How I improved my Bald Eagle photography
As winter is starting here in Squamish it means that the Bald Eagles will start returning. This winter I was thinking how I can improve my Bald Eagle photography. I set my goal to not to take any photos of Bald Eagles in trees or standing on the river bank unless it has a fish or is fighting another Eagle. With is in mind I set out to get action photos as to me they are more interesting.
Coming from a place where there were no wild Bald Eagles just seeing one in a tree was amazing to me, so of course I would take a photo and think wow a Bald Eagle.
Looking back at the photos I now think how boring is that photo as its just a bird sat in a tree. Such you get some good detail of the Eagle which is nice but still not very interesting.
The first thing I can say about only taking action is that you have to get up early as Bald Eagles hunt from sunrise to about 10 a.m.
Because of being out early morning as the sun is coming up there is a mix of light and shadows where the Eagles flies so its best to have your camera set to Auto ISO.Â The reason to set your camera to Auto ISO is when you are a following a subject that is flying it will be going in and out of the shadows. If you have your ISO set to lets say 500 there is a good chance the image will come out too dark when the Eagle is in the shadows.
To catch the action of any fast moving object your shutter speed needs to be fast ideally around 1/2000 or faster.
Of course once the sun is up and there is light manually set the ISO to the lowest it can be while still being able to use a fast shutter speed.
One other thing about taking interesting photos is to think outside the box. Sure Bald Eagles can fly straight and level but that can be a dull photo, but what about an Eagle coming into land or taking off, such as the below.
Camera with Manual modeÂ â€“ M on the dial so will need to be able to set the shutter speed and Aperture
Telephoto Lens -Â Ideally bigger the better but the minimum would be 200mm if you can get close but the chances are you’ll shooting from a distance so something like 500-600mm.
Tripod â€“ Because you will be using fast shutter speed there is no need for a tripod.
Here is a link to the gear I use My Gear List
Bald Eagles Settings
- For a Bald Eagle in flight a fast shutter speed such as 1/2000 or quicker
- Auto ISO until the sun is up and there is the light to manually set your ISO to use 1/2000
- Early morning you might have to have your Aperture wide open but as the morning gets brighter stop down your Aperture which will help make the image sharper.