Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rainy Day Eagles

Rain, rain, rain. Lately, that's all it's been doing here in Vancouver. And on the days that it's not raining, I'm at work, so I haven't done much shooting this month. Today I gave in and decided to brave the elements to hopefully get some photos of Bald Eagles.

A co-worker/photographer/writer, Ryan Frawley ( has been talking lately of a place near Harrison where there are tons of eagles and today we headed out there to try and find some to photograph.

Neither of us knew if the eagles would be very active due to the constant downpour but with optimism leading the way, we headed to Harrison.

As soon as we pulled up to the spot we knew immediately that we would get a few photos. This photo below is unedited and merely to show the amount of eagles we came across. Anybody care to count 'em up??

1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 800, 105 mm

So once the "evidence" photo was out of the way, it was time to get serious and photograph some eagles. The first eagle we spotted was hanging out atop a post in the river.

1/750 @ f/5.6, ISO 800, 400mm

Shortly after that, there were a few eagles flying around and we were able to snap a few quick shots of them. They were out further than I normally like to shoot, but distant shots are good too because they place the eagle in its natural setting.

1/750 @ f/5.6, ISO 800, 400mm

1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 1250, 400mm

After those 2 flight shots, the action died down a bit so I took one more shot of a few on posts and it was time to hit the road.

1/125 @ f/11, ISO 800, 300mm, +1.0ev

With photo gear and rain gear packed up, it was time to head home... or was it? As we rounded a turn in the road, we saw one last photo opportunity, and it ended up being one of my favorite eagle photos I've taken. The rain may complicate many things when it comes to photography. It can damage your gear, it can make for an uncomfortable time, and it also means that it's cloudy out, and therefore lighting isn't the greatest. And since lighting isn't the greatest, settings need to be set in a way that is normally not ideal such as high ISO and a slower shutter speed. The rain also cuts down on visibility and the further away the subject is, the more rain between it and your camera, and the photo loses detail. But in this photo below the rain actually ends up having a positive effect on the photo by giving it a certain mood and despite all the negative things I've just mentioned about shooting in the rain, I'm definitely going to do it more often.

1/180 @ f/5.6, ISO 800, 400mm

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