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Old Jan 28, 2004, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default Eagles

Here is a gallery of eagles pictures I shot yesterday:


The weather was really bad. Very overcast and very close to sunset. Luckly it wasn't snowing. But this meant that my shutter speed averaged about 1/30th to 1/180 after an exposure compensation of -1 1/3 stops (and that is at ISO400!) Oh, and the eagle was about 120 feet away or so. Gotta get a bigger lens. first_eagle10-13 were taken with a 1.4xTC for an even lower shutter speed, but a larger view.

Considering the situation, I'm fairly pleased with them. I had to do a lot of PS work, including level, sharpening, contrast, croping & neatimage to remove the noise.

Comment if you want (espeically if you have some photoshop tips to make them better) but there was nothing I could do about the angle or distance. I didn't want to scare it (food is scarse right now and making it burn energy might be contributing to its death) and I was shooting over water. The group of birdwatchers that have been keeping tabs on the pair had thought they had left. We had 4 days of near 10 below zero (including windchill) so we worried that the eagles had died or left. Luckly they haven't.

We're hoping the pair nests, as they've stayed here over 4 winters now. It doesn't look good for this year, but we're hoping.

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Old Jan 29, 2004, 8:34 AM   #2
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Beautiful bird, Eric. I've never had a camera readily available whenever I've seen one. Even nestled in the limbs, you captured him well. While it would be possible to get rid of the offending limbs, I don't think it's necessary.

The pictures appear underexposed IMO. Why did you underexpose 1 1/3 stops in the camera? Can you pull out any more using levels/curves?

Lens used? Tripod?
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Old Jan 29, 2004, 8:38 AM   #3
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wow....i'm jealous....i'm not sure i've even seeeen a bald eagle....let alone get to take a picture of it.....
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Old Jan 29, 2004, 8:59 AM   #4
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If I didn't use -1 1/3 exposure comp, I would have been shooting at about 1/15 shutter speed. I didn't think I could have gotten something sharp at 400mm (+ 1.6x sensor crop) at that speed because of camera shake, wind and bird movement. I don't like doing more than about -2/3 or -1/3 exposure comp (when trying to steal back shutter speed) but I didn't feel I had a choice. It was very overcast that day (and New England winters are just darker in general.)

I tried to pull it out with levels (about 2/3s or so had no data on the rigth side of the histogram before I edited), but doing it more brought out the noise (at least I thought so.) I'm open for interesting ideas for combating that. I guess I could have used neatimage at "remove all noise" instead of "default" noise reduction. Maybe that would have allowed more pulling with levels? I'm not an expert with curves (I'm only starting to get it) I'll try messing with them a bit and see what I get.

Humm... maybe I should ask bcoultry what she thinks, she knows a lot more PS than I do.

Camera: 10D
Lens: 100-400L at 400mm (a few shots with the Canon 1.4x TC)
Tripod: Gitzo 1348 with Arca Swiss B1G head

Argueably the second best carbon fiber tripod made for steadyness (the 1548 being better.) I got the tripod and head for $700 used. Both in great shape (the head looked new.) New they are about $1,200, and I wouldn't have purchased them. That head is nice, but way too heavy. I expect to buy a big lens some time, and that tripod is made for just that purpose (500 or 600mm) But the reality is if you get a big lens, you don't really use a ball head, you get a gimbal head... so I might sell that head in the future (and replace it with a similar smaller/lighter/cheaper one.)


Depending on where you live, you might be able to see eagles. You'd be surprised how far south bald eagles do during the winter. You can find 50+ on one rivers in Connecticut.

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