First day of the year and, at least for me, also the first day of the season shooting Bald Eagles at the Mississippi River. Unfortunately Joani had to work today and couldn't join me (I will never understand why some corporates do not respect holidays for the sake of their employees...greedy sons of a bitch!!!) She would have loved to see the eagles catching fish in the river. I went down to dam #14 at LeClaire, Iowa, the famous spot for Bald Eagle presence during the winter. To my surprise the river wasn't frozen over, not even above the dam, despite the fact we had temperatures way below freezing during the last few days. Here in Dubuque ice covered the Mississippi, already two days ago.
It was nice to see some photography friends again I stayed in touch with during the last year, like Burt and Dawei. Other faces I saw today at lock and dam #14 look familiar and I know they have been there last winter too. I enjoy the company of other photographers that share their knowledge about our favorite photography subjects and about locations where to shoot. There is quite often a nice conversation going on between the guys while waiting for the eagles to perform.
Today the light was really good in the afternoon . It seems it is still not cold enough because the eagles didn't seem really hungry and didn't hunt for fish all the time (for my German friends: it was only -12ºC... ;-) ) . Just sittin' in the trees... . If it gets colder (and it can be much colder here in Eastern Iowa) their metabolism enforces them to eat more, which is good for the waiting photographers. Since there was no floating bait fish in the water I made every picture handhold. I could tell, I'm a little rusty. Panning with the lens needs a lot of practice and I didn't have much recently. Well, how did I open my post? First day of the season... I hope there is plenty of time to adjust!
Let's talk about the image. My best action shot today. Eagle 1, lets call him Harry, has the the fish in it's talons while eagle 2, let's call him Mitch, tries to take it away... (or maybe vice versa... :-) ) Sounds like real life? You bet!