Its Eagle Season
What does one do in winter to feed their photography need? Well, in Wisconsin, I enjoy hunting down eagles sitting in the trees and fishing because its eagle season.
Winter Is Always Cold in Wisconsin
Winter is a beast, with bitter cold temps and that is good for a few things. A build-up of ice on the Fox River and eagles!
Eagles Like To Fish In Open Water
You will find them along rivers that normally have a dam or power plant. Dams and power plants help keep the water temperature warmer and keep the water circulating, so ice doesn’t form. At least in small sections.
Once the ice moves in, you will find me looking for eagles. I generally stick around the Fox River Area in Wisconsin. It is close to home and usually yields a few eagles.
Interesting Facts About Eagles
• Long lifespan of 30-35 years
• Mate for life
• A wingspan of up to 7 feet
• Can fly up 25 miles per hour
• Mainly eat fish and snakes
The eagle is a pretty impressive bird of prey, it’s no wonder it was chosen as the emblem of the United States.
It is cold when sitting outside in sometimes below Zero windchills. Thus, I never look all that cute – but I’m warm 🙂
New Lens New Opportunities
Now, I’ll be perfectly honest; two years ago was the first winter season I had the equipment to even attempt taking eagle photos.
Before that, I would sit on the banks and watch with binoculars. I just didn’t have the lens reach I needed to obtain the photos I dreamed of. At times, I feel I still do not.
Eagle Fighting. Eagles fight over a duck on the Fox River during the winter of 2015. When the Fox freezes over the Eagles head to the cracks of open water. They fight over the fish they catch and in some case a duck that one snag and then they all want in on the action.
In late February two years ago, I picked up the Tamron 150-600mm lens. I figured I could pair it up with both my Canon 6D, 7D, 7D2. It isn’t the large, white, Canon lens…but most certainly works well for what I need it for.
Capturing An Eagle is Work
After obtaining the gear, I wasn’t aware of the crap ton of work it takes to get that darn eye sharp and in focus.
As this season goes on, I’m finally getting the hang of locking onto the eye of the bird in flight and following through the flight path.
Sometimes you will see a large population of eagles, sometimes a small population. It all depends on the day and the location.
I love spending a few minutes watching them fight. Since it is close to home, it isn’t a huge let down when there is nothing going on.
The days there is action, you never know what will happen, or what you will see. This eagle was up in a tree and allowed me to watch him very closely. Normally, I am never this close. I saw he had his eye on a duck that was in open water close to a dock I was on.
My perched birds are/were so much easier to shoot. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. With everything worth learning, if you want something bad enough, just keep practicing.
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