While we were enjoying two weeks of sunny skies and bitter cold temps, poor weather was being pushed south into the pacific northwest and California. The clear skies brought the temps down to the single digits which made for excellent eagle photography but the cold did cause problems with sea ice. On the first few days the ice almost shut down the harbor which would have made reaching our photo locations impossible but the frigid temps did supercharge the eagles drive to feed. It was amazing to see a couple of dozen eagles flying right at us all at once, almost in formation like a squadron, as soon as we pulled up to a spot like a beach or a bay.
The photo opportunities were awesome thanks to the cold and the clear weather and the conditions made for some memorable moments like an eagle trying to land in our boat, more than once, on different days! My co-leader Scott had had his beanie pulled off by an overly friendly eagle on the beach one morning!
The cold weather also made outerwear choices really important if you wanted to keep shooting. I have lots of info to share on how to keep shooting safely on days like these so I plan on posting lots of information on the cold weather equipment that worked on this tour in a few days.
The combination of cold and clear skies and persistent NE wind over the two weeks created perfect photo opportunities if you were in the right place at the right time. The NE wind varied most days from 5 -10, up to 20-30 at the highest with some 40-60 mph gusts one morning that allowed the eagles to put on some amazing flying displays. On the windy days we saw lots of non-stop shooting but the photographers paid for it later with tired arms! Even I felt my left shoulder and arm getting a little tight by Friday after shooting with my 120-300 f/2.8 all week.
This year I felt especially lucky to be able to take photographers to my favorite spots and enjoy all of our experiences shooting together. I have been the only photographer leading eagle tours to our locations continuously, each and every year, since 2005. This year there were 2 or 3 new operators scouting the area for future tours so its only a matter of time before all of the spots are going to be elbow to elbow, Bosque del Apache crane pool style crowds. My advice is to make plans to see the eagles sooner than later, as they are without anyone else around while you still can!
My 2018 tour dates are posted and a couple of spots are already gone so if you are interested in joining us let me know as soon as you can. I am offering a early sign-up discount as motivation. Remember each tour group is strictly limited to 5 photographers to give everyone plenty of space to shoot. This way we don't bring our own crowd everywhere we go like the big groups always do. Join us, you wont regret it for a second.
More info with dates and prices:
Any questions or comments, share them below or send me an email anytime.
Also if you are on FB be sure to friend me to stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/robert.otoole.923
and join my facebook tour group to ask for any advice or help and to stay up to date on latest: https://www.facebook.com/groups/170108613467190/