Winter is the time for Bald eagles to begin nesting in central Texas. While eagles are not as numerous in our area as they are in northern or western states, we still have a few. There are are several somewhat dependable spots in the Texas Hill Country west of Austin where pairs can be found nesting in the winter.
One such spot is in an old pecan tree measured at 135 yards from a state highway overlooking the Llano River. Excellent viewing of the eagles doing their thing is possible from this location until mid-February. And with the right equipment, many nice images are to be made of the eagles in flight, returning to the nest with fish and feeding their young.
Both images: Nikon D2Xs, Nikkor 600mm f 4.0 super telephoto, Gitzo Studex tripod and bean bag lens weight. (Nikon 1.5X tele-converter -top image.)
Required equipment for bird photography at this distance includes a very long super telephoto lens in the 500 to 600mm focal length range and a sturdy tripod. Vibrations at this level of magnification can be very detrimental to image quality and should be eliminated as far a possible. Good long lens technique helps as well. Images should be made with mirror lock-up and shutter speeds set to levels that can further minimize vibrations from the camera’s mechanics. An additional aid is the use of a weight bag on the lens to dampen vibrations. And the heaviest tripod practical.
With a lot of patience and perseverance, many good images may be made of the daily activities and behavior of the Bald Eagle, our national symbol.
© Brian Loflin 2011. All rights reserved.