Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer!

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This striking Bald Eagle silhouette was created last evening (Monday, March 21) with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens with the 1.4X III TC (handheld at 230mm) and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/5000 sec. at f/5.6.

Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer!

The second Homer IPT group (the first that Robert O’Toole and I are leading together) has been blessed. We enjoyed two out of four sunny mornings, no rain, and lots of great cloudy bright conditions. We had lots and lots of eagles and flight photography has been so good that folks have been quitting from fatigue and exhaustion. Many of run out of storage space; I have sold all but one of the Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro flash cards that I brought ๐Ÿ™‚

But we had not had very good luck with perched birds. We had not had very good luck getting tight head portraits. And we had very little luck with sunset color. Until yesterday afternoon….

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This image of a perched adult Bald Eagle was created yesterday afternoon with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400: 1/500 sec. at f/8 set manually after histogram/flashing highlights check.

After getting off the boats we put out some fresh cod for the eagles. Within twenty minutes we were surrounded by about a dozen adult birds and a dozen younger birds of varying ages including several gorgeous birds of the year. Most of them were quite tame.

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This image of a calling adult Bald Eagle was also created yesterday afternoon with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400: 1/320 sec. at f/11 set manually after histogram/flashing highlights check.

The bird above allowed several of us to walk right up to it. When a young bird hovered right above it in an effort to steal its perch, it began calling.

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This image of the talons of a juvenile Bald Eagle was also created on Monday afternoon with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400: 1/250 sec. at f/16 set manually after histogram/flashing highlights check.

After downing two four pound codfish a gorgeous immature eagle sat on a driftwood log for about two hours. The group created a large variety of images using lots of different lenses. For these talon shots I work at f/16 and focus half way up the closest toe.

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This Bald Eagle silhouette was created on Monday evening with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens with the 1.4X III TC (handheld at 250mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6.

We left the dock at 3pm and did not return until nearly 8:30. Simply put, it was a memorable day.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot–depending on the situation–with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EF 1.4X III TC. This new TC is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Leve.l You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am on a tripod and not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.

14 comments to Finally, Finally, and Finally in Homer!

  • avatar Ray Kammer

    Hi Art; Ray Kammer Here in Naperville, IL. Fantastic shots of the Eagles. Always wanted to go to Homer to get at least a few good images. Have followed you and the Eagles for a long time thru your Newsletter. We’re about 2 hrs from LeClaire, IA where Lock & Dam #14 on the
    Mississippi River is located. From time to time, in the freezing weather, there are about 30 to 50 Eagles sitting in the trees taking turns to dive in the open water for fish. Got some winning shots last year using the techniques you had recommended. Have sent you the clipping on the wipe out of the albatross on Midway Atol from the Japanese tsunami. Good news is the 60yr old bird, Wisdom, survived. All the best to you for more successful tours.
    Ray Kammer

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I’ve been to the Mississippi for eagles…. Got skunked ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the Midway info; I had heard that the old bird died…

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Sue, It is illegal to feed eagles only withing the city limits of Homer…. No troubles for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Charlie, You are right. That cod was pretty ripe! It was great meeting and working with you.

    Thanks Mike, Robert, Andrea, and Jay ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great Photos! But I thought it was illegal in Alaska to offer fish to the eagles. There was that story about the old lady in Homer who always fed the eagles and the state wildlife authorities told that she was only allowed to do that because she had been doing it for years. They added that she could continue until she died — which she did a few years ago.

    Don’t get in trouble, Artie!!!!

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    Great images – I’m glad I was standing right next to you for most of these. I agree with everything you said, except for the part about the cod being “fresh” ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks
    Charles

  • Absolutely amazing pictures. Every one of them is outstanding.
    I love the great light of the 2nd shot. The silhouettes are fantastic and the close-up of the feet is a very interesting composition which clearly shows the strength of those sea eagles.

    Did you get a shot of a White-tailed Eagle in Greece? It’s the Bald Eagles sister species, that is both evolved from the same ancestor (like humans and chimps).

    Markus

  • These are are some of the best eagle shots I’ve seen. Terrific!

  • Great images. Homer is THE place for eagle photography.

  • avatar Andrea Boyle

    Wow, what photos! They are beautiful and I can appreciate the work (and luck!) involved in getting them. The talon one is my favorite just because it is different.

  • avatar Jay Gould

    You are not kidding it must have been a memorable day – the opening image is beyond a “thousand words”. I love hot colors and the black silhouette against that amazing water is …………. WOW!!

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Thanks Peter. Scott Bourne is one of our participants.

  • Awesome images. Not Im jealous and envious…thanks a lot Art! To make it worse, Scott Bourne is also posting some beautiful images of Eagles from Alaska as well. Enjoy the rest of the trip.

  • Fabulous images, great weather: as fantastic as you said it would be.