Our bird-watching column writer, Thelma Dalmas, survived a house fire in March and recently wrote a column about the experience. Although she is temporarily living elsewhere, she regularly returns to her house as it is being gutted and repaired to keep her bird feeders full. I met up with her for this portrait to accompany that column.
UPDATE: I shot this image two weeks later, but I think it should be up top.
I spent a lot of time alone this week. Standing between a couple rusting Chevys in waist-high, thorny plants, I waited many, many hours to make a few decent frames. Yesterday, after six hours at the nest site, Kim and I looked over my take and agreed that the light just wasn’t working. The mother (father?) brought back a rabbit to eat around noon which provided some interesting moments but the sun was too harsh. I decided to try again.
Today was my fourth visit and I went out at dawn to see what a bald eagle’s morning routine is like. For the first hour, it was too foggy to see anything at all. I tried to count all the gutted cars that were in the field around me. I got to 36 with my limited visibility. Around 8:40 the fog finally lifted and I took a couple test frames and manually fine-tuned my focus. One of the two teleconverters I was using looked like it was from the 80’s, so it couldn’t communicate with the auto-focus motor on the slightly less antique 500mm lens I had. When I could make out the eagle’s pupil, I decided the focus wasn’t going to get any better than that so I left it.
By 10 the sun was already getting to be too harsh again so I packed up. I might try another morning next week to see if the babies are fledging yet but I think the nest will be obscured by leaves.
As boring as it may sound (and as boring as it may have been) this was an amazing shoot that produced, I think, some beautiful images.
For fun, and because I was getting restless, I hung my G10 on a tree nearby.