Happy Sunday! Fun day yesterday filled with a lot of activity and I even had time for a nap. Is this a great country or what. I had an appointment to get my hair cut and as usual I found a way to delay my departure to the point that if I broke a few speed limit laws I could get there on time. So that is the foundation of my saga on shooting yesterday.
I grabbed my D600 with the Nikon 80 – 400 mm VR lens. What I wanted to take but didn’t have time to get it put together was the D4 and the 500 mm lens. Yes I could have come all the way back to our home got that setup and then back to the river but that would have killed another hour.
So I’ll talk about the camera settings and all my excuses as to why this was a challenging shoot. First of all it was a grey day. Shooting images of eagles against that grey sky was like shooting a subject in front of a bright light source. When I raised the shadows to bring out the details in the feathers the sky went almost pure white. Should have used some exposure compensation but I didn’t think of it at the time. 😦
So I shot most of the 605 images at ISO 1000, 1/2000 of a second @ f8.0. The D600 does not handle noise as well as the D4 but I think the software did a pretty good job of reducing it to acceptable levels. I was totally unprepared for the shot above. This juvenile flew over the top of me as I was just getting out of the car, so I didn’t have a change to get set up properly.
It is difficult to shoot at Lock and Dam 10 because of the high fences and the location of the lock is such that it blocks a good view of the dam where the eagles fish. So I decided to drive over to the Wisconsin side of the river and I did have better results there. This image has almost no cropping to it as he was headed for a tree behind me and was nice enough to get close to my lens.
Even though the temperature was a balmy 29 degrees the wind was blowing with enough intensity that it got very cold after a short amount of time, which also slows down the action of the camera. The D600 only shoots at 5 fps, which is pretty slow for shooting flying birds. Additionally it has a small buffer so you can only rip off about 8 shots and then it has to write to the card, which means no more images until it clears out some of the buffer. The D4 on the other hand shoots at a robust 11 fps and has a huge buffer. I’ve shot as high as 30 – 40 images before it slowed down to write to the card.
This is an interesting image not from a technical stand point but because of the story behind it. This young juvenile had been pestering the mature eagle for some time. I made a lot of shots of them “dinking” with each other on the ice and occasionally in the air. On this occasion the mature eagle suddenly diverted towards the river and made a great catch of a fair-sized fish. I got the blurry image of him getting the prize but they are not worth showing. Anyway the young eagle was left without any food as the older eagle took his catch across the river to the high bluff trees by Eagle Point Park. Maturity has its benefits. 🙂
More to the story yet to come but that’s it for today. Remember you can click on the images to view them in a larger format. I hope you enjoy this day, cold as it’s going to be. Thanks for stopping by. Stay warm and be careful.