The Eagle Has Landed

Playing Favorites

I have been privileged to photograph certain species of wild critters
multiple times.

Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, Rough-legged Hawks and Red Fox were all
animals with which I had several opportunities to click the shutter.

Others, such as River Otters, Beavers and Badgers I only had one chance.

The in-between species for me is clearly the American Bald Eagle. I
had a few “good” opportunities (maybe ten),  but not as many as I
would have preferred.   As is often the case, within those handful of
opportunities, there are a small handful of individual creatures that
remain vivid in my memory. One of my favorites were a mated pair of
eagles that switched back and forth posing on some nearby branches
over a river, one morning. I have showed you varied images from those
two, dozens of times.

Below we find my other favorite (almost) mature Bald Eagle, and a shot
of my favorite immature Bald Eagle. I have also share their pictures
on many occasions. The were captured (the photos that is) on a very
frozen (minus 5-10 degrees) Mississippi River near a lock and dam, on
the Illinois and Iowa border.

Favorites often become what they are to us because of opportunities
and backgrounds, but there is such a thing as a subject being more
photogenic than others.

First the younger eagle. This young bird was active and interesting,
but above all he/she photographed beautifully. Of course that winter
light does help.
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Good opportunities, nice light, and a photogenic bird are a great
start, but nice poses also help.

Cropping (via lens and your own shooting  position along with editing
crops) even when slight, is always suggested. A great pose, followed
by a crop that brings us into an intimate viewing position, is a way
to give viewers a sort of journey.

I loved making action shots of eagles, but sometimes there is nothing
like a portrait.

The images below are all different pictures. The closer shots are not
just further cropping of the more distant ones.
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Of course, every opportunity should be exploited. This is still the same bird.
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Different birds of one species are often to be found together at the
same location in winter, and this was one on that day.

Portraits can be a nice change up from action, but the reverse is also the case.
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Of course, there are always those species that we have photographed so
many times, that we do not relate to the individual animal. They are
often less romantic as well. They are however, also important to our
files.

Light is a factor in all photography. This Dark-eyed Junco Sparrow
posed at the edge of a woodland.
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The male Northern Shoveler is a common, but interesting and colorful
bird. They have always seemed to produce natural art in front of my
camera for me.  If the bird is not great than the water “carries the
day”, so to speak.
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Of course having favorite subjects from within the insect/spider
community, or even remembering one little critter from another is not likely. They
are none the less, compelling subjects.

I have no recollection of making this image some twelve years ago.
Even flies are interesting when you look close enough.
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Bees on flowers were a favorite subject for me. Given a brief few
seconds to create an image like this means you make your compositions
on the move, twisting and re-positioning your camera (and tripod) as
you shoot.
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Spiders are not a favorite subject of many photographers, but I loved
them. Even, or maybe especially, this female Wolf Spider with an egg
sack.
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The eagle has landed, but so have many other great wildlife subjects.
The secret to great wildlife photography, in fact the secret to all
good image making, is to embrace and love all potential subjects.

Here’s praying y’all remain COVID-19 free. God Bless,
Wayne

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