2015 has the distinction my being my tenth year leading eagle workshops in Alaska. Its a privilege to have such wonderful tour participants that made all the 4 tours a big success, a special thanks to all of this years participants.
The biggest news this March had to be the weather. My first group had unusually low temperatures hitting -5 F all the way down to -15 with lots of wind and only one short period of snow. The next three groups saw much warmer temperatures but no major rain or snow.
The warmer weather we have had over the last couple of years did create one benefit this year. The stress of the warm weather caused a bumper crop of mature spruce cones. They really add a nice touch of color in an otherwise monochromatic spruce background.
The Usual Subjects and Locations
The sheer numbers of eagles at our locations this year was just great, the opportunities have been getting better and better over the last few years. In all four of my groups we had magical shoots that made all the expense, time and effort to get to Alaska worth it.
This year I went with the same lenses as my Japan tour, with Sigma 120-300 f/2.8, Sigma 150-600 sports, and a Sigma 24-105 all in my new F-stop backpack system. For bodies I brought a Nikon D810 and D4s for backup. My old faithful 120-300 f2/8 sigma lens was my favorite lens again this year. This lens has to be just about the perfect lens for eagle photography.
The D810 AF system worked very well, maybe even better than my D800E. The ability to go into CX mode with 6 fps and a 1.2X crop and DX mode with 7 fps and 1.5X crop on the D810 was useful when the D4s was not around. The D4s was my choice for low light and when I expected some heavy flight action.
This year with the addition of my new Bama boot socks my arctic sport Muck boots kept me warm and toasty even on the coldest mornings. Why didn’t I know about these before?
The higher than normal temps over the last couple of years has a huge influence on the eagles behavior. This can make action at certain spots inconsistent and at others better than ever. Some of the areas that are normally very productive were unusually quiet this year but since there are so many spots available we worked alternate locations that offered amazing opportunities.
One twentieth speed blur. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/4000s, f/13, 270mm, ISO 100, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.
Eagle posing next to cone topped bonsai like spruce. Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 Sports lens and Nikon D810, 1/500s, f/4, 300mm, ISO 500, EV + 1.3, Manual mode, Handheld.
The weather this year was not the best due to the lack of snow and warm temps but each and every group was able to experience amazing dream like eagle shooting sessions that made everyone more than happy so my rating for this year is an A+.
If you would like to join us next year my 2016 dates are available but act quickly so you are not disappointed.
Eagle Photo Tour Series 2016
March 15 – 19th, 2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.
March 22 – 26th, 2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.
March 28th – April 1, 2016, 5 days $3900. Deposit $1950.
Maximum of 5 photographers + Leader Robert OToole and co-leader.
For more tour info follow this link: http://www.robertotoole.com/workshop/bald-eagles/
Any questions or comments? Leave a question below or send me an email.
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