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Reminiscence (A personal look back on a few of my most important photographs) (22)

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posted by DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES (Getty Images) alias DESPITE STRAIGHT LINES on Saturday 21st of August 2021 11:17:19 AM

'' When a storm approaches, all other birds seek shelter. The Eagle alone, avoids the storm by soaring above it. Don't be afraid of being outnumbered. Eagles fly alone, pigeons flock together '' It's ten years since I first joined Flickr and from my enjoyable time on here I wanted to take a short trip down memory lane and revisited a few of the photographs that have been of great importance to me during that time. Some might be due to commercial success, others personal favourites or moments that marked a change of direction or turning point, or just representative of a wonderful memory and experience. With each I wanted to add a little background information on how and why the frame was taken. (22) Female Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Anyone who knows me knows that my favourite bird on the planet is a very special one indeed. The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a raptor, a bird of prey found across North America, a sea eagle and a paired species with the White tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). It can be found across most of the United States of America where it is a national symbol as well as most of Canada and Alaska and parts of Northern Mexico, wherever there are large bodies of open water and trees for nesting . It builds the largest tree nests of any recorded animal species, up to thirteen feet deep and over eight feet wide and weighing one metric ton in weight! Bald in English comes from an older usage meaning 'white', and Haliaeetus the genus name is derived from New Latin and hails from the Ancient Greek: ἁλιάετος, romanized: haliaetos, the specific name leucocephalus comes from ancient Greek λευκός, leukos or 'white') and (κεφαλή, kephalḗ, 'head'). Always of fascination to me is the high reverence towards the eagle placed on it by First Nations people of North America to whom the eagle is a strong and positive symbol in so many ways. An Eagle totem guides and protects and is a symbol of raw power and the connection of humanity to the divine. It can also represent new beginnings, resilience and perseverence. First noted in 1766 by Carl Linnaeus the Bald eagle has on occasions been considered the largest true raptor in North America, generally beaten in size and but not weight by the Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis). The Bald eagles has a length of 70-102cm and a typical wingspan up to 2.3 metres or seven feet and seven inches, and can weigh up to 6.3kg. Females are twenty five per cent larger than the males. In Alaska, females can reach 7kg and span 8 feet from wingtips, the largest recoded Alaskan female weighing 7.4kg. The largest bald eagle recorded was in 1876 in Wyoming County, New York with the bird weighing 8.2kg. These huge, utterly magnificent birds are carnivores, feeding mostly on fish and posess a sense of hearing equal to that of humans with distance vision four times better than us. They cannot smell, but have a perfect sense of taste and if food is off or spoiled, they will not eat it. Believed to have evolved from an ancient bird called a 'Kite' which was in existence around thirty six million years ago, the Bald eagle has a grip strength with it's massive claws that is ten times that of a human. They can reach speeds of up to 43mph in flight and 100mph when diving. They can live for thirty years. My first encounters with the Bald Eagle came in 1997 in British Columbia, Canada seeing a huge number of them in trees around the coastline as I made the BC Ferry journey across from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. During my month long stay I came into contact them in several locations and my love for these amazing birds grew even more. Whilst not commonplace to see them every day, they will suddenly just come to rest somewhere in eyesight, or appear in forests and tree tops and every sighting is a huge thrill, even for local inhabitants. I've been really fortunate to capture photographs of wild Bald Eagles over the years with fourteen one month long trips to Canada and road trips across British Columbia and into Alaska, the opportunities are always there to witness and capture these majestic, powerful birds. My most successful images however, featured the bird in this photograph. Herra is a large adult female Bald Eagle, and resident at the amazing Pacific Northwest Raptors located at 1877 Herd Road, Duncan on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Founded by Gillian Radcliffe in 2002, The Raptors team is comprised of a small group of caring, knowledgeable biologists and raptor enthusiasts dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, and the birds themselves with the primary goal in opening to help change the way we think about the delicate balance between man and wildlife within the ecosystem and the essential role raptors play in our natural habitats. Many of the birds are injured and cared for, many are used in flight demonstration and all are free to fly off at any point should they wish to. That element of freedom is key, as the birds often decide to disappear out of sight for little excursions, coming back when hungry and always in their own time. They also stay in areas that are open on various sides and are only tethered prior to flight exhibitions where you can experience the wind rush of raptors as they swoop and glide right by you. Some injured birds can no longer fly, and are given medical care, privacy and seclusion away from public eyes, and a place to live out their lives without danger of falling victim to predation. Education is vital and the centre runs school classes and presentations, owl evenings and children's summer camps, as well as falconry courses and flight exhibitions. I love Herra, and the photographs that I took of her and a magnificent Golden Eagles, have become my most successful on Flickr, all published by Getty Images as well as in calendars, books, magazines and online articles as well as Herra being published in the Shutterstock commercial collection and several times in some of my published books. I even have two metal backed photographs of Herra on my wall. For this and several other shots of her, I decided to isolate her from the dour background and bring out the beauty of her feathers and beak by hand darkening the entire rest of each frame. This took a lot of time and effort but produced results that I liked. The day that I shot the photographs it was really overcast, following a beautiful afternoon when we rolled up late in the afternoon and the lovely team of botanists and workers there suggested we not waste a full entrance fee on a limited time, but come back the next day. Mother Nature conspired against us, and so the light was not so great. Using the wonderful Nikon D800 and the Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6G ED VR that I had bought specially for this trip, I managed to capture some frames of Herra and also in flight and resting high up in the tree tops. I have always liked the shots I got that day and they represent a magical close up experience and memories with the bird I most love in the world. This image was published by my agents Getty images in the GETTY IMAGES COLLECTION on June 14th 2016 and became my 1,976th frame to be published. . . This photograph of a female Southern Bald Eagle was taken at 13:11pm on Tuesday 24th May 2016 near Duncan in British Columbia, Canada. Nikon D800 Focal length: 500mm Shutter speed: 1/640s Aperture: f/5.6 iso500 RAW (14Bit) Uncompressed file size L Hand held with Nikkor VR Vibration reduction enabled Nikon back focus button enabled Focus mode: AF-C Continuous point focus AF-Area mode: 3-D tracking Exposure mode: Manual exposure Metering mode: Matrix metering White balance: Auto white balance Colour space: Adobe RGB Nikkor AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6G ED VR. Jessops 95mm UV filter. Nikon MB-D12 battery grip. Two Nikon EN-EL15 batteries. Nikon DK-17M 1.2x Magnifying Eyepiece. Nikon DK-19 soft rubber eyecup. Digi-Chip 64GB Class 10 UHS-1 SDXC card. Lowepro Transporter camera strap. Lowepro Vertex 200 AW Photo/ 15.4" Notebook Backpack camera bag. . . RAW (TIFF) FILE SIZE: 103.00MB PROCESSED (JPeg) SIZE: 15.32MB . . PROCESSING POWER: Nikon D800 Firmware versions A 1.10 B 1.10 L 2.009 (Lens distortion control version 2) HP 110-352na Desktop PC with AMD Quad-Core A6-5200 APU processor. AMD Radeon HD8400 graphics. 8 GB DDR3 Memory with 1TB SATA storage. 64-bit Windows 10. Verbatim USB 2.0 1TB desktop hard drive. WD My Passport Ultra 1tb USB3 Portable hard drive. Nikon ViewNX2 Version 2.10.3 64bit. Adobe photoshop Elements 8 Version 8.0 64bit.



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  • Published 10.28.21
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