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Old Mar 9, 2006, 11:46 AM   #1
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Been a while since I last posted some photos but finally had a good outing last Sunday in my quest for a good photo of a Bald Eagle... Its taken me a while, and a lot of attempts, but I believe the improvement from my first attempt -- ~ 6-weeks ago from long range (...with my humble Pany FZ5 5-MP w/12X 432mm zoom + TCON-17 and a lot of Post Processing):

EXIF: 432mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~734mm Zoom f/5.6 1/400 ISO80 Shutter Priority-Mode +0.66 EV Exposure Bias Center Weighted Metering Resting on a tripod (forgot the quick release adapter at home!)



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Since that time, I've been back maybe 4-5 times with no success. Sunday, I went back to the area on a Park Ranger's 'Bald Eagle Tour' of the lake area and was lucky enough to be pointed out where an old Aerie was located on the lakeshore. While we were finally treated to the lone remaining ‘Teenager' BE still hanging around for the season, we were on the lake in a pontoon boat, the midmorning sun was behind the Aerie and his perch… Because he is about 3-4 years old and the mature nesting pair of BEs have apparently already started to migrate north, I feel this one was possibly born in this Aerie and just liked the ‘homey-smell'…

EXIF: 472mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~800mm Zoom f/5 1/400 ISO-100 P-Mode Center Weighted Metering Monopod mounted in a boat



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After a few minutes, I guess he wanted a better vantage point to see what's up with the gaggle of spectators pointing, oohing and ahhing…

EXIF: 363mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~618mm Zoom f/8 1/2000 ISO100 Shutter Priority-Mode Center Weighted Metering Monopod mounted in a boat



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One of the better ones from our poor vantage point in the lake…
EXIF: 400mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~680mm Zoom f/5.6 1/640 ISO100 Shutter Priority-Mode Center Weighted Metering Monopod mounted in a boat...


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The Sunday Bald Eagle saga continuation picks up after leaving the boat ‘Eagle Tour'. I drove further up the hill and found a turn out that allowed me to look downhill on the Aerie…



And a few minutes later...



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And one time using the Burst-H mode really helped…

EXIF: 372mm (10X) x TCON-17 = ~632mm Zoom f/4.5 1/500 ISO-100 P-Mode Center Weighted Metering Tripod mounted w/burst-H mode



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While climbing down to the shoreline, I was able to get a couple of distant shots of a Great Blue Heron…

EXIF: 432mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~800mm Zoom f/5.6 1/400 ISO-80 Shutter Priority-Mode Center Weighted Metering W/Daisy RDS Monopod mounted w/burst-H mode



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Walking to my next spot, this little Hummer said hi!

EXIF: 432mm (12X) x TCON-17 = ~800mm Zoom f/4.5 1/400 ISO-80 P-Mode Center Weighted Metering Monopod mounted



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A few hours later, after trudging down the steep forested hillside, I was able to get a fair shot of a gliding BE overhead, albeit at a bit of altitude. (I used 10X zoom + TCON-17 for a bit wider field of view to ensure I would have him in the frame. I also used my tripod with the legs collapsed as a ‘Monopod system' for this RDS shot… – Note: Using the audible sound for confirming ‘apparent' focus lock is very handy but is not 100% effective for distant shots in a ‘high sky' situation); The audible (Low) beep did not seem to bother the BE very much, by the by…

EXIF: 372mm (10X) x TCON-17 = ~632mm Zoom f/5 1/400 ISO-80 P-Mode +0.36 EV Exposure Center Weighted Metering W/Daisy RDS Tripod mounted but used as a Monopod with legs extended/together for a counter-weight stability effect



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And, finally, taking a few shots every hundred of feet or so while ‘creeping up' to a closer vantage point behind some intervening trees finally put me close enough to get a pretty good portrait shot, IMHO…

EXIF: 402mm (11X) x TCON-17 = ~685mm Zoom f/6.3 1/250 ISO-80 Aperture Priority Mode Center Weighted Metering Tripod mounted w/2-second delay



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Now if I can only get a portable, 80-foot Hi-Lift Bucket converted into a ‘hidden blind' to get up closer to the treetops while he isn't looking…
Kevin C. –- any suggestions?

Hey, Bob M. -- Am I getting better… Or is it more to do with better opportunities…

I shot over 600 photos, filled my 1GB 80X card, ran down 2 full batteries, hiked up and down REALLY steep slopes for over two miles trying to get to better shooting locations and get closer to the moving target. But, in the end, my persistence paid off as my experience had taught me (AKA-past failures), and other forum members had preached...

So, to all newbies with your great Pany Super-Zooms – don't get disheartened! After over 4-months of trying, I believe these are beginning to show what patience, persistence and experience (read: lots of deleted, OOF et al attempts!) and a good Auto Focus Super Zoom can do! This last venture gave me a rough ‘keeper' ratio of about 3-5 per 100 shots with only 10 or so pretty good ones. BIF and good distance shots are REALLY hard! Its no where near what the dSLR forums' posted photo quality is but, hey, I only paid $323 for the FZ5 camera, $80 for the TCON-17 and $12 for the Daisy RDS sight! Stay patient, keep trying and recognize that the camera will give you some quality photos with an adequate investment of your time!
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 1:29 PM   #2
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Great post

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"these were really too distant for FZ+Tcon too, but at least you got the results with a relatively cheap material ...and a lot of patience of course.
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 1:45 PM   #3
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Looking at these shots, I can only nod in agreement. I have on occasion had a few opportunities to shoot the BE's but I've not yet been lucky enough to bring home what I would like. If you haven't already looked at the wildlife forum, go see Linda Krueger's Bald eagle shots. They are unbelievable. She also has a web site. I believe she shoots with a canon 20D, can only imagine what lense, but her shots definately are the kind anyone would dream of taking themselves. I know you have expended a lot of energy to get the shots you posted, I'm not knocking your pics. Mine don't compare to yours and I spent a whole afternoon/best part of a day early last summer...quietly sneaking around hills, gullies, hill tops, lakeshores...tip toeing after a couple these monster winged rascals. All I got was a wee little image perched in a humungous tree, sittin' on a branch probably laughing at me. This year, I am better prepared and better equipped. And I am going to try again. Really enjoyed your post...

Kd
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Old Mar 9, 2006, 2:04 PM   #4
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Thanks, Guys! Only those that have my passion for these hard to find, much less get within a decent range of a lot of glass, can appreciate just how hard it is to come back with even a few so-so shots!

I also peak in and post every now and then over at OLP-Wildlife-II forum where most posters seem to have dSLRs and an extensive spectrum ofglass that give them some extraordinary photos. Then, too, a few of the posters at OLP live where BEs are very common (One post showed over 20+ BEs perched in one tree...)

Realizing that my FZ5 usually can't approach the sharpness and quality of a good dSLR in most circumstances, I'm, nonetheless, stoked about getting a couple of opportunities with it in good light and at not-so-far distances. It just shows that, given the right conditions, the FZ5 can produce some comparable quality shots at an order of magnitude lower system price...

As in golf, the frustration of the quest always seems to give one at least a few tidbits now and then to keep the passion alive...
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