must have seen dozens of ospreys and at least 10 baldies.

This would makes for a great situation for a photographer, but also a problem I had not realized I had... the bald eagles really seem to love fishing in our larger rivers (James and York), but do so mainly in the center of the channel. Unfortunately, both of these rivers in my area are well over a mile wide. I hope better glass will certainly improve some of the shots. Since in many cases even my 150-500mm doesn't get me close enough... maybe what I really need is a boat :-)

Would love to hear any tips regarding best way to get good captures -- Times? Tide Level? Shooting Locations? Etc?


Even 500mm is short when things happen so far away. A juvenile harassing a mature bird that has dropped a very large catch back into the river (fish was probably still 100' off the water at this point). Obviously doesn't help when the AF didn't quite lock on properly (the shots immediately following were better, but there was no "flying fish" at that point)


Same eagle retrieving it's fish (tighter crop):


Bird banking to make a fish run (very far away at 500mm, tight crop):


The lens can do quite well -- but best not to have to crop too close and also when shot stopped down quite a bit (f11 or so) at 500mm:




Edited on May 22, 2012 at 12:33 AM · View previous versions

May 21, 2012 at 07:27 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Oh To Have Better Lenses & Narrower Rivers

A nice series Pablo. The eagle population on the James has responded dramatically since the early '70s. At one point there were no breeding pairs on the James, and now there are 170+ pairs.
If you want to get up close and personal with the eagles, go here.
Mike is a guide and a photographer, and his wife is a world class photographer.


May 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Oh To Have Better Lenses & Narrower Rivers

Really nice set. Sorry but can't help with your question .


May 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM

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