A beautiful Sunday Morning and a rapidly recovering son gave me the opportunity to head down to Newcomerstown Ohio this morning to photograph what has to be one of the most accessible Bald Eagle's nests in the area. I have visited this nest before, but it's been about 10 years. This is a great time of the year to visit this nest because the Eaglets are starting to get active. I wasn't disappointed.
I arrived about daybreak (7:15 AM ) and it was cold... around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. As I was getting out of the truck, another photographer (who apparently is crazier than me) yelled out to hurry because mom was feeding the Eaglets. I grabbed my gear and rushed to the spot, setup, and started shooting. What I didn't do, however, was check for exposure on the first set of shots. My typical base ISO is 800 and that's where my camera was set. The sun doesn't hit the nest until around 8 so my shutter speeds were a horribly slow 1/100s. The shots mostly turned out because Eagles don't move that fast on the nest. I got lucky. This is the first shot I got. This was shot at on my Canon 1DX, 500 F4L IS (v1), 1.4x ii TC (800 ISO, f5.6, 1/100s). Needless to say it was an exciting way to start the morning.
As soon as the first sequence was complete, I realized my mistake and started bumping up the ISO. I ended up at ISO 1250 for the first part of the morning. Not as clean as 800, but it got me enough shutter speed to be confident I wouldn't blur the shots as long as she stayed on the nest. More photographers started to arrive at this point and we all chatted about different locations and froze together as we waited for the next feeding cycle. We must've been quite the sight to the non bird photographers who steam down that little country road at about 60 mph. The next cycle came about 45 mins later, and we were ready. This was shot with the same lens combo (1250 ISO, f5.6, 1/1000s) A little noisier, but sharper for the faster shutter speed.
Soon the sun hit the nest and the light was perfect. I was finally able to swap out my 1.4x for the 2x iii teleconverter giving me a 1000mm f8 lens. Here are some of the results.
Since my time was limited, and I couldn't feel my fingers any more, I had to leave around 11. It was a great morning. I met some good people, and got some great shots, and to enjoy nature. I hope to get down again before these guys fledge. Just remember that nests like these don't last forever. A storm could come through tomorrow and take them out forever. In any case, these two won't be this little for much longer
Make sure to check out my Eagle gallery to see more shots from this morning and other shoots around Ohio