Plus or minus?

Bald Eagle in flight
Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM

With the relatively warm temperatures chances are dwindling that we will see a lot of action by the Bald Eagles at the dams along the Mississippi River. Most of them migrate north as soon the ice disappears. I can tell you, there is no ice on the big river at the moment anywhere near here. But who knows, winter can still strike back with mighty cold weather…

Bald Eagles are a great subject to learn and experiment about exposure settings. In any case, you don't really want to blow out the white parts of its head. It is also nice to have some detail in the dark feathers. Obtaining a good balance is not always easy but you have to make your choices about what works best for your style of photography. I like to expose for the highlights and usually dial in exposure compensation between -0.5EV and -1.5EV. I know photographers who dial in positive exposure compensation and there is nothing wrong with that. I just prefer the darker, richer colors and in most situations I can live with the fact that the shadows may not have as much detail as desirable. I just don't like overexposed backgrounds.