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Sea Eagles in North Norway - first time "birding"

Discussion in 'Birds' started by ThorBob, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. ThorBob

    ThorBob Guest

    Let me start off by saying that I am in no way a "birder"; I have just started trying to track moving targets with my D200. And I am humbled and downright amazed as to the results you good people post in this forum!

    So, not knowing much about birds, and without much practice at shooting "non-static" targets I still have had this hankering to get some pictures of the big, beautiful Sea Eagle, or White-tailed Eagle as they are also known. Its Europes largest bird of prey, and a full grown can sport an impressive 255 cm (approx 100 inch) wingspan. They are quite plentiful up here, but extremely shy of people. So I have typically been spending a lot of time staring off into the distance at soaring eagles, too far away for any kind of pictures. So I had basically written it off as something for my future "to-do" list; something I'd try when I had more knowledge of the bird and its habitat and habits.

    Then today I took a stroll on the beach with my Nikon, which fortunatly had the 70-200 / TC-17 combo mounted. As I'm messing around taking shots of some boats off the shore I see a shadow pass over and a "whoshing" sound. YIKES - eagle! Fumbling like a madman to get the camera switched into "bird mode" (tracking focus, dynamic focus area, wide open aperature, 5-shot-a-sec mode) I'm cursing up a storm, because I figure it'll do the one pass then bug out, like they always do.

    But this baby took an INTEREST in me; I don't know if I looked like eagle-bait, but it just kept circling me, then taking passes over my head. Needless to say I kept that trigger pressed on full "machinegun mode" Lighting was tricky (full sunlight directly overhead), and maintaining focus on the swooping beast was hard, but I was just giggling with joy over getting that close to it.

    After several passes the eagle seemed to get fed up with some seagulls that where freaking out nearby (I guess they had a nest in the area), and it bugged out.

    The shots are of no high technical standard; some of this is due to the lighting (hard, mid-day sunlight and a big bird swooping in form above makes some harsh contrasts), some is due to focus issues. All the shots are hand held with my D-200 and Nikkor 70-200 2.8 w/ TC-17. F4.8 (wide open), AF in "continuous", AF area "dynamic area" and VR in "Normal". Oh, and I would appriciate any suggestions as to changes that could/should be made in similar scenarios. (Like, maybe a 300 f2.8? :tongue:) 

    Anyways, sorry about all my jabbering; here are some of my shots from "Eagle-Day":




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  2. adzla

    adzla Guest

    wow..not bad. I'm also trying to capture flying bird like in my thread. Hope that I will achieve like yours...and also I have to get one of those 70-200 2.8vr lens..(or longer & faster lens).:smile:
     
  3. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    First time..uh huh:>)))

    Beautiful show.
    Beautiful Eagle
     
  4. Majestic birds - WOW!
     
  5. Chris_B

    Chris_B

    Mar 12, 2006
    Arlington, VA
    Those are great Bob. I am jealous. You really could not have done much better. Watch out, you may be hooked. While the 300 2.8 may seem like an out of reach luxury now, soon it will feel like an absolute necessity. BIF photography is a sickness.

    The only things I could suggest are some PP to lighten up the shadows but honestly your shots are very good given the conditions. Did you add any +ev? When shooting into a bright sky, I think that some +ev will help expose for the subject better while blowing out the sky so it is all a trade off. You will have to play with ev and exposure settings to get the right balance.
     
  6. Nice captures ThorBob as you have captured just about one of the largest type of eagles going that being the sea eagle in Norway.
    Lou
     
  7. Tim O

    Tim O

    Jun 11, 2006
    Illinois
    First time yea right:eek:  all kidding aside these are really good Bob.The 70-200 vr with that 1.7 makes a great little combo been using it for a good while and I really like it:smile:Keep at it and as for changes what the heck get the 400 2.8:biggrin::biggrin:
     
  8. ThorBob

    ThorBob Guest

    adzla: Thank you! I certainly love that 70-200, but I guess one can never get enough reach :wink:

    Gale: Thank you! First, but most certainly not the last attempt! :smile:

    Frits: Thank you! They are indeed magnificent creatures!

    Chris_B: Thank you for the words and the excellent advise! None of the shots are taken with any EV compensiation, but I will be giving some of the shots a do-over in PS; tweak the curves a bit, I think.

    Lou Buscher: Thank you Lou, your awesome eagle captures are an inspiration.

    Tim O: Thank you for looking! I do love the 70-200/TC17 combo for its flexibility. But a 300...or a 400...mmmmm...leeensluuust....:biggrin:

    Thor
     
  9. Well I think you might be bitten by the bug right now! You did really well, as well as noe can do wht that lesn combo I think, love the thrid one on a slant a very unusual pose....

    I think the only way to get even sharper shots (with that combo) would be to put it on a tripod and turn VR OFF, But then again it would have been hard to follow the "Have oern" in the viewfinder.

    Nice work and a good story too!

    God Lycke naeste gaang!
     
  10. Glacier

    Glacier

    Jan 17, 2006
    Boaz, Alabama
    What a thrill this must have been! I think you captured some real beauties and I would be happy to have these in my files. #7 looks like a wallhanger to me!
     
  11. ThorBob A little Norwegian eagle story for you. My very best friend a Norwegian (born and bred) passed away about a year ago but he always liked my eagle photos and saved all of them. He told me a story about a sea eagle back home and how it had taken a small child right out of a carriage while outside sleeping and taking it to it's nest on the side of a cliff. It seems the child was bundled up quite well in clothing as it slept but was heard crying up in the nest. Many of the men from the small town got together and lowered a man down from the top of the cliff into the sea eagles nest and was able to pick the child up from the nest. My friends name was Elias Haaland and his wife still lives here in Willow N.Y. and if you want to know the name of the town I am sure she knows it.
    Lou
     
  12. hirez_pez

    hirez_pez Guest

    Those are some great shots!
     
  13. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    You did very well Bob. Given the circumstances, you got some excellent BIF shots. As to the 300 2.8, well it probably is the best all-around bird lens going, but the 300 f4 isn't far behind, and it's about one-fifth the cost. :smile:
     
  14. ThorBob

    ThorBob Guest

    Thank you all so much for the great feedback! I'm sorry I took so long in replying, but work does tend to get in the way at times...:redface: But I have been busy with the camera, and in a fit of intense LLD I ordered me a big, beautiful 300 2.8 VR :Love: Now the challange is shooting some shots worthy of this fine piece of glass!

    andreasb: Tusen takk skal du ha! Yes, I do believe that the "BIF"-bug has bitten me BAD! :biggrin: At one point I'd luv to have a Wimberly-type tripod set-up, but for now I will try some monopod shots and see how that works for BIF shots.

    Glacier: Thank you very much! It was indeed a huge thrill, and one that does not seem to get old either; even a plain-ole seagull gets the blood pumping when it cruises overhead!

    Lou Buscher: Ah yes, the story of the "eagle girl" is still the stuff of legends around here. Just last week one of the newspapers ran a story about it, with interviews of the "girl" (she is in her 80's now), and she swears she remembers it. Experts are quite sceptic about it, but it certainly makes for an interesting story! Here is a link to the story that ran; unfortunatly its in norwegian.

    hirez_pez: Thank you so much!

    Flew: Thank you very much! What can I say; when LLD bugs bite, they really BITE - so that 300 2.8 is already hard at work. Needless to say I LOVE it, and I hope to have some shots worth showing here soon!

    Thor
     
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