Fight Club--Two Eagles and a Halibut

Bristolero

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I was watching out my window this rainy morning and spotted a bald eagle swoop down and dive into the ocean. Imagine our surprise when after a very arduous swim to shore, he pulled out a halibut!
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It was a ways off, really too far for any kind of good shot, but sometimes that's all you get.

Unless stuff has really big teeth, closer is always better and I knew the situation wouldn't stay static for long. I quickly slid into my Kokatat drysuit, grabbed my camera, and trotted down to our dock. I launched the quickest transport, my Thurso paddleboard and stroked off towards the eagle.

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In the meantime another eagle plummeted down and knocked the feeder--and the halibut--off the rock, and all three cartwheeled through the air and back into the ocean. I missed what would have been a really exciting tumbling series and didn't even see the cartwheel (my wife told me about it when I returned).
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What I did capture was a whole lotta' splashing as the eagles battled it out for the halibut, and for some above-the-surface oxygen.
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I'll tell you, it was quite a show from the paddleboard, and I kept clicking, believe me!
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As the eagles dragged their waterlogged selves back towards firm ground, you can see the gillplate of the unfortunate halibut hanging out of the birds beak.
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Neither fowl looked very happy.
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Reaching for land. A heavy crop, but shows the struggle, I think.
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Once back on land, the victor still had to defend it's meal. It eventually triumphed and the remaining birds flew off through the rain.
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Sometimes getting a series like this is mostly just about being there and taking whatever opportunity happens. I tend to be pretty "movey" when I see something that I think might transpire. Lots of times, and today was one of them, I have no idea what I've captured until after the action quits.
 

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Jock Elliott

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Epic series . . . just epic. I would be really well pleased to have taken even one of these shots, let alone a whole series.

You really ought to reach out to a nature or bird magazine to see if they have any interest in publishing this series. IMHO, this is the kind of stuff for which photogs sit in a blind for a year and hope something good happens. Nothing like having a camera handy, your eyes open, observe what's happening, and seize the moment. Well done.

I have, however, a goofy question: were you sitting or standing on the paddleboard when you triggered those shots?

Cheers, Jock
 
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Inspirational series Eric! I especially am impressed by the wherewithal to get the TC out of the equation, freeze the in-flight action with 1/600, drop it down to 1/250 for the water battle and then boost it back to 1/600 while the bird flies away. Outstanding! Thanks!
 
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Bristolero

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Epic series . . . just epic. I would be really well pleased to have taken even one of these shots, let alone a whole series.

You really ought to reach out to a nature or bird magazine to see if they have any interest in publishing this series. IMHO, this is the kind of stuff for which photogs sit in a blind for a year and hope something good happens. Nothing like having a camera handy, your eyes open, observe what's happening, and seize the moment. Well done.

I have, however, a goofy question: were you sitting or standing on the paddleboard when you triggered those shots?

Cheers, Jock
Jock, my butt was firmly planted!
 

Bristolero

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Inspirational series Eric! I especially am impressed by the wherewithal to get the TC out of the equation, freeze the in-flight action with 1/600, drop it down to 1/250 for the water battle and then boost it back to 1/600 while the bird flies away. Outstanding! Thanks!
And not fall off the paddleboard!
Good to hear from you Jonny
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
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What a breathtaking series! I couldn’t imagine what it was like to witness something like that - but to get a series of photographs? Just outstanding - a once in a lifetime event!
 

mfturner

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Aug 6, 2019
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150
I saw a trio of juvenile eagles fight over a rabbit once, but had nothing like this to show for it. Fantastic.
 
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