Duel in the Snow--three seconds of EIF

Bristolero

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 15, 2017
Messages
773
Location
Alaska/New Zealand
Last Wednesday I skiffed over to a nearby beach with my wife and our only neighbor couple for a chance at some eagle shots. It's been a long winter holed up in Peterson Bay and any plan to get out in the early spring sunshine was welcome. Fortunately the eagles felt the same. March, April, and May are my favorite times to photograph these raptors, with plenty of territorial action and if I'm lucky, plenty of sunshine. Like us, the birds were taking full advantage of the day, and soon the SD card was filling up.

20210317-IJM15714_DxO.jpg
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Over the last few years I've shot a picture or two of stationary eagles. Lately, I have been as concerned with capturing a scenic background (thanks Mr. Bambousek) as with getting the perfect pose. When you can combine the two, then you have got yourself a shot to be proud of. That said, I'm really an action shooter and today did not disappoint.

20210317-IJM15717_DxO.jpg
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I noticed these two balling it up and wasted no time focussing in on the action.

20210317-IJM15719_DxO-2.jpg
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This time of year eagles get pretty territorial. Our area is home to many pairs and in the springtime months you can see some exciting chases and a few knock-down-drag-outs.

20210317-IJM15721.jpg
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I'm shooting an EM1ii and a Oly 300 pro, a pretty good combo for this stuff. Interestingly, on the beach we met Mustafa, who had flown 15 hours from Turkey and who had been dropped off by water taxi for a chance to take some avian images back to Asia Minor. I should mention that for the entire winter, we have seen hardly anyone, so meeting Mustafa was a treat. An experienced photographer, he as equipped with a Nikon D4, Nikon D500 and a couple juicy lenses. Surprisingly, also in his bag was an EM1i and the 300 pro. Go figure!

20210317-IJM15723_DxO.jpg
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Mustafa loved the Oly for stills and didn't think much of it for action shots, so he spent his time with the two DSLRs when shooting at flying birds. I, on the other hand, soldiered on with the Mk ii with what I must say seemed like pretty good results. I will say that practice helps! Mustafa and I traded emails and I'm eager to see how his FF shots compare. As an aside, the only DSLR I have ever shot was his, for about 5 minutes, so I'm not at all experienced in that world.

20210317-IJM15724_DxO.jpg
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Dave, my neighbor who had joined us, was shooting another Mk ii, his with a Panny 100-400. I haven't yet seen Dave's pics, but I bet they're pretty good. On a previous day I borrowed his lens, and I was impressed with the shots I got. Not surprisingly, a zoom makes framing flying fowl easier (duh!), except Mr. Fixed Lens often forgot to zoom in, leaving me with a bunch of 100mm photos. No cure for stupid, I guess...

20210317-IJM15728_DxO.jpg
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This is about the bottom for the lower eagle. He/she does not want to stay down and you can see the results in the following frames.

20210317-IJM15732_DxO.jpg
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Rising...

20210317-IJM15733_DxO.jpg
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Serious about rising!

20210317-IJM15735_DxO.jpg
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The eagle is risen!

20210317-IJM15742_DxO.jpg
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Off and away.

When viewing my files that evening, I was shocked to see this entire sequence lasted only three seconds! Nice to have a camera that clicks over speedily.
You'd figure with those Freddy Kruger fingernails that these birds would often damage eachother, but it seems rare as far as I can see. I've seen a few crazy fights, and both gladiators winged off at the end. At least one of our locals has only one eye so stuff does happen. Rarely we will see only one of a former couple, usually in the late winter, but it seems they find a new partner fairly soon. I did walk over and have a peek in the snow, but saw no evidence of blood, and the only sign of the scuffle were the imprints in the snow and a few settling feathers.
 
Last edited:

Phocal

Mu-43 Legend
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
6,027
Location
Mars
Ronnie,
Spring is not over yet! We just got our last vac shots. Perhaps a get-together in late April/early May would be fun. I'll look through my files and find when the puffins usually arrive.

Sounds like a great idea, let me know when you find out. I get 2nd shot on the 6th, so will be good to go mid April.

Edit - I promise to let you use the X so you will not be tempted :biggrin:
 

Will Focus

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 28, 2017
Messages
2,687
Location
Traverse City, Michigan USA
Last Wednesday I skiffed over to a nearby beach with my wife and our only neighbor couple for a chance at some eagle shots. It's been a long winter holed up in Peterson Bay and any plan to get out in the early spring sunshine was welcome. Fortunately the eagles felt the same. March, April, and May are my favorite times to photograph these raptors, with plenty of territorial action and if I'm lucky, plenty of sunshine. Like us, the birds were taking full advantage of the day, and soon the SD card was filling up.

View attachment 879063
Over the last few years I've shot a picture or two of stationary eagles. Lately, I have been as concerned with capturing a scenic background (thanks Mr. Bambousek) as with getting the perfect pose. When you can combine the two, then you have got yourself a shot to be proud of. That said, I'm really an action shooter and today did not disappoint.

View attachment 879064
I noticed these two balling it up and wasted no time focussing in on the action.

View attachment 879065
This time of year eagles get pretty territorial. Our area is home to many pairs and in the springtime months you can see some exciting chases and a few knock-down-drag-outs.

View attachment 879066
I'm shooting an EM1ii and a Oly 300 pro, a pretty good combo for this stuff. Interestingly, on the beach we met Mustafa, who had flown 15 hours from Turkey and who had been dropped off by water taxi for a chance to take some avian images back to Asia Minor. I should mention that for the entire winter, we have seen hardly anyone, so meeting Mustafa was a treat. An experienced photographer, he as equipped with a Nikon D4, Nikon D500 and a couple juicy lenses. Surprisingly, also in his bag was an EM1i and the 300 pro. Go figure!

View attachment 879067
Mustafa loved the Oly for stills and didn't think much of it for action shots, so he spent his time with the two DSLRs when shooting at flying birds. I, on the other hand, soldiered on with the Mk ii with what I must say seemed like pretty good results. I will say that practice helps! Mustafa and I traded emails and I'm eager to see how his FF shots compare. As an aside, the only DSLR I have ever shot was his, for about 5 minutes, so I'm not at all experienced in that world.

View attachment 879068
Dave, my neighbor who had joined us, was shooting another Mk ii, his with a Panny 100-400. I haven't yet seen Dave's pics, but I bet they're pretty good. On a previous day I borrowed his lens, and I was impressed with the shots I got. Not surprisingly, a zoom makes framing flying fowl easier (duh!), except Mr. Fixed Lens often forgot to zoom in, leaving me with a bunch of 100mm photos. No cure for stupid, I guess...

View attachment 879069
This is about the bottom for the lower eagle. He/she does not want to stay down and you can see the results in the following frames.

View attachment 879070
Rising...

View attachment 879071
Serious about rising!

View attachment 879073
The eagle is risen!

View attachment 879072
Off and away.

When viewing my files that evening, I was shocked to see this entire sequence lasted only three seconds! Nice to have a camera that clicks over speedily.
You'd figure with those Freddy Kruger fingernails that these birds would often damage eachother, but it seems rare as far as I can see. I've seen a few crazy fights, and both gladiators winged off at the end. At least one of our locals has only one eye so stuff does happen. Rarely we will see only one of a former couple, usually in the late winter, but it seems they find a new partner fairly soon. I did walk over and have a peek in the snow, but saw no evidence of blood, and the only sign of the scuffle were the imprints in the snow and a few settling feathers.
Perhaps they are professional stunt eagles trained in farcial arts.
 

demiro

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 7, 2010
Messages
3,238
Location
northeast US
Wow. Wow. Wow. The background eagle is just too good.

Does anyone know if these are males fighting for the right to mate, or is this foreplay? They look to be same size, so I'm guessing males.
 
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