Robert OToole Photography

Dec15

This is my sixth continuous year leading bald eagle tours in Alaska and after all these years and all those gigabytes of memory used up I still find the experience so amazing I cant wait to go back. I just finished up two instructional photo tours last month and results were really spectacular. This was my first time there in autumn and we were so lucky to have all different types of weather and conditions to work with. Some of the situations were so unbelievably good it really was a memorable time up there. Here are some of my favorite image from the trip.

Next year I am looking forward to leading another group of photographers there during the very best dates in autumn.  If you have thought about  photographing eagles in a natural environment with professional guidance don’t hesitate to join me, you wont be disappointed. If you cannot make my autumn series next year I am also leading two winter tours in March 2012. To find out more about my 2012 eagle workshops email me or see: http://www.robertotoole.com/workshop/bald-eagles/

Example

Eagle speed blur, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
NIKON D300s and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 170mm, 1/20th sec at f11, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 200. Subject distance: 34 feet (10.6 m) Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography.
For eagle photography I will take cloudy weather over full sun any day but when the light level is too low for reasonable shutter speeds I turn to creating speed blurs.
ExampleSpeed bank against storm clouds, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
NIKON D300s and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 290mm, 1/1250th sec at f8, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 640. Subject distance: 88 feet (27 m). Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography
This afternoon we had dark gray skies to the west with just enough soft sun to light the eagles. Thankfully The light levels were high enough for decent ISO levels.

Example

Speed blur down stroke, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
NIKON D300s and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 240mm, 1/20th sec at f9, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 240. Subject distance: 45 feet (14 m). Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography
Sometimes I get lucky after hundreds of tries, here the wing patterns and head detail really standout sharply against the paint brush like blur.
Example

Full bank against the storm, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.

NIKON D300s and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 290mm, 1/1250th sec at f8, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 640. Subject distance: 88 feet (27 m) Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography.
This individual bird deserves an award for cleanest freshest feathers in Alaska.

Example

Eagle hitting prey speed blur, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
NIKON D300s and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 170mm, 1/120th sec at f16, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 640. Subject distance: 59 feet (18 m). Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography.
When working with blurs I use 1/50th down to 1 sec but 1/15th – 1/20th seems to work well with eagles. This image of the moment of impact was made at 1/20th.
Example

Eagle threat display, Kachemak Bay, Alaska.
NIKON D700 and 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM @ 290mm, 1/1250th sec at f6.3, manual mode, metering on zero, ISO 2500. Subject distance: 88 feet (27 m). Image Copyright 2011 Robert OToole Photography.
This eagle was really aggressive warning all to stay away although the  raven doesn’t seem too particularly intimidated.

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5 Comments

  • Comment by Vicki — December 16, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    Fantastic!!

  • Comment by Jean O'Toole — December 16, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    These pictures are absolutely outstanding.

  • Comment by admin — December 17, 2011 @ 1:05 am

    Thank you. Robert

  • Comment by admin — December 17, 2011 @ 1:05 am

    Thanks. Robert

  • Comment by Robert Dutton — January 10, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    Hi Robert,
    Very informative article and…great example professional shots of course. Great to see variation with static shots and, in a way, prefer the moving arist shots as, after all its a creature which moves! All good.

    I never even considered the auto ISO setting. My new D7000 has the feature but I have always left it off as been told time and time again that never shoot any wildlife or landscape above 200 as it will lack definition. Not here I see. Great! It could possibly mean that slower lenses can now be considered to give you creative flexibility still as new breed of camera bodies with noise reduction built in really will work hand in hand with ‘affordable’ telephotos. I’m thinking ‘bigma’50-500 or sigma 150-500 in combo with Nikon D7000. YOUR ONE ARTICLE COULD SAVE ME AND OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS TOO, A MINI FORTUNE!

    More cash left over to buy your books then!

    Thanks again,
    Robert

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