Magnificent American bald eagle in flight taking away a big fish in Lock & Dam 14 located near LeClaire, Iowa on the Upper Mississippi River above Davenport River, Iowa and Moline, Illinois, USA.
Story Behind the Photo
Check out the Day #2 photo of American bald eagle feeding to understand how I ended up in Lock and Dam 14. I don’t want to bore you with the same story 🙂
Photographing American bald eagle in flight is not a tough task as they are not really scared to fly over our head. They just don’t care about the human presence, atleast in Lock & Dam 13 and 14. In one instance, a bald eagle was swooping down so close to me that I got just half of its body in my frame!
I was trying to photograph a bald eagle carrying a fish on its way back to the nearby trees. Getting a good pose in a blue background was tough to achieve. It was cloudy for first two days with many boring photographs with few exceptions.
Last day was a treat with blue skies and patches of thin clouds. It was perfect to get flight shots because it is very easy for focusing system to lock the focus swiftly against a plain background. The contrast between the bird and the background helped to focus viewer’s attention on the bird.
Out of many photographs on that day, this was one which had lot of things that are working together, like:
- The catchlight in the eye
- Fantastic spread of the wings
- Head angle
- The size of the fish and the claws of the bald eagle
- Slightly diagonal position of the bird
- And that background!
Body: Nikon D7100
Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
Focal Length: 300mm
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Aperture (f-stop): f/8
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
Exposure Compensation: +1 step
Metering Mode: Spot
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
When photography birds in flight, try to give some time for the focusing system to lock and then start firing the burst shots. This will increase your odds against out of focus issues.
Important thing to consider is to wait for the bird to assume a position when there is good enough contrast between the bird and the background and then start clicking.
I hope you enjoyed this photo story. Have a great day ahead!