A Golden Opportunity

… to see a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), that is. On the first of my 2 days in Badlands NP in late October, I was afforded the opportunity to see and photograph a Golden Eagle. I’ve seen a couple of goldens before … one in Yellowstone NP and a juvenile just outside Big Bend NP in Texas. But not many come through Missouri, although a report of one migrating through is seen periodically. But the location is usually across the state and the chances of seeing one, after driving for 2-3 hours to get there, is slim to none. So I was very pleased to see this bird sitting on a pinnacle in the Badlands NP. Actually, I saw it earlier in the morning as it soared overhead, but it was quite windy and it was a very quick pass … too quick to identify it, although it certainly resembled a golden eagle. Here are a couple of images I captured:

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle


As usual, it turned out that the butt shots were the only “decent” shots I would get … shooting from the front of the bird was shooting directly into the sun and the images were not very good. Besides, shooting from the posterior position showed the tell-tale sign of the golden eagle … the golden coloration on the nape of the neck/head.

Photo Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon 100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 500 (I used this high ISO so that my shutter speed would be very quick … the wind was making it difficult to hold the camera/lens still)
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed 1/6400 sec.



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Posted in 2013, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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