Myself and two girlfriends spent the day out in the country looking for birds to photograph. Late in the afternoon I spied this big guy on the side of a hill. My friend Theresa was driving and I said, “What is that? Is that a turkey?” As she slowed down and we drew closer I was thrilled to see it was a Golden Eagle as big as a Turkey hen!
He spooked easily. The sound of our cameras clicking had him airborne in a flash!
Shooting from the passenger side of the car and through the open driver’s side window I was able to get off 3 shots before he was out of my line of sight.
This was the first time I’ve ever seen one in the wild and this close. It was so exciting. While this isn’t an award-winning photo I’m still floating and elated that I got this shot.
I’ve been trying for weeks to get a decent shot of a Kite that lives in Moss Landing without success. That Kite likes to perch on a tree out in a Marsh which is too far away for my longest lens. Here’s the best I’ve been able to get. It’s soft, and there isn’t much detail. I used a Nikkor 70-300mm VR on a tripod for this shot in mid November 2011.
I hoped by renting the Nikkor 300mm f4 I would have better luck. I’d be able to use my Tamron 1.4x Extender with it and have a bit more reach. With that in mind I took the rental lens with me last Saturday to Merced National Wildlife Refuge with my friend Rainey. We made a detour on the way to try to find some birds at another park and along the way we spotted this Kite perched on the branch. I was busy clicking away when I noticed it opened its beak, and then I heard it call then in came this other Kite! Oh, how I hoped I nailed the shot with its beak open!
While this photo isn’t as sharp, or have as much detail as I would like it to have I’m thrilled it’s decent and I did get the shot with its beak open. You can see a little more detail, but it’s still too far away for this lens plus extender. Also when using an Extender there is generally a loss of sharpness. With my aperture wide open and focused on the perched Kite I missed the opportunity to get them both in focus. I was focused on the perched one.
I’m learning though. One thing I’ll do differently the next time is stop the lens down to f8. I expect the clarity will improve a bit.
A brief word on the Nikkor 300mm F4 lens. This is the 3rd time I’ve rented this lens . Each time I rent it I want one of my own! It’s a great lens. It produces wonderful colors, and superb details if you can get a bit closer, and the Bokeh is yummy. I do wish it had image stabilization though. Hand-holding this lens isn’t easy so I’m using a tripod, or a pillow when I am shooting out of the car window.
Right after I took the picture above the perched Kite took flight. I got a little of his profile, and the sun peeked through the fog and overcast morning for a little while which lit up its chest nicely.
I do love the thrill of the chase so, I’ll continue to look for Kites maybe the next time they’ll be a bit closer.