Photographing Bald Eagles: The Catch

the catchwordsOver the last several weeks I have been taking short trips to Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri to try to photograph bald eagles that are migrating south following the other bird migrations.  It reminds me of my first experience trying to photograph the birds in the wild.  I have spent many long hours in the field trying to photograph different species of animals, but I must say that photographing bald eagles has taught me more about patience than any other animal I have photographed.

During the school year I spend most of my time in western Tennessee.  Often on weekends I will drive down to Shiloh National Military Park to walk the battlefield and photograph.  Last spring I learned about a nesting pair of eagles that call the park home during the spring.  My first day to make my attempt I arrived at the park just as the sun was beginning to rise.  I drove the park and then found the nest where I made myself comfortable for the next 8 hours or so.  After spending the day attempting to capture the birds I did not come home with anything that I felt was worthwhile.

The following week I headed back out to make another attempt.  It was my last weekend in Tennessee before I had to head back to Kansas for the summer.  I arrived early in the morning and prepared myself for a long day in the field.  I photographed as the birds came back and forth from the nest feeding the eaglet.  After spending the day in the field I decided to pack up in the late afternoon.  I was unsure if I had anything worthwhile, but I knew there was a god chance I had something.  When I got home I discovered this photograph of the female coming into the nest with a trout from the Tennessee River.

I must admit that there is something that comes over you when you are close to these majestic birds.  I have been extremely lucky to photograph some pretty amazing wildlife, but bald eagles are special.  There is something about the thrill that comes over me when I am close to these birds.  Shots like this make the long hours in the field worth every minute.  These experiences also are what make me go back for more.  The main lesson I learn from these birds is to be patient and tenacious.    Keep shooting and keep exploring!

Changing of the Weather: Warming by the Geyser

Warming by the Geyser

As the weather starts to change and winter starts to make an appearance I am reminded of a special moment I experienced at Yellowstone National Park.  I was checking out the thermal features in Black Sand Basin between periods of snow.  I was struggling to capture the color of the thermal pools because of the steam rising up from them as the heat mixed with the cold.  I had decided to put my camera down in order to just enjoy some of the special places nature has to offer.

I was just beginning to get really serious about wildlife photography and really learning my craft, not to say that I am still not learning my craft.  As a broadcaster I look at the world as though I am looking through a camera lens and I was learning to adjust from moving pictures to stills.  I was trying to figure out how I could capture the beauty of the fog on a gray day, then a small bluebird flew in adding a bit of color to the scene.

I watched as the bird landed on a dead tree stump that was sitting above a small geyser.  The bird seemed to be trying to warm itself as the snow started to fall again.  It sat on the stump just behind the mist created by the mixing of the cold and warm air.  The bird sat there for several minutes as I took several shot hoping the fog would clear enough to see the bird.  At some point the mist cleared in front of the bird framing it perfectly revealing a bright blue figure in the midst of all the gray.  It serves as a reminder that beauty can be anywhere, so as a photographer I always have to be prepared.

Mysterious Wonder

Mysterious Wonderword

Over spring break in March of 2013 I was fortunate to spend a couple of days at the Grand Canyon.  It was a thrill to experience the fantastic sunrises and sunsets the landscape offers.  This photograph was taken on my first evening in the Grand Canyon.  I was traveling with some of my family and we arrived about an hour or so before sunset.  I was hoping to scout out a good place to photograph the sunrise the next morning while I took some shots.

We made our way along a paved pathway and past the visitors center on the on the south rim of the canyon.  I would stop occasionally when I found a potential shot.  As the fog started to fall over the canyon and the sun began to set shadows bounced around all over the canyon.  Even though it was not the height of the season there were still several people there.  I knew I was not going to really find an empty or unexplored spot, but there are always possibilities if you look and work at it.

The snow in the late winter added a new dimension to the canyon that many people are not familiar with.  I found this spot as I was moving around.  I liked how the trees could frame the canyon and add a sense of depth and size to the place.  I took several shots from different angles.  Finally, I knelt down in the snow and took some shots from almost ground level.  Luckily for me in this shot the light hit the canyon perfectly reflecting off of the canyon walls and the clouds.  For the first night this was a wonderful experience and a perfect example of trying different angles and getting new perspectives.

Enjoy and Thank you,

Pamela Peters

Poised

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One of my favorite places to photograph is Pinson Mounds Archeological State Park near Jackson, Tennessee. The park offers many miles of biking and hiking trails. There are also several varieties of wildlife. The most common animal I come across are whitetail deer. Often I am unable to get very close to the deer, especially in the fall during hunting season. However, sometimes I get lucky. Persistence and luck are often the biggest assets to being a photographer.

I came across this young whitetail deer buck one morning as I was heading out for a short hike before class. I never made it to the trail, but I was lucky to get to spend some intimate time with this deer. He was standing in one of the meadows and was not bothered by my presence when I came up. He spent about an hour grazing as I sat on the ground snapping pictures a few yards away. This is what makes wildlife photography so special to me.