Birds and a Plane

Sharpness test on Beaker

I spent a little more time with my new lens today. I got out to the river at 7:00 am, 40 minutes before sunrise. The temperature was 5 degrees F when I left, so I didn’t see any critters on my way to the river. However, just as I got the to edge of the water, I saw the silhouette of a large bird flying north to south high above the bosque on the other side of the river. Thinking it was a crane by its size, I started snapping photos, but as it came into profile, I realized it was an eagle, but it was still a small shadow in my viewfinder in the pre-dawn light (even with a 600 mm lens), so I couldn’t tell what kind of eagle it was — I suspected it was a golden eagle. Only after I blew up the image and added enough fill-light in the post processing to get some detail in the bird, I discovered it was a bald eagle. Since the light was low, and the eagle kept its distance, I had to do a lot of post processing to get to the images of the eagle, which are still fuzzy. The first two eagle photos were taken just after 7:00 am, then just before sunrise it made another pass south of where I was photographing herons and cranes, which is the 3rd eagle photo.

While I stood on the west bank of the river photographing the cranes and geese, a couple of herons flew in and landed directly across from me on the other side of the river. I stood in the same spot observing and photographing the herons, cranes, ducks and geese until 8:45 am.  The herons moved little most of the time I was there, but as a couple of cranes walked by, they got a little riled and strutted a bit. The photo of the heron and crane together shows how big the cranes are compared to the herons, which are large birds.

I got the photo of the sparrow about 11:00 am, used beaker as a sharpness test — since he holds still for me — and photographed the lesser goldfinch when I took out the trash around 2:00 pm. The jet was photographed around 4:00 pm. I was surprised how much detail I got in the jet given its altitude; however, since it appears to move slower and is much more reflective in the late afternoon sun than an eagle is in the pre-dawn light, its details came out much better than the eagle’s.

Bald Eagle flying over the bosque before sunrise
Profile of Bald Eagle flying over the bosque before sunrise
Bald Eagle making a pass at sunrise
Heron strutting
Heron & crane