Bald Eagles – A Student’s Perspective

In January, when I traveled to eastern Iowa to photograph wintering Bald Eagles on the Mississippi River, I decided to open this trip up to a small group of photographers as a mini-photo workshop. One of my regular photography students, Pat G., made the trip and worked beside me for 4 days. I have been with Pat for some other, in-the-field day workshops, photographing wildflowers. But Pat was wanting to learn how to capture in-flight birds and she has a strong interest in bald eagles. We worked on several important aspects of bald eagle photography, including proper ISO settings (especially for capturing in-flight eagles in low light situations), panning with the flying eagles, and maintaining a high shutter speed to freeze the action of the birds as they flew by and fished the river.

I asked Pat to send me a few of her favorite images from that workshop, and here are a few of her favorites that she sent me:

Adult Bald Eagle with fish

Adult Bald Eagle fishing the Mississippi River

And one of the many interactions where one eagle was trying to steal a fish from another eagle:

Adult Bald Eagles

And a nice sequence of a Bald Eagle catching a fish out in front of us:

Adult Bald Eagle catching fish

Adult Bald Eagle catching fish

Adult Bald EAgle catching a fish

I think you will agree that Pat did a wonderful job capturing a pretty difficult situation … in-flight and active birds in low light … especially for someone who had not shot active bald eagles before! What do you think?

This workshop ran so well that I am planning on doing another one next January. If you have an interest in possibly attending, please forward your e-mail to me (via , and I will put you on the “immediate notify list” for early notification as soon as I have some dates set, later this fall).

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 60D
  • Canon 100mm-300mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6
  • Manfrotto tripod, with Bogen ballhead
  • ISO 320 to 640
  • Aperture f/5.6 to f/7.1
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. (all images)



Posted in Bird Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Travel Photography
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