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Old Jan 10, 2010, 4:36 PM   #11
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Hi Greg: That was impressive. I've never seen so many eagles in one place!
Glad you didn't get frostbite!
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 6:46 PM   #12
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for adding the last batch of images. They put conditions in perspective and give us who aren't there with you a good idea of what the location looks like.

In a word, it looks bleak.... okay, I'll add another word: COLD!!!

You didn't mention wether you've left or are still there. But if you are still there, (and if you haven't already tried it) I would give focusing the 300mm
manually a try. Obviously, it won't work in every situation. But , if the birds are feeding, they're going to be gliding above the surface of the water making it somewhat easier to pan the bird as it flies by. I've tried it on the water when skimmers were searching for sand eels on the surface. I had a significantly better keeper rate doing that than using C-AF.

BTW, do you have a beanbag that's used on the glass of a car door window to steady a large lens? Being the lazy sort that I am, I picture myself having one of those and having it straddling the driver side window with the window rolled up almost to the top. When I saw a bird, I'd lower the window and rest the lens on the bean bag.

Regardless, these images and your post do a great job in telling a story and explain the myriad of difficulties presented when photographing birds in flight.


Also, you asked a (rhetorical) question as to why the shad have difficulties with the water at the head of the dam. Some of the smaller fish get caught in the currents roaring through the dam. Those that do can sometimes get disoriented and end up at the outlet of the dam, where the Eagles, Osprey, and other birds of prey, just scoop them up.

Another reason, you'll find fish there is that the dam presents a major food source for larger fish as the water carries all kinds of small nymphs, fish, bugs, and nutrients. It's like a restaurant that's serving free food. The fish congregate there for a free and easy meal. They don't realize that they are The main course on the menu.

I'll stop blabbing about fish now...................(smile)

Zig
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 9:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Greg,

Thanks for adding the last batch of images. They put conditions in perspective and give us who aren't there with you a good idea of what the location looks like.

In a word, it looks bleak.... okay, I'll add another word: COLD!!!

Zig
Actually, I was comfortable. I had enough layers of clothing topped of with a very warm insulated coverall. I started off at first light at -14F and sat in a lawn chair for over an hour to start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
You didn't mention wether you've left or are still there. But if you are still there, (and if you haven't already tried it) I would give focusing the 300mm
manually a try. Obviously, it won't work in every situation. But , if the birds are feeding, they're going to be gliding above the surface of the water making it somewhat easier to pan the bird as it flies by. I've tried it on the water when skimmers were searching for sand eels on the surface. I had a significantly better keeper rate doing that than using C-AF.

Zig
I only stayed the weekend. I worked sixty some hours last week, so the fun is over.

I didn't try the MF thing. I've not been a fan of MF the non-SWD lenses as the focus by wire just doesn't move in an intuitive way. That and my eyes are not as good as they used to be. I'll have to give it a go, but I'm not confident in my abilities here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post

BTW, do you have a beanbag that's used on the glass of a car door window to steady a large lens? Being the lazy sort that I am, I picture myself having one of those and having it straddling the driver side window with the window rolled up almost to the top. When I saw a bird, I'd lower the window and rest the lens on the bean bag.

Zig
I don't have a bean bag, but it would fit my style well. It is generally how I was shooting the first morning. I was bracing my elbow on the inside door handle with the lens resting on the heel of my hand. It was hell on my wrist after awhile and my stability wasn't the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post

Regardless, these images and your post do a great job in telling a story and explain the myriad of difficulties presented when photographing birds in flight.


Also, you asked a (rhetorical) question as to why the shad have difficulties with the water at the head of the dam. Some of the smaller fish get caught in the currents roaring through the dam. Those that do can sometimes get disoriented and end up at the outlet of the dam, where the Eagles, Osprey, and other birds of prey, just scoop them up.

Another reason, you'll find fish there is that the dam presents a major food source for larger fish as the water carries all kinds of small nymphs, fish, bugs, and nutrients. It's like a restaurant that's serving free food. The fish congregate there for a free and easy meal. They don't realize that they are The main course on the menu.

I'll stop blabbing about fish now...................(smile)

Zig
Fishing is fun, but I've gotten away from it in large measure. I kind of wish I was in a boat floating with the current to get closer to the perched eagles.

The closest I've been to an eagle is fishing in Canada. I was trolling along a shoreline with an electric motor, back against the shore. My hair was ruffled as a mature bird let me know I was too close to the nest. Having seen the wingspan of the bird from inside of three feet, needless to say I couldn't get that outboard started fast enough.

My father came home with a 10.5 lb walleye from that trip, which is on the wall in the basement. I caught a 15 lb northern, but my highlight was having a monster Musky tailslap a mepps spinner out of the water after following it in the cast before. That thing had to have exceeded 30 lbs.

Greg

Last edited by fldspringer; Jan 10, 2010 at 9:41 PM.
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 9:12 AM   #14
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Thanks, Greg-

That is a great series of photos.

Have a great day and please stay warm.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 11, 2010, 11:40 AM   #15
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Greg,
......though I live in 'Black Bass Nation' you've mentioned my two favorite fish. My largest walleye was just a touch over 8 and the big northern was 27 lbs. @ 51 inches, what a summer 1961 was, I worked 6 days guiding on the lake then on my day off I went fishing and had many big northern follow the trolling trail, fun to see a lunker lay back skimming the surface.

Thanks for the photos especially of the roosting eagles,,,, I don't remember ever seeing eagles over in Page county where I grew up.

Warming here in TX this week, actually pleasant at 40 F here at noon today.
____
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