Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautiful Bald Eagles!!

Soaring Eagle

What a wonderful experience I was able to have this weekend, thanks to some awesome friends and my new Master Maine Guide friend!  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I respect wildlife.  For that reason, I'm not listing the names of folks who led me to this wonderful new location, or where it is.  Whenever someone trusts me enough to share a proven wildlife location or especially a nesting or den location with me, I vow to keep the location private and not compromise the privacy or safety of the animals or birds.

With that said, I'd like to share a bit of my experience with you.  One of my Maine Guide friends got me in contact with his Master Maine Guide friend, who impressed me immensely with her knowledge of wildlife & birding locations in her area & beyond.  Her enthusiasm was contagious!  A friend & I met her at the location and even before the car had stopped, I saw the most gorgeous bald eagle soaring overhead!   Most eagle nests I've seen have been rather cluttered and hidden with branches, trees & sticks blocking a clear view for photography.  This location was about as perfect as it gets!  A clearing allowed me to setup my tripod & lens a good distance away & have a clear view of the nest and an even better view of the eagles as they soared overhead.

Bald Eagle in Nest

Lori photographed by KTGAW

Saturday was an extremely windy day, gusts were estimated to be around 40mph.  I was on my way back from visiting family & friends in Connecticut and I'd been hit with spring fever. I didn't even have hat, gloves or a warm coat in the truck... how unlike me!  The conditions were so windy, that for over an hour & a half, we watched as two, and sometimes FOUR bald eagles soared directly overhead.  The pair kept trying to get back into the nest, but the wind had definitely compromised their steering abilities.  It was exhilarating and frustrating at the same time!  I found myself cheering out loud for the eagle each time they came at the nest... imagining they must be getting exhausted from all the failed attempts to land.  Finally, we went back to the house for a hot cup of tea & homemade cookies, leaving the eagles to continue their struggle.  I felt guilty... not that me staying there cheering them on would have made a difference.

Eagle fighting the winds

Determined Eagle

On the way by the nest later that afternoon, I was relieved to see a white head peeking over the edge of the nest.  Thankfully, one of them was able to make it back.  The next morning, my Maine Guide friend & I (with hot coffee cups loaded & peanut butter on toast) headed back to the nest.  It was 23 degrees sometime after 7am and the wind was just starting to pick up.  Rather chilly, but thankfully, with borrowed warm clothes, I was more prepared.  There was one eagle in the nest and within an hour, the second one appeared.  Soon, they were both up in the air again!  We weren't sure if there is an egg (or eggs) currently on the nest, but judging by their behavior, I'd say not yet.  Both eagles were bringing nesting materials to add.  I'm guessing that they're preforming last minute prep work. Incubation for bald eagle eggs is 35 days. My Master Maine Guide friend says they are nesting late and should have eggs already, but they are a young couple.  Perhaps something happened to their first clutch and they are preparing to lay a second. 

Eagle bringing nesting materials

Eagle bringing nesting materials         

Lori & her lens   Photo by "Bad Jimmy"
I will try to check back on the progress of this nesting couple and will keep in touch with my Master Maine Guide friend, who I know will also be keeping an eye on their progress as well.  All I can say, is I wish them luck!  The top of that tall tree, on the hillside overlooking the water doesn't seem like a very warm, dry place where I'd be wanting to sit for 35 days this spring in Maine! 

Thanks everyone for checking in!  I'll be adding some of the eagle shots to my website over the next few days.  As always, I welcome feedback!

Thanks for the input!

Well, it's pretty much unanimous.  Folks like the first Acadia image from my last post much better than the second.  The blue sky and contrast seems to be much more appealing. Thank you everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to share their thoughts with me!  That is the image I printed large and framed for my upcoming show season.  And if I may say so myself, it looks pretty good!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I would LOVE your input!

Hi folks!

Perhaps spring really is on its way?  Its been raining here in Maine for the past day and a half.  The snow in my back yard is now only knee deep!  What a nice change.  I may feel differently as "mud season" approaches...

I've been plugging away in indoor work much of the winter but have gotten out photographing a bit.  Last week, I took a ride to Acadia National Park and Mt Desert Island early, early on some very chilly mornings, in search of some nice lighting and sea smoke. 

WELL!  The first morning I was out the door before 5am, but that wasn't quite early enough.  By the time I got to Ocean Drive, the sun was peeking over the horizon already.  Of course, it didn't help that the roads were very messy from the snow the night before and the folks ahead of me on the roads didn't seem to care that I was racing against the sunrise!  It was 5 degrees when I captured this image that morning.


It didn't feel too cold and would have been nice to just sit, take in the view & sip on a hot cup o'coffee.  Unfortunately, my coffee was long gone and would have been pretty darn cold at that point anyway!  Still, couldn't think of a more beautiful spot to start a morning of "work"!

The next morning I was up & out even earlier.  Out the door before 4:30 AM!  You'll notice the difference in lighting on these two images.  The image below, I had to wait for things to brighten up, since I was there way before sunrise.  I did make some images prior to sunrise, but they were so flat compared to the natural light and glow on the red rocks!


The second morning, the temperature was 9 BELOW zero!  I was pleasantly surprised that once I was out there & busy photographing, I hardly noticed the cold.  I was disappointed that even though the temperature & lack of wind seemed ideal for sea smoke, there really wasn't any.  Perhaps next time, conditions will cooperate a bit more.  Looking at these results and the beautiful location, the first light of the morning and the sounds of gulls & crashing waves, I wouldn't dare complain!

So, here's the question.  Which image do you like better and WHY?  I find there are attributes to each image that I like and I do like one slightly more than the other.  But before I influence your decision, I'd love some feedback.