A Bald Eagle in an Aquarium? May 21 2008, 0 Comments

The Charleston, SC Aquarium has opened a new exhibit with, of all creatures, a Bald Eagle! I was recently on hand to photograph this amazing creature for “Where” magazine. Having never been up close to any kind of bird except, Lipton, my friend’s yellow canary, I was excited at the prospect of being able to go into the eagle’s habitat for a close encounter with this magnificent animal.

Photographing animals, wild or domestic, is, in some ways, like photographing children, in that, they call the shots. I must work with their willingness to cooperate. That may mean I have 10 minutes to get the shot I need or I may have 30 minutes. Preparation in these circumstances is key!

I prepared my equipment in advance, as usual, but I also went to the aquarium a head of time to look at the habitat where I would be shooting. I metered the light so that I knew what settings to use on my camera. I did not want to waste a single moment of my shooting time to adjust my camera settings! It was important that I not use any kind of flash. I did not want to startle the bird, and, happily, there was enough available light so that a tripod was not necessary.

The eagle was like a smiling child on a good day! I took some amazing images, and, because I did not use a flash, several of the images look like they are oil paintings. The eagle’s feathers look silky and full of texture. She seemed to know that she was the main attraction. and. with the exception of a few moments were she wanted to be sure that I knew she was in charge (eagles have an intimidating wing span which she shared with me with some vigor), I was able to work for about 20 minutes before I could see that we were done.

The opportunity to photograph this proud, majestic bird was humbling. I was thrilled to be three feet from her beautiful face. I know that the key is always the preparation prior to the shoot. With so many situations, you may have but seconds, in this case, minutes. to get the shot.

Coming in June, the Bald Eagle images.