I took yesterday off as a management directed day off for celebrating my 13th anniversary with IBM. It was a cool, yet sunny day with beautiful blue skies. Because the day was so beautiful I thought I would drive around and hit a few spots along the Hudson River before going to my "favorite location".
While out and about, I completely lucked out as I found an adult bald eagle eating a gizzard shad in a tulip tree. I approached very slowly, using a method I've found eagles will sometimes tolerate. Don't look at them and don't do a straight on approach. I zigged and zagged, looking at the ground and pretending not to see the eagle. By the time I got into the position I wanted, I stood very still and quietly, and the eagle did not seem at all alarmed by my presence. I spent the next 15 minutes or so watching the eagle eat the fish right in front of me. (Although, keep in mind I still wasn't all that close as I do use a 100-400mm telephoto lens for photographing wildlife.) The positioning of the sun wasn't the greatest as it was nearly behind the eagle, but luckily I was just barely close enough that it didn't matter too much.
It was an awesome opportunity and one I never thought I would get to experience. I must have taken well over 100 still shots and a few video's. A day later and I'm still completely amazed by such an awesome opportunity. Honestly, it's these spectacular moments that make we want to keep getting out there and being patient for that perfect picture.
If you would like to see a video of the eagle eating the fish, feel free to check it out here: